Earth School keeps kids connected to nature in times of COVID-19

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched Earth School to provide free educational content for students, parents and teachers around the world who are currently at home. The content takes participants on a 30-day adventure through the natural world.

Initiated by UNEP and TED-Ed, the educational arm of TED, Earth School features videos, reading materials and activities in 10 languages to help students between the ages of 5 and 18 to gain an understanding of the environment while considering their role within it. It is the biggest online learning initiative in UNEP’s history and is available for free on TED-Ed’s website, according to a statement.

Earth School spans 30 school days that run between Earth Day and World Environment Day on June 5, which this year will take place under the banner of Time for Nature. Each Adventure has been carefully selected by a panel of expert practitioners and consists of a hands-on experiment and nature discovery.

In addition to TED-Ed’s own content, Earth School will feature videos from notable media organizations including National Geographic, PBS LearningMedia and the BBC with the goal of empowering participating students to be caretakers of our planet, says the statement.

“Billions of children are currently out of school because of COVID-19. But learning cannot stop. COVID-19 has revealed how deeply interconnected all life on this planet is,” said UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Andersen. “I am delighted that UNEP, along with TED-Ed and other collaborators, are launching Earth School. Learning about the natural world will be critical to building a better and sustainable future for all.”

The lessons were curated by a team of environmental education experts. The initiative is in support of SDG 4.7 and the Decade of Delivery and will contribute towards the Global Education Coalition launched by UNESCO last month to convene governments, technology partners and leaders in the education field to keep pupils learning. As part of this coalition, UNEP will be exploring how this content can be adapted and shared with children who aren’t able to access the Internet.

Image credit: Christoph Diewald via Flickr


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