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Strategies for Answering the Question What is Climate Change for Young Children

What is climate change is a question that has been on everyone’s mind at one time or other. This question is not only important for adults but for parents, teachers and even children. It is so vitally important to teach our children, our planet’s future adults, about what is climate change and even what they can do to help protect the planet earth.

Elementary schools across Canada and the USA have implemented programs for children of kindergarten through 5th grade to get a basic understanding of the condition our world is in. They answer basic questions, and use hands on methods to have the children explore and preserve their world.

Basic questions to help tease out the technical terms such as what is global warming (the warming of the earth because of manmade greenhouse gas emissions) and what is climate change (the gradually change in climate and temperature including precipitation over several centuries; generally referring to a broader context than global warming and including natural warming and cooling earth cycles) is explained and explored in an age specific fashion.

Green Teacher Magazine is a magazine with ideas and resources for teachers to education young minds about the ways in which a young person can address the question what is climate change and have some experience in how they can help to improve our planet by going green. Teachers and parents who are interested in downloading a copy of the magazine or wish to subscribe can go to:

There are several Green Teacher books available including a French edition for use in the Canadian province of Quebec. These books can also be found on the green teacher website.

One of the books featured on this website is Teaching Green – The Elementary Years: Hands-on Learning in Grades K-5, Toronto: Green Teacher, 256 pages, 8 1/2 ” x 11″, for Grades K-5, 2005. This book written by Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn is a product of 15 years of interviewing over 60 teachers and accumulating fabulous information on hands on approaches to preparing children for climate change instruction.

When children ask the question what is climate change they do not necessarily want a long drawn out explanation that in the long run means very little to them. Hands on instruction helps them to experience their world and visibly see and act on changes in their own life in order to bring about a personal commitment and understanding that will help them to become environmentally conscious children and future adults of the world.

One of the goals of hands on activities is to increase a young child’s sense of wonderment. By making activities fun and interactive, teachers can introduce and explore environment issues, ecosystems, and “local environmental stewardship programs.” The book gives insight into the ways in which children can connect with nature, connect with other humans, animal species, and planetary systems, and therefore learn to differentiate between fact and misrepresentation in the media.

For more information about this wonderful book, visit:

When you are trying to address the issue about what is climate change in your classroom, or perhaps you are a concerned parent at home, you may find this book or the green teacher website in general very helpful.

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