It's charming to go green at Ladera Elementary School, and that's because the teachers and staff have put together a smart group of incentives to encourage students to live greener lives.
As just our first great example, the Southern California school uses small walker-shaped charms to encourage students to take part in Walk to School Wednesdays. The plastic charms have turned out to be a huge hit.
"They try to collect as many charms as possible," said Pam Edmondson, the school's go-green coordinator. "We also hand them out to car-poolers, too, because some people live too far away to walk."
Students are eager to collect their charms as they walk to school on Wednesdays. Kids on Ladera's 50-member Green Team hand out the charms as students stroll onto campus or get out of car pool vehicles. Kids display their charms proudly on necklaces, shoelaces and backpacks.
The charm theme was so popular that students and parents who took part in a school gardening event got cute little pumpkin charms.
The Tree Trophy A Hit With Students
And the motivation doesn't end with charms. Teachers keep track of the number of students who walk or car pool to school on Wednesdays. The class with the highest monthly participation gets to display the highly coveted The Tree trophy in their classroom for an entire month.
The fun perpetual trophy started as a bare brown trunk about 2 feet tall, Edmondson explained.
"Every time a class wins, I add a leaf to the tree with that classroom's name," she said. "We hope to let this tree grow, grow, grow until it's a big green tree with all these leaves. It's created a lot of excitement."
The Green Team Gets Big RespectAnd how about the fact that they've set aside an area called Green Central where Green Team members gather to get their job assignments before heading out to perform green tasks like emptying recycling bins and helping others remember to turn off the lights? Kids slip into their high-profile green vests before setting out to work, and other kids take notice along with the staff.
As Edmondson explains it, "Every day that they work, they put on a green vest so that the staff knows they're working."
And while the green vests boost the profile of the Green Team, they've also boosted the prestige of team members.
"The Green Team is something the kids want to sign up for," Edmondson said. "It's become a cool team to be on. In that aspect, it's been even more successful than we dreamed."
So congrats to everyone at Ladera Elementary in California; there's no doubt that the right incentives are going a long way towards making their school a greener place to learn.
Via: The Go Green Initiative
More on the Go Green Initiative!
Last Week's School of the Week: Westmount Elementary in Alberta, Canada!
The TH Interview: Jill Buck, Founder of the Go Green Initiative