A well-maintained school provides a safe and attractive learning environment for students. School beautification projects, however, can offer much more than physical improvements to the school buildings and grounds. Through cleaning and painting the outside and inside of the school and by planting new flowers and shrubs, the students can take advantage of educational, personal development and community building opportunities.
The most visible results of school beautification projects are the changes to the physical surroundings. Removing graffiti from walls, picking up litter and garbage and even planting new trees and flowers will help to create a clean and attractive learning environment. Physical changes inside the school could include adapting the classrooms and common areas by painting murals or encouraging the students to decorate the outside of the lockers.
Educational and Academic
Beautification projects provide a unique and relevant teaching opportunity. The educational objectives of such projects could be that children learn about the history of the school and surrounding area, or that they make signs about the plants that they add to the school grounds. They could learn about the biodiversity of the school grounds or the correct way to apply paint for the murals. Tying the beautification project into the school's academic curriculum enhances the children's learning.
There are many opportunities for personal development of the students within these projects. One objective is to have the students play leadership roles and take responsibility in the planning and conduct of the beautification project. Participating in the project can instill a sense of pride and ownership for the school in the students. Working with peers and being involved in group decision-making also provide personal development opportunities.
Any changes to the school, whether to the physical buildings or to the grounds, allow the children to develop a heightened awareness of the environmental issues surrounding the school community. Discussion of how the area came to be this way, whether by neglect, pollution or disrespect for property, will illustrate the effects of people on the environment. Developing solutions to improve the area and to keep it from regressing can create a sense of responsibility in the students and a desire to preserve the changes. Identifying the immediate natural environment and its characteristics as they plant trees, flowers and shrubs will connect the students directly to the earth.
Building community relationships is an important objective, which will last beyond the beautification project. Involve a variety of people in the project, starting with the school community of teachers, students and support staff, and moving outward to parents. Local businesses may donate supplies and local organizations, such as senior homes or the Girl Guides, may offer to help. Developing a community sense of pride and ownership, and contributing to the improvement of the local environment, will establish lasting ties in the community.
- school house image by Tanya McConnell from Fotolia.com