Overview: What does L.E.A.P. aim to achieve?
The world today is not just one marked by improved health care and technological advances, it is also one that is defined by increased environmental concerns and sustainability issues regarding natural resources, pollution, bio-diversity and climate change.
Hence, it is disturbing to note that knowledge of environmental issues tend to be low among students worldwide (Gambo & Switzky, 1996, p. 32; Kuhlemeier et al, 1999, p.7). Locally, although a study reported “high environmental knowledge scores” (Ivy et al, 1998, p.192), this conclusion is not well supported by the main finding that out of the 80 questions asked, 34 questions were correctly answered by at least 70% of the respondents” (Chan, 1998, p.11).
PGPS’s vision is for every student to be a future ready leader. Clearly, for our students to be future-ready leaders who can make the right decisions, they must have a deep understanding of environmental issues. The L.E.A.P. curriculum intends to heighten students’ awareness and knowledge about the environment and develop CCE values through the care and appreciation of nature, and 21st century competencies. At the end of 6 years of L.E.A.P. curriculum in PGPS, we aim to develop our students to become environmentally literate citizens (Roth, 1992).
Through the careful design of meaningful learning experiences that is supported by and aligned with the Science curriculum (Gambro & Switzky, 1999, p.20), students can be better influenced to acquire and develop knowledge, skills, values, 21st century competencies and environmental literacy, and to creatively and innovatively apply them in real life situations.
And through being given a voice in the decision making process, students become real actors and true advocates in the L.E.A.P. programme, going beyond just doing teacher-planned activities to planning student-led environmental programmes within and outside the school.
Curriculum Design: How to bring about deep learning and understanding?
The development of the L.E.A.P. curriculum draws from the Environment and Schools Initiative Project (ENSI), an OECD coordinated international network that has supported educational development, environmental understanding and active approaches to teaching and learning since 1986.
L.E.A.P. aims to involve students across three levels (Posch, P., 1993, p.48):
- The level of personal experience and emotional commitment
- The level of interdisciplinary learning
- The level of socially important actions
The design of the curriculum is guided by these levels of considerations that are intended to embed the learning seamlessly across multiple disciplines and to make learning personally relevant and socially meaningful.
L.E.A.P. Curriculum: School-wide Approach
The L.E.A.P Curriculum adopts a four-pronged approach:
- Awareness for the whole-school
To raise the awareness of various environmental issues
To help students understand the relevance of these issues to them through talks and activities
- Action for each level
To develop the necessary values, attitudes and skill sets through carrying out teacher-led projects and investigations on environment issues
- Advocacy at the upper primary level
To choose environmentally related projects and investigations that interest them
To plan environmentally related projects and investigations based on their area of interest
- Experiences for Environmental Education Leaders and Ambassadors
To provide additional exposure and experiences through hands-on activities and learning journeys to organisations with eco-friendly practices
To take the lead and walk-the-talk in educating peers in eco-friendly practices through conducting of workshops