I'm on vacation right now; our first stop was through Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest. I'll get to bragging about the beer and revelry another time but first, a story. As we were eating breakfast the first morning, I saw a bunch of young children building a garden in the courtyard of our hotel.
My first reaction was "look! A school is helping the community and that's wonderful - think of what they are learning and how much fun they are having!" The woman sitting at the table next to us had a much different reaction. She was a fellow American judging by her accent and former educator or administrator judging by the discussion. Here was her table conversation (paraphrased but quite close):
Husband (looking outside at the adorable children) : "Remember when you used to chase all the kids around in school?"
Wife: "yes - we would never do that in our schools...too much liability."
Husband nods in agreement.
This is a huge issue!! While yes there is increased liability when you give children tools but many schools throughout the US has overcome this. It pains me that the first reaction of a former educator is not one of interest or excitement but instead one of worry and immediately going to the barriers of making such exciting learning a reality.
I stepped outside to learn more about the project and ended up chatting with Phillip Baum-Wittke, the representative from myclimate who facilitated the excursion. Apparently, myclimate (de.myclimate.org/education) has many initiatives related to combating climate change, one of them being partnering with hotels and schools to provide hands-on climate education opportunities for students.
The project took just one day and looks great!
What a great first day of vacation. Let's just hope the women's attitude next to me was not indicative of the country at large and we see more of this stuff in our neck of the woods.