Environmental education is both the responsibility of the entire education community and a rich opportunity for cross-curricular learning. It can be taught across subjects and grades, providing context that can enrich and enliven learning in all subject areas. It also provides opportunities for critical thinking, learning about citizenship, and developing personal responsibility. It offers students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their role in society, and their dependence on one another and on the Earth’s natural systems.
The curriculum provides opportunities for students to learn about environmental processes, issues, and solutions, and to demonstrate their learning as they practise and promote environmental stewardship at school and in their communities.
Acting Today, Shaping Tomorrow: A Policy Framework for Environmental Education in Ontario Schools outlines an approach to environmental education that recognizes the need for all Ontario students to learn “in, about and/or for” the environment, and promotes environmental responsibility on the part of students, school staff, and leaders at all levels of the education system.
Resource documents – The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8 and The Kindergarten Program: Environmental Education, Scope and Sequence of Expectations, 2017 and The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9–12: Environmental Education, Scope and Sequence of Expectations, 2017 – have been prepared to assist teachers in planning lessons that integrate environmental education with other subject areas. They identify curriculum expectations and related examples and prompts in disciplines across the Ontario curriculum that provide opportunities for student learning “in, about, and/or for” the environment. Teachers can use these documents to plan lessons that relate explicitly to the environment, or they can draw on them for opportunities to use the environment as the context for learning. These documents can also be used to make curriculum connections to school-wide environmental initiatives.