“Earth School”: How Kids Can Learn To Care About The Planet From Home

The free, virtual educational program includes videos, reading materials, and activities focused on the natural world.

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Getty Images

Though kids are spending less time outside, they can (and should!) still learn about the world around them.

According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 1.2 billion students have been affected by school closures that have been implemented around the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus. To help kids continue to learn about the world around them while they’re social distancing, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, along with 30 collaborating organizations, launched the “Earth School” so kids can consume free programming about the environment. 

Earth School provides environmentally focused reading materials, activities, and educational videos from organizations like TED-Ed, PBS LearningMedia, and the BBC. The free educational platform’s lessons or “quests” encourage children to continue to care about the planet, even though their lives and educations have shifted because of the pandemic. 

“Billions of children are currently out of school because of COVID-19. But learning cannot stop,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said. “COVID-19 has revealed how deeply interconnected all life on this planet is."

CO2 emissions in some countries have dropped as a result of social distancing measures implemented globally to slow the spread of the virus. But climate scientists have warned that the decline in emissions is temporary, saying lawmakers and consumers must make concerted efforts to make a lasting difference.

“One interesting consequence of the pandemic has been a swift and sweeping increase in people's awareness and respect for the beauty, mystery and power of the natural world,” TED-Ed director Logan Smalley told NowThis. “As billions of people turn to their windows, take more walks, and likely have the time and cause to reflect on the wonders of nature, our hope is that Earth School gives people an experience and a framework to better understand the world around them.”

Earth School will run lessons between Earth Day and World Environment Day on June 5.