Introducing children in the primary school to the concept of ecosystem services

  • Noemi Rota
  • Claudia Canedoli
  • Martina Fava
  • Emilio Padoa Schioppa


The respect for Earth and life in all its diversity and the protection of the integrity of the environment are two of the fundamental principles declared in the Earth Charter 2000, which aims to build a right, peaceful, and sustainable global society. Due to the increasing effects of the environmental crisis, there is a need for a greater environmental sensibility and consciousness, and one path to reach this goal passes through environmental education projects with children. Here we carried out a project about the involvement of children in environmental-related issues, using as a teaching tool the ecosystem services. The project aims to develop in children a sensitivity towards the environment, good social and civic competence, and make the new generations more aware of environmental issues through the discovery of their territory. The topic of ecosystem services was introduced through a storytelling approach and some questions, as a reference point for activities. The 17 children taking part in the project were 9 years old and the considerations obtained were supported and tested by questionnaires appropriate to their age and level of comprehension. Successively, videos of urbanized and degraded environments in our territory were shown, thus had to describe and map them in their town. Thus, children were asked to make a proposal for the recovery of a degraded area in their town. After one year, a meeting with the children took place and they were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding the project, and the consequences it brought to their lives. The results highlighted that the majority of children remember this project with a positive feeling and had an improved competence and critical sense regarding the environment and ecosystem services.

Original Papers