Schools may not be open, but young people across the globe are still invited to take part in this year’s World Ocean Day for Schools event on 8 June and celebrate our connection to the ocean. There are also a range of online ocean resources to explore which can be accessed all year round. From ocean-inspired outfits to themed activities, there are lots of easy ways for children to join in the fun whether they’re in the house or the classroom.
Promoting ocean literacy
Following the success of Blue Planet 2 and with greater public focus on climate change, people in the UK and beyond have started to think differently about our connection to the ocean and the role it plays in supporting a healthy planet. However, there are still many gaps in the public’s knowledge about our blue spaces.
As well as providing a great excuse to dress up (lobster costume anyone…?) the annual event aims to improve ocean literacy of people around the world. To be ‘ocean literate’ simply means to have a clear understanding of our impact on the ocean and the ocean’s impact on us.
From a bright idea to a global celebration
At the UK Branch, we believe that if people understand why a healthy ocean matters to them, they will act to protect it. That’s why improving ocean literacy is a key objective of our Valuing the Ocean programme.
We supported Wild Labs and the We are Ocean network to run a ‘creative sprint’ – bringing together scientists, activists, artists and designers to co-design projects that help improve ocean literacy. Using World Book Day as inspiration, the group had the idea for a similar annual moment where young people could explore their connection to blue spaces. The aim was to kick-start a fun conversation between children, parents, teachers and communities about our relationship with the ocean.
Wild Labs worked with partners on educational resources, including a short film, and encouraged schools to sign up to the first World Ocean Day for Schools in 2018. Over 400 primary and secondary schools took part, hosting special assemblies, getting kids to dress up, and providing ocean-focused lessons.
Creating a new generation of ocean advocates
Following the success of the first event, World Ocean Day for Schools developed a free digital platform to provide engaging and thought-provoking resources for educators all year round. This platform aims to build a richer connection with the ocean in a way that complements the school curriculum. These explorations into our water systems culminate with the global celebration that takes place in June every year.
In 2019, even more schools got involved with World Ocean Day for Schools and the aim is to make 2020 the biggest celebration yet. With many schools likely to be closed this year due to COVID-19, the World Ocean Day for Schools team have planned a special day of resources and exercises that can be streamed from the website. This more structured offering of education and entertainment makes it ideal for homeschooling (parents will be glad to hear).
Dive into World Ocean Day for Schools
If you fancy celebrating World Ocean Day for Schools this year, there are a range of ways to get involved. The official World Ocean Day for Schools website has a treasure trove of resources, including videos, lesson plans and activities for school and home. This content, which is tailored for different age groups, covers a range of topics such as UK marine life, the water cycle and plastic pollution.
There’s lots to discover about our amazing blue planet. So, dust off your goggles and dive into World Ocean Day for Schools!