Last week I shared information on my social media channels about the Picker Pals programme and there was so much interest in it I said I would write a blog post to talk about it a little more. This is a paid blog post, but I had signed my class up for Picker Pals before writing this, and would be using the programme anyway, because I really do think it will bring a lot to my classroom. This is only the Picker Pals programme’s second year in existence, but it has already gained so much popularity and places are filling up so quickly! Last summer I spoke to the man behind the programme, Patrick Jenson. He was so passionate about this programme and had put so much energy and enthusiasm into it, it caught my attention instantly. I decided that I would use the programme as soon as I has first class again, little did I know I would have them this year! Patrick wrote a blog post for me last year, which you can read here: https://www.muinteoirvalerie.com/picker-pals-guest-post/
I’ll just give an overview here of how the programme works, and how I intend to use it with my class.
Picker Pals is a popular environmental programme for lower primary school classes. Through a fun character-led song, story and educational world, the programme equips and motivates children and their families to go on litter-picking adventures and report their action to their classmates, taking the first steps to becoming young environmentalists.
When you sign up to Picker Pals, you receive books for everyone in the class, a beautiful classroom display, teacher’s information and the fantastic Picker Pack containing everything needed for a litter-picking adventure. Children read the storybooks, engage with the world of the Picker Pals characters, sing the Picker Pals song and do the environmental learning activities in the activity book. Taking it in turns, children take home the Picker Pack and lead their family on a litter-picking adventure in their local area. When the children return to school, they tell their classmates and school community about their actions, completing their Picker Pals reports, decorating the display wall and giving and getting lots of positive feedback for their actions.
The website has a whole section of free resources, including a motivational mini poster package, campaign posters, litter picking safety information, motivational badges which you can print and laminate, and so much more! This will be so helpful for me resources wise, it will save me looking online for resources for my lessons.
I am teaching first class this year and I have signed my class up. I love how it covers so many of the strands of SESE and also integrates so well with other subjects, including art, English, Irish, history, music; the scope for integration and linkage is endless. I won’t be following an SESE programme this year so this will be really useful for me to help me with resources for SESE.
The curricular links is obviously what made me sign up for this. There is just so much to teach every day, that realistically the only way you’ll get anything done is through clever integration, and this is exactly what I will do with this programme. I can spend a whole afternoon on it after lunch, until home time. We will do music through singing the Picker Pal song. We will cover geography and science through the following strands :
Strand: Human Environments
Strand Unit: Living in the Local Community
People Living and Working in the Local Community- explore his/ her role in the community and how we can help our local community.
Strand: Environmental Awareness and Care-
Strand Unit- Caring for my Locality- realise that there is both an individual and a community responsibility for improving and caring for the environment.
Identify, discuss, and implement simple strategies for improving and caring for the environment.
Become aware of ways in which the environment can be harmed or polluted.
It would take weeks to cover all those strands, but you can pick and choose which you want to do! I will cover English through the children writing about their turn with the litter picker, and oral language as they tell the class about their experiences and actions when they went litter picking, and recount writing through filling out the Picker Pal report! I could cover art through getting them to make No Litter Posters, and so much more. So that the curriculum side covered! The two aspects of this programme I love however are not curriculum based. Firstly, I love how it provides an opportunity to bring family members together, maybe a parent or guardian and siblings could go together on the litter picking excursion, providing an important bonding experience. Secondly, I love how it promotes caring for and looking after your local area. Skerries is such a beautiful area, and I look forward to helping to keep it nice and clean with the help of my class!
You can sign up here, it takes around two minutes. Once you confirm registration, the Picker Pals pack will be sent out to you! https://airtable.com/shrC7y6aj1UGQ6wCz