Stewardship of Creation
How do I show respect for creation?
By the end of this unit, students will have explored the concept of creation being a gift from God, and our responsibility to look after that gift through the choices we make as good stewards of creation. Students will also have explained ways they can personally care for creation.
Teachers, before you start:
- Watch the CST for your own background and familiarise yourself with the Lower Primary cartoon (found within the Learning Experience below).
- Download the various resources referenced (worksheets, slides, etc.) and have them ready to go on your computer/interactive whiteboard.
- Locate any Scriptures and copies of Church texts (all hyperlinked within the Learning Experience below).
- Familiarise and decide on the use of online or app technologies.
Learn - Focus
Teacher's Note: The Big Question for this Learning Experience may need to be rephrased for lower primary students. For example: ‘How do we care for what God has made?’ or ‘How do we look after the earth?’
Students celebrate creation as a gift from God.
Tune into students' existing wonder about earth, asking students to share what they love about creation.
Optional: Watch a video from the BBC Nature collection.
Display the Stewardship of Creation Lower primary cartoon vignette.
Read the titles as a class. Complete a ‘See Think Wonder’ thinking routine.
‘Snapshots of wonder’
Students create ‘picture’ frames using recycled icy pole sticks, unused straws or other recyclable materials.
Take students outside or to the window and hold up the frame, capturing a scene of nature. Begin by giving students time to ‘see’ and ‘think’ in meditative silence. You might suggest students focus on one single thing in their ‘frame’, perhaps the sensation of the wind, or the leaves on a tree, or an ant or a birdsong. Tune into creatures and small movements of the leaves.
Ask: What do you notice? What are some small things you see? What does it make you think about? How does it make you feel?
Return to your classroom to discuss and share responses, and record ‘wonderings’ and questions students have about what they saw through their frame.
Discuss: What does what you saw make you think about God?
Students draw the scene they captured in their ‘frame’ or draw their favourite scene in nature.
Teacher's Note: The principle of Stewardship of creation is based on the Catholic belief that the earth and all life on it is God’s creation. This includes consideration of how we treat people and nature. At the lower primary level we begin to explore this principle by capturing students’ wonder of natural creation and the understanding that God has instructed us to take good care of it. This understanding is then built upon in middle and upper primary, emphasising how we must respect and share natural resources for the common good of all people.
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Learn - Explore
Students explore our responsibility to look the gift of creation.
Display the Stewardship of Creation Lower primary cartoon vignette, using it as a visual anchor to the topic of discussion.
Discuss in a think-pair-share-routine - Why do you think God created a beautiful earth? What does he want us to do with it?
Read the Scripture Genesis 1:26
Discuss: What does it suggest? What does it mean to be responsible for something?
List and record some of the things that people do to take care of the earth and animals. These could be recorded in a word cloud using an online application such as Wordle.
As an extended project: Photos of students and families taking these actions could be gathered and displayed. These could be shared and viewed online using applications such as Instagram or Flickr using a class account, or printed on recycled paper and presented as a collage.
Alternatively, students could collect digital photos of beautiful natural scenes of nature around the local community.
Discuss: What does taking care of creation do?
Teacher's Note: Highlight the principle that all actions have consequences, and as Catholics our responsibility is to enhance life rather than to diminish it.
Read an Indigenous Dreaming picture story book about creation and our responsibility to care for it. Caritas Australia’s partner Djilpin Arts created a series of animations telling stories from the Dreaming in a number of language groups. Explore stories on the Dust Echoes website.
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Learn - Demonstrate
Students explore the choices of a good steward of creation.
In partners, students complete the “We look after creation” worksheet by illustrating or writing why they should look after creation.
Several worksheet template have been provided to suit different abilities of students within the early years.
Display the Stewardship of Creation Lower primary cartoon vignette. Re-read the title.
Discuss: What are some ways that students can look after the environment in their school? What are some things the school does already?
Complete a cause and consequence chart for different school actions. For example, record a list of good school choices or actions to look after the earth.
Teacher's Note: Anchor the discussion in the principle that creation is an expression of God’s beauty and goodness, and He asks us to look after it.
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Students explain ways they can personally care for creation.
Write this quote so everyone can see it: “We can all be God’s instruments and care for creation” Laudato Si’ , adapted for Lower Primary language.
Students choose one action they can take to look after natural creation at home or school and complete sentence starter ‘To look after the earth I will”, drawing a picture and/or writing a sentence about their chosen action. This could be completed on recycled paper or by up-cycling or reusing scrap craft materials.
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Students create simple prayers of thanksgiving for God’s gifts individually or as a class.
The prayer might include one thing they are thankful for and delight in in creation and a petition for help to be a good steward.
As a class students could also set up a prayer space where they can go and thank God for creation.
The end or beginning of each session in this sequence could include the viewing of a short video that captures scenes of nature and earth that inspire awe and wonder. A wonderful collection can be found at the BBC website.
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