ECO-SCHOOLS

What is Eco-Schools?

 

Eco-Schools was created in Denmark in 1994 by FEE, following the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Today, it is the largest international accreditation and education for sustainable development programme in the world. It helps schools to make a commitment to operating in a more sustainable way, while encouraging young people to play a proactive role in society.

As an educational programme, Eco-Schools encourages practical actions but also puts education for sustainable development (ESD) at the heart of the process by supporting numerous links to school curricula. By bringing the whole school community together around a shared project, it encourages reflection and cooperation between various groups on the school staff, pupils and their parents. As a result, it encourages everyone involved in the life of the school to take part in the project at every level.

Supported by UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Eco-Schools is an Award Scheme linked to the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 and is recognised all over the world. The programme offers participating schools the opportunity to take part in exchanges and share their experiences as part of the national and international Eco-Schools network. Today, schools all around the world are taking action on sustainable development through the Eco-Schools programme.

As the official representative of FEE in Switzerland, J’aime ma Planète develops Eco-Schools since 2016. Today, the programme connects 66 Swiss schools and reaches more than 20’000 students.

«Eco-Schools is an amazing adventure: it allows all the stakeholders of a school to communicate, internally and externally, to have their efforts recognised and to take part in an international and state-of-the art sustainable development programme. It’s an undeniable asset!» – Esther, Eco-Schools coordinator at Lycée Rodolphe Töpffer, Genève.

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Why participate in the Eco-Schools programme?

 

From creating a school garden to fighting plastic waste and implementing energy-saving measures, initiatives for sustainable development in Swiss schools are numerous and diverse. Against this background, a programme that helps bring these initiatives together in a coherent fashion and allows for further improvement can be of real benefit.

The Eco-Schools program offers a framework and a methodology that helps schools engage in a long-term approach to education for sustainable development.

What are the programme’s objectives?

1.

 

Promote situational, real-life and outdoor learning, to spur sustainable practices in and outside school

2.

 

Encourage young people to play a proactive role in the society

3.

 

Propose an inclusive method that brings the school community together around a common purpose

4.

 

Improve the ecological footprint and the sustainability performance of the school

How does it work?

 

The Eco-Schools program takes a comprehensive approach to ESD. It offers a flexible Seven Steps Methodology that allows schools to proceed at their own pace. This creates a framework for a project that brings the whole of the school community together and in particular, gives pupils the opportunity to play a major role in setting up the programme and making it a success.

Eco-Schools’ primary objective is to help schools to implement a gradual programme of (education for) sustainable development and in so doing, help pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and motivation they need to address and tackle the challenges of the world around them.

The programme makes use of school buildings and the surrounding areas as educational laboratories. Each school selects a theme for a one or two-year project and implements initiatives designed to make practical improvements in how it operates. These initiatives are accompanied by educational activities associated with sustainable development, carried out in class or outside school. A new theme is added each year to drive a gradual process of continuous improvement.

 

 

Project example

EPS Chavornay et environs primary and secondary school (canton of Vaud)

Theme: Biodiversity

For their first Eco-Schools project on biodiversity, the school community of Chavornay et environs created an impressive school garden and a forest sofa for outdoor lessons. The aim was to connect the students with nature and explore issues of biodiversity and their natural environment.

The children were the focus of the project from the very beginning. With the support of their teachers, they drew up the plans for the school garden, prepared the soil, and took care of planting, irrigation, maintenance and harvesting. Of course, the preparation and consumption of the harvested products were also on the agenda. Finally, the students sold their own seeds at a local market.

These activities allowed for numerous links with the school programme: garden workshops during school hours, cooking classes with vegetables from the garden, mathematical calculations for the plans of the garden, the creation of a dossier on the diversity of life in biology classes…

The school garden and the forest sofa have become important places of learning and sensitisation for a respectful attitude towards nature. Today, it is impossible to imagine everyday school life at Chavornay et environs without them. To celebrate the achievements of its first Eco-Schools project, the school organised a garden party that brought parents, students and teachers together for a convivial and bonding moment.

Contact us here!

 

More infos on Eco-Schools Switzerland: http://www.ecoschools-ch.org/en/

More infos on Eco-Schools international: http://www.ecoschools.global/

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