The benefits of the Eco-Schools programme
Eco-Schools is impemented in over 45,000 schools around the world – Do you know why? The reasons vary and below are a few examples of the benefits of the Eco-Schools programme:
Joining Eco-Schools will help your school save money
Many people believe that being greener means spending in greener goods, but that is not the case. Being greener is in fact about reducing the amount of resources we consume and being responsible with those that we use.
Making small changes to how your school is running can help to save a large amount of money. Some examples of how money could be saved are through energy and water management projects that reduce the amount of electricity and water used at school.
Implementing simple things like stopping draughts and switching off lights and electrical appliances when not in use can reduce energy bills.
Joining Eco-Schools will help you to obtain recognition and publicity!
Involvement in Eco-Schools can increase the profile of your school in the community and also at national regional and international level.
At community level, as an Eco-School there is often the opportunity to promote the school’s achievements to other members in the community, possibly gaining spots in community centres, library, supermarkets and even articles in the daily newspaper. Most of the time if your school participates in national environmental activities or competitions, the school is given publicity on the local news and the daily newspaper.
Eco-Schools can be linked to the curriculum
Eco-Schools provides great ways of introducing sustainable development themes into the National Curriculum and, in doing so, it helps to develop a creative learning environment for all students involved.
Eco-Schools help to deal with sustainability challenges in the country and also real in-school issues and delivers cross-curricular themes. The programme binds into almost all Curriculum subjects and topics, encouraging all from scientific evaluation through to cultural understandings and even data analysis.
It is widely recognised that there are many different learning, working and thinking styles. The activities suggested by Eco-Schools engage students in learning inside and outside the classroom with the use of a variety of teaching methods that will stimulate thinking. Practical, real-life activities have the potential to develop thinking skills, providing vital opportunities for children to make connections between subjects. Experiential learning in the outside classroom in real situations also has the capacity to raise levels of learning across a range of subjects.
Eco-Schools can help you make community links
The Eco-Schools programme is designed to involve as many people as possible, both inside and outside school community. The aim is therefore to raise people’s awareness of sustainability challenges, effect positive changes and improve the community enthusiasm, helping everyone to become involved in the decision-making of their local area.
Within the wider community there will be a wealth of knowledge and expertise that Eco-Schools may be able to use. For example, there may be a local plumber that could offer advice to the school on setting up a more eco-friendly water distribution system or perhaps even help out with the connections of pipes for a rainwater harvesting project at school.
In addition, Eco-School develops and thrives within a caring school community where the views of others are valued and action is taken in rejoinder to these views. The school becomes a place to make positive changes for the well-being of the students and the staff and also for the development of the school.
Through Eco-Schools the school grounds can improve
The school grounds can be improved in many ways, several of these ways are less litter being dropped during recreational time, more bins placed at the disposal of students, school grounds are naturalized with a variety of ornamental or edible plants, sitting facilities for students to use during recreational time, the list goes on.
Eco-Schools is an umbrella project unite everyone in the community to help improve the school grounds. This enables an environment that is not only conducive to learning but also a safe environment for learning. Students and adults take the responsibility to improve and maintain the school grounds, thus promoting a sense of responsibility for their surroundings and develop a culture of social caring.
In fact, many schools report a major change in the behaviour of the students as they take on a bit more responsibility for the environment around them.
Through Eco-Schools you can ensure that all children’s rights are respected
It is of fundamental importance for the rights of children to be respected. Children are the most vulnerable group that needs to be well taken care of and nurtured for healthy growth and development. Adults who are often recognized as the care-takers, facilitators and mentors of children, play a major role in the development of every child.
Eco-Schools provides a framework for all students to be treated alike, regardless of their gender, race, ability and learning styles, every child is special and should be given equal opportunity to grow and develop into responsible citizens.
Often adults are the ones making decisions and providing their views in the development of the school. However, through Eco-Schools, students’ views are also considered to provide meaningful participatory and learning opportunities for students to develop the knowledge, skills and values required for their well-being and others around them. In addition, students develop a sense of belongingness when their contributions are valued by the school community.
For more information on Children’s rights visit: http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/files/rights_leaflet.pdf
Through Eco-Schools you can support the implementation of national, regional and international sustainable development strategies
Did you know that Eco-Schools supports the implementation of national, regional and international sustainable development strategies? Eco-Schools as outlined above, is an international programme that promotes Education for Sustainable Development.
Most SIDS are affected by sustainability challenges on a local and global scale. Several of these sustainability challenges are climate change, unsustainable management of water, energy and waste and deforestation. Education for Sustainable Development is vital to help people understand the sustainability challenges and their risks. Eco-Schools can help towards this end to educate students on the sustainability challenges in their environment and to learn simple actions they could take to respond to the sustainability challenges.
Students learn about the environmental issues across curriculum subjects, projects, environmental clubs and other educational opportunities. Eco-Schools, therefore can help towards this end so that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, values and capabilities to strive for the protection of their sensitive environment.
Several of the sustainable development strategies are the Mauritius Strategy for the Sustainable Development of SIDS, the Earth Charter, and the Global Action Programme.