ECO schools have become a growing phenomenon, encouraging young people to engage with their environment by giving them the opportunity to actively protect it. It starts in the classroom, extends to the rest of the school, and drives change in the community as a whole.
Educating students to be environmentally aware is an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path towards improving their environment, while having a lifelong positive impact on the lives of young people. , their families, school staff, and local communities.
Research has shown that educating students about sustainability and climate change not only motivates, but also improves attitudes towards learning and well-being, thereby advancing their academic and personal development.
In 2021, Cambridge School in Bucharest was awarded the title of ECO School in Romania, due to its initiatives to connect students to the natural world. They designed a new program called “Education for Sustainable Development” (ESD). This program focused on three of UNESCO’s ESD themes; Sustainable communities and cities, responsible consumption and production and climate action.
The ECO-School program for environmental management and certification is supported by the European Union, UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme. It is coordinated internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), bringing together 81 organizations from 68 countries, and the CCDG, the Romanian coordinators of ECO-Schools in Romania, has 261 schools participating in their programme.
This initiative was developed in 1994, based on the need to involve young people in the search for solutions to the challenges imposed by sustainable development at the local level. This program continues to grow and become more popular within schools, with 19 million students participating each year.
“Young people experience a sense of achievement in being able to have a say in their schools’ environmental management policies, ultimately guiding them towards certification and the prestige that comes with being awarded a green flag.” – Gavin Roberts, Head of Education for Sustainable Development at CSB.
To reinforce its success in becoming a Green Flag school, CSB students and staff hold weekly ECO-Committee meetings to discuss the development of sustainability projects within the school, with the aim of making a difference as a community in Bucharest and Ilfov.
Throughout the school, the campus has urban gardens, where students plant and grow flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables during their after-school clubs. During breaks, students collect acorns and leaves, and water the plants on a voluntary basis, earning house points. CSB’s after-school gardening clubs hold a “Market Gardens” event each term, selling herbs, salads and other vegetables that students have grown for parents and staff to purchase.
The Early Years Program (EYFS) (3-5 years) developed a composting project for plant material to provide fertile growth material, and Year 1 (5-6 years) conducted a trial initiative of food waste in the canteen.
As CSB’s mascot is the wolf, Art Outreach Club students in Years 10 and 11 constructed leaf mold sculptures in the shape of wolves this term, as part of the COBIS sustainability competition. EYFS students participated in this project, harvesting leaves to feed the mussels, turning them into compost to add to our urban gardens.
Last year, the school placed more emphasis on the harm caused by single-use plastic bottles and, in an effort to raise student awareness of sustainability, offered gifted students from kindergarten to 4th year of reusable water bottles. Classes across the school voted for ECO Officers and Power Rangers, to ensure trash is placed in the correct bins, and lights and electronics are turned off to help the environment.
“At CSB, we believe in encouraging leadership and providing students with the opportunity to take control of their future” – Natalie Roelofsz
CSB believes in reuse and reuse. Using everyday objects and recycling them creatively is a fantastic way for students to learn that music is all around them. Grade 5 students have created a scrap orchestra from trash from home and on campus to encourage students to reorient themselves when possible.
Early Childhood and Key Stage 1 students (3-8 years old) make regular weekly visits to Baneasa Forest, to understand the importance of nature and connect with the natural world. Outdoor education has the proven added benefit of improving focus, confidence and awareness of others.
Cambridge School of Bucharest inspires sustainable education in its community, to pave the way for a better future. For more information, visit our website.
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