If there is one thing, we can all agree on, it is that school plays a fundamental role in education and in the construction of an individual's values.
In this sense we can say that the school and all the professionals involved in this environment, such as teachers and educators, are able to promote behavioural changes, making individuals more aware and responsible.
Since the school is a place of learning, it has a great importance when it comes to setting an example and instilling values.
As we know, environmental preservation is one of today's greatest challenges, and the future depends on the actions we take today. Although today we are more and more aware of this, there is still a lot that can and must be done to make the world more sustainable and thus ensure the future of the next generations - and this is precisely the key word! The next generations will be the great agents of change for the future, but for this it is necessary that new values and principles are infused into them.
It is in this sense that we believe that the school can play a very important role in educating more sustainable citizens.
Sustainability at school should be a role model, to set an example to children and teach them the importance of sustainability and environmental protection.
When we talk about sustainability at school, we are not just talking about teaching subjects, but about making the school itself more sustainable by creating an environment where students experience what they learn about sustainability.
The goal here is really that the small changes that make the school more sustainable become a long-term habit for the students and that they apply it in their lives in the future.
Below are some changes needed to include sustainability in school.
School is one of the main places where paper is spent the most, from notebooks, textbooks, diaries, notebooks, etc. The list is long to be cited, but the reality is that these days and thanks to technology many of these resources can and should be replaced by the digital way.
For example, nowadays there are digital alternatives that allow you to send messages to parents, or even free online diaries that can replace physical diaries.
If we go even further to the extreme, schools may invest in providing computers or tablets to students so that they can access digital books or have access to various resources that can replace paper.
Eliminating all possible paper in schools is a big step towards getting sustainability in school off to a successful start.
When we talk about sustainability at school, we also talk about reinforcing and teaching the most basic values of environmental protection, such as recycling.
In this sense, it is important that the topic of recycling is addressed in class, as well as making students aware of the importance of reusing resources.
Also, as the most important thing of all is to set an example, it is advisable that in order to accentuate sustainability values at school, they replace ordinary garbage with recyclables. This will encourage students to separate their garbage, even when they are not at school.
Another great way to promote sustainability at school is to create a collective garden, where students can learn about the different ways of growing crops and watch what they have grown.
On the other hand, students will be able to understand and notice the difference between self-grown products and those sold in supermarkets, where chemicals are usually used that can be harmful to health.
Finally, what is planted in these gardens can, on the one hand, be used in the school's own canteens, and on the other hand, the students could take home to eat and taste what they have planted themselves.
Following the same thought as above, it would be interesting to conduct tree planting actions in the school space and done by the students themselves.
On one hand, this would allow the space to be revitalized and, on the other hand, it would allow children to take responsibility for watering or pruning the plants.
It would also be interesting to plant fruit trees, where the students could later eat - in the canteen, at snack time or at home - the fruit that comes from the plants they have planted and cared for.
The school must be able to make students aware of the importance of saving natural resources.
In this sense, besides teaching, the school must change some of its habits, adopting more ecological measures. Therefore, in order to have sustainability at school, the school should:
We all know that the ideal is to use public transportation, but as we also know, this is not always possible.
In this sense, the school itself should be able to act and create a carpool network among parents or guardians, where they are in charge of sharing the task of bringing and taking students who live nearby.
The goal here is to try to reduce the pollution of the environment as much as possible and, on the other hand, to encourage socialization among students and parents themselves.
It should be noted that the school should not force anyone to participate in this carpool network but should propose the idea and find out from parents their availability.
What is being done in the world regarding sustainability at school?
The good news is that many countries around the world are considering environmental concerns and have already started to insert sustainable programs in schools.
For example, in Europe, programs have been created that encourage schools to improve their environmental management, certificates and awards are given to schools to prove their sustainable efforts, and there are even governments that focus on environmental and sustainable education and programs in all grades.
In addition, we have seen more and more completely sustainable schools appearing, although there are not many yet, the truth is that the reality of these schools is completely different from what we are used to.
This means then that the world is not sitting still and that changes have been made, including at school.
If you are a parent, teacher, or an active citizen in school life, we encourage you to show your environmental concerns to schools and help them make some changes, for example by showing some of the changes we mention in this article.
Without a doubt, by encouraging sustainability at school, we are contributing to the formation of citizens with more ecological and sustainable values.
With the new school year coming up, we can make this year better and more sustainable!
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