Ecology: how is education for sustainable school improvement?

What is Education for Sustainable Progress?

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the school is a project that is not new. For several decades now, the National Education Department has been proposing and implementing actions to raise awareness among students from kindergarten upwards, a approach that has only recently been strengthened. “This is a global approach that aims to gradually increase their awareness of issues related to sustainable development”, explained Coralie Noël, senior officer for sustainable development at the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports . “We have great challenges in the sustainability of our planet, which are environmental, social and economic. Everything is connected. This is what we are trying to make children understand from childhood.»

Interdisciplinary education in sustainable development from kindergarten

But with kids saying almost nothing about their day at school, and teacher exchanges that can be limited due to the health context, how do you know how it works? “Environmental and sustainable development issues are covered in the school curricula, which will be strengthened in 2019 and 2020, on biodiversity, climate change and more on sustainable development. It also includes concrete projects on education that teachers are encouraged to develop, ”explains Coralie Noël. In the early years, the goal was to inform children of the world around them and to encourage them to ask themselves questions. From cycle 1 (kindergarten) , the programs invite an initial knowledge through activities around the various forms of matter and life and their evolution.Each lesson provides world light, knowledge, and questions on issues of sustainable development It is important to have scientific knowledge and reasoning, starting with observation, especially in cycles 1 and 2: class time, children, for example, planting and seeds. to observe the growing plant, examine the birds in the trees, and so on. They can also learn to turn off the water tap as they wriggle their hands or turn off the lights when they exit a room. “But most of all it is important to understand why it should be done,” explains Coralie Noël. The goal is to learn and develop the student’s skill. Apparently, in kindergarten, the role of imitation is important, but the teacher who teaches children’s actions always takes care to give them meaning. The EDD will also make it possible to introduce students to questions about integration, particularly by collecting plastic covers for the benefit of people with disabilities or meetings with residents of nursing homes, which built in some schools. . ESD connects action to knowledge and reason to emotion and the school provides the keys to the understanding needed for our children to give them the way to move.

Teachers are committed to education for the sustainable development of the school

Teachers can follow educational training courses for sustainable development. They also have a vademecum, Educating for Sustainable Development 2030, published by the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports in January 2021 to support them, with examples of actions, educational resources and colleagues they can work with. Given the orientations, then the teacher will act daily according to his or her own habit and desire to teach. In each establishment, a “sustainable development” can be designated.

Eco-friendly schools (and school children): E3D labeling and eco-delegates

The E3D label (school in a sustainable development approach) is a system put in place by National Education, issued by the rectorate, to achieve the 17 UN sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030 (gender equality , inequality reduction, responsible consumption and production, etc.). In this way, the school develops educational actions in line with building management and maintenance actions (water and energy conservation, repair of buildings, replanting of grounds, etc.) by student participation. Today there are 7,500 E3D schools and establishments in France. Within classes since 2020, the selection of eco-delegates is already mandatory in middle and high school, and is encouraged for CM1-CM2 classes. How many roles? To be the spokesperson for the world of tomorrow, by launching projects in favor of sustainable development.

Interview with a director of an E3D-certified kindergarten

Florence Baptiste, kindergarten director at Cottages in Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine):

“Our commitment can be seen in the actions implemented thanks to the partnership between the teaching group, parent federations and the municipality. It all started thanks to a mother, involved in the association. From the seed to the plate. Gained mig garden squares thank him.With their teachers, the children take care of the vegetable garden, the orchard: they plant, water, harvest … Each section takes care of a small livestock ( snails, butterflies, ants), there is some kind of food in the canteen., we have a rainwater collector, collector and plastic caps … The town hall put nesting boxes for us, the parents of the students making insect nests. We also put in compost: the children bring their bio-waste from home and the parents, in the form of rotation, arrange it in small groups of students. We have ” The toy flea market ”or“ The barter for books ”(with elem entarya) operations that promote the exchange system, and plan to create an aromatic spiral to use the aromatics in the school. All of these actions have an educational component, which allows for continuity at home. Charline, school teacher, referent on sustainable development education and member of the steering committee, coordinated the actions we took. This label is a real addition for me. Sure we are already in a specific movement, but it is important to promote and encourage students to make these ecological actions, part of their daily lives. We create evidence for them in the long term. »

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