It all starts in the classroom
Eco-Schools is a fundamental initiative which encourages young people to engage in their environment by allowing them the opportunity to actively protect it. It starts in the classroom, it expands to the school and eventually fosters change in the community at large. Through this programme, young people experience a sense of achievement at being able to have a say in the environmental management policies of their schools, ultimately steering them towards certification and the prestige which comes with being awarded a Green Flag. The Eco-Schools programme is an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path towards improving the environment in both the school and the local community while at the same time having a life-long positive impact on the lives of young people, their families, school staff and local authorities.
Combining learning with hands-on experiences, the whole programme is run according to an all-inclusive, participatory approach involving students, teachers and the local community at large.
Improve School Environments
The Eco-Schools programme is an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path towards improving the environmental footprint of a school, a change which inevitably leads to a more sustainable, less costly and more responsible school environment.
Eco-Schools challenges students to engage in tackling environmental problems at a level where they can see tangible results, spurring them on to realise that they really can make a difference.
Eco-Schools instills in students a sense of responsibility and cultivates a sustainable mindset which they can apply on a daily basis. It equips those involved with the drive to really make a difference and to spread such proactive behaviour amongst family and friends, ultimately passing it on to future generations.
Eco-Schools places great emphasis on involving the local community from the very beginning. By doing so, the lessons the students pick up are transferred back into the community where they take hold and lead to more sustainable, environmentally responsible behaviour patterns all round.
Eco-Schools facilitates contact between participating institutions not just at the national level, but also internationally. These links provide an opportunity for schools to share environmental information, they can also be used as a means for cultural exchanges and for improving language skills.
How Eco-schools works
The Eco-Schools programme consists of three structural elements - The Seven Steps Framework, the Eco-Schools Themes, and Assessment for the Green Flag. To be successful the programme requires support from school leaders and the Board. Active involvement of staff is imperative as well as long-term commitment and the willingness to involve students in decision-making.
As the students grow, the programme grows with them. When students began third level education in various countries, they wanted to join the Eco Committee only to discover that there wasn't one! So they approached the chancellors or deans to ask why. Some visionary university faculty and staff agreed to run the Eco-Schools programme with the help of our National Operators of course, and it became known as EcoCampus. It began in Russia in 2003 and the first whole institution Green Flags were awarded in Ireland in 2010. For more information click here.