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Environmental & Global Education
As we approach the middle of UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) we have been reflecting on what this means at our school and how our school wide initiatives fit in with the goals of the DESD. All of these smaller projects fit into the broader spectrum of what is happening at Rockwood in ESD. Our projects are focused heavily on Environmental Education topics but these fit into ESD in a broader context. We also have a long term projects that fit under the category of Global Citizenship. A school wide approach implies that all children are involved because of a belief that this is an important thing to do.
This approach is assuming someone is willing to take the lead such as the principal or a committee. It is also important to have the support of the community and keep them informed on the events going on at the school. Children appear to be the easiest ones to engage in ESD at the elementary school age because they have a natural curiosity and love of nature, even in these highly technological times in our urbanized world. We need to capitalize on this by having strong school wide programming.
Some of the conditions necessary for a school wide approach include:
- A school wide philosophy of experiential learning
- An emphasis on inquiry-based learning
- A willing on the part of teachers to teach out of doors
- A willingness of the part of staff to accept ESD as a priority
- Some way of accessing funds to support the programs
- The establishment of a committee to promote ESD initiatives
At Rockwood school it would appear as if they conditions are in place and below is a listing of initiatives that Rockwood has underway or in planning:
- Field trips to nature centers
- Using the school grounds as a classroom
- Using the community as a classroom
- Gardening with students
- Winter bird feeding
- Teaching students about the flora and fauna in their community
- School wide recycling and composting
- Promotion of garbage-less and healthy lunches
- Promotion of active transportation
- Environmental Video Club
- Support of local and international charities
- Outdoor education camps
- Modeling of sustainable lifestyles by staff and the parent community
- School wide priority of building community
- Incorporation of ESD messages into daily social skills and announcements
- A long term school ground greening initiative in conjunction with parents
- Development of a program to grow and release trout
- Development of a community gardening program in conjunction with a community organic growing organization
- Weather and climate awareness
On the Greenspace page in our website you can find out more information about the or organic gardening that our students have been involved with over the last number of years. In the fall of 2008 students had the opportunity to sample vegetables that they had grown themselves.
For the past seven years Rockwood school has been involved with supporting students in Vietnam through an organization called Canadians Helping Kids in Viet Nam (CHKV). We also sponsor a Vietnamese family so that their children can attend school. Over four Read-A-Thons the school has raised over $10 000 to build schools in Vietnam.
This year we are experimenting in the area of water stewardship and under the guidance of the Aquatic Ecosystem Section, Fisheries Branch, Manitoba Water Stewardship we are growing Trout fingerlings from eggs and releasing them into stocked trout waters under their direction. This has been a very successful program on both the East Coast and in the West but has not been attempted here. Students will students about water quality and aquatic ecosystems and gain an appreciation for the importance of protecting these delicate resources.