Back to School in 2020: Education for Sustainability EfS.
Our aim as a company is to help educate current and future generations on sustainable urban farming practices and provide relevant educational products and services for every classroom across Australia. As we head into what will be known as the "climate change decade" it's a great time for all educators and schools to bolster their abilities to teach about sustainability, farming practices and the environment in every classroom.
Schools can be a powerful force in driving change towards sustainability within our communities. In the case studies below, teachers give a snapshot of their project objectives and outcomes with reflections and links to useful resources on how they are implementing these practices in their class rooms.
Once teachers are confident in teaching sustainability in the classroom, their next step is to broaden their engagement with sustainability by applying its principles across the school.
Be assured, there are no 'standard' Education for Sustainability (EfS) projects – they are many and varied! Teachers often start by responding to the needs of their school environment: A garden, a biodiversity audit, waste reduction and recycling systems and more.
“Education for sustainability develops the knowledge, skills, values and world-views necessary for people to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. It enables individuals and communities to reflect on ways of interpreting and engaging with the world. Sustainability education is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action. Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems and their interdependence."
Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), viewed on the Australian Curriculum website on 21/10/2015.
What a sustainable school looks like:
St Louis de Monfort's Primary School in Victoria demonstrated how a whole school can integrate sustainability into its strategic plan, operations, management of infrastructure and curriculum – to the point where sustainability has become a visible part of the St Louis brand.
A whole-school approach reinforces what has been learnt in classrooms and moves students and the school community beyond just developing knowledge and skills about sustainability towards providing the motivation and opportunities to take action for sustainability around the school, in and with their community, to create sustainable patterns of living.
When a school adopts a whole-school approach to EfS, it delivers a clear message that sustainability is at the heart of the school culture, in the curriculum, across all operations and management of the school, and throughout connections and partnerships in the community.
There are a number of models or frameworks available for schools to use to include EfS as a whole-school approach.
The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative or AuSSI is at the centre of many of the models and frameworks. Participating in these programs provides structured support for the process of reducing water and energy consumption and waste production.
How can we help?
Urban Green offers a range of products and services to help school kick start their transition into a more sustainable and greener education, that is not only offers practical learning but hands on, fun and innovative. Urban Green Farms is the leading provider of educational courses for Primary and Secondary schools across Australia for Aquaponics. Our bespoke course guide is applicable for students in Primary school grades 2-6 and Secondary students Years 7-12. Each of the courses are designed to support learning outcome requirements for both traditional classroom subjects and STEM. Our course ensures that we cover a range of topics from plants & organisms, animal life cycles, ecosystems, PH and nitrogen, social impact effects, sustainability and more. Our courses are also continuously being updated and improved.
Here are some case studies and working examples on schools who have adopted these processes to date.
The Year 5 and 6 students at Castle Cove Primary, NSW, audited biodiversity and adaptations within the school grounds, contributing results to the Atlas of Living Australia.
A green evening
Glen Huntly Primary in Victoria hosted a successful evening event to share their sustainability work with the students and their whole school community.
Building a garden
Arthur Phillip High School in NSW took a whole-school approach to build a vegetable garden and worm farm, improving the school’s overall attitude towards caring for the environment.
Student action group
At St John The Evangelist Catholic High School in NSW, a group of inspired students created 'Johnies Action Group', intent on making St John’s a zero-carbon school.
For more information and resources please see: