What is the Green School programme?
Green-Schools, known internationally as Eco-Schools, is an international environmental education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole school action for the environment.
Unlike a once-off project, it is a long-term programme that introduces participants (students, teachers, parents and the wider community) to the concept of an environmental management system.
However, Green-Schools is far more than just an environmental management system. It fosters a strong sense of citizenship and leadership among participants that spreads far outside the school into the wider community. It also promotes a strong sense of teamwork among teachers, students and the wider community to reach a common high level goal. It flattens and democratises school management structures. It brings children into the decision-making process and makes them responsible for their decision and actions. In fact it could be best described as being ‘more than the sum of its parts’.
The aim of Green-Schools is to increase students’ and participant awareness of environmental issues through classroom studies and to transfer this knowledge into positive environmental action in the school and also in the wider community. Schools that have successfully completed all the elements of the programme are awarded the ‘Green-Flag’. This award has now become a well-recognised Eco-Label. The award has to be renewed every two years.
One of the key success factors of the Green-Schools programme is that it is a themed programme. That is, schools undertaking the programme work through the seven steps one theme at a time. The themes in sequence are:
1. Litter & Waste
6. Global Citizenship – Litter & Waste
7. Global Citizenship – Energy
Our school is currently working towards our fourth flag the ‘Travel’ flag.
The staff and pupils of St Nicholas of Myra School are working towards their fourth green flag award. The theme for this topic is travel.
These flags were awarded by An Taisce for our efforts in recycling, reducing our energy consumption including the amount of water that we use.
Since we started our travel theme, we have new members on our Green School Committee, Ben, Jenny and Steven.
We have carried out an environmental review.
We are using our travel action plan.
Wears doing curriculum work around travel.
We have had an assembly to choose our travel green code.
Some positive steps we have taken under our travel theme:
Each month staff car pool or cycle.
We have held a WOW days (Walk on Wednesday).
Pupils have done art work on travel.
Green School Committee have worked in groups, making maps
Students have used the interactive whiteboard to look at fun ways to travel ie walking, running, cycling, bus, boat, balloon aeroplane and gliding.
Class posters have been produced to help promote sustainable travel.