Ecology: How is education for sustainable development going to school?

What is education for sustainable development?

Education for sustainable development (EDD) in schools is a new project. For some decades now, the Department of National Education has been proposing and carrying out actions to raise awareness among schoolchildren from kindergarten onwards, an approach that has recently been strengthened. “It’s a global approach that aims to gradually raise awareness of issues related to sustainable development,” said Coralie Noël, a senior official in sustainable development at the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports. “We have great sustainability challenges on our planet, which are environmental, social and economic. Everything is connected. This is what we try to make children understand from an early age. »

Interdisciplinary education in sustainable development from kindergarten

But with kids who say almost nothing about their school day, and exchanges with the teacher who may be limited by the health context, how do you know how it works? “The topics of environment and sustainable development are disseminated in the school curricula, which were strengthened in 2019 and 2020, on biodiversity, climate change and more generally on sustainable development. This also involves specific educational projects that teachers are encouraged to develop, ”explains Coralie Noël. During the early years, the goal is to raise awareness among children around the world and to encourage them to ask questions. From cycle 1 (nursery), the programs invite an initial awareness through activities around the different forms of matter and life and their evolution. Each lesson sheds light on the world, knowledge, and questions the issues of sustainable development. It is important to acquire scientific knowledge and reasoning, which begins with observation, especially for cycles 1 and 2: during class time, children will plant seeds to observe a growing plant, scrutinize the birds in the trees, etc. . They will also learn to turn off the water tap while rubbing their hands or turning off the lights as soon as they leave a room. “But most of all it’s important to understand why it needs to be done,” explains Coralie Noël. The goal is to learn and develop the student’s skills. Of course, the kind of mimicry is important in kindergarten, but the teacher who teaches the gestures to the children is always careful to make sense of them. The EDD will also allow students to be introduced to solidarity issues, in particular through the collection of plastic caps for the benefit of people with disabilities or meetings with residents of nursing homes, established in certain schools. EDS links action to knowledge and reason to emotion, and school provides the keys to understanding for our children to give them the means to act.

Teachers committed to education for sustainable development in school

Teachers can take training courses on education for sustainable development. They also have a vademecum, Educating for Sustainable Development in 2030, published by the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports in January 2021 to support them, with examples of actions, educational resources and partners with the which can work. Guidance is given, then it is the teacher who acts daily according to their own teaching habits and preferences. Each establishment can be designated a “sustainable development” benchmark.

Ecological (and school) schools: E3D labeling and eco-delegates

The E3D label (school in a sustainable development approach) is a system created by the National Education, issued by the rectory, to meet the 17 UN sustainable development goals to be achieved in 2030 (gender equality, reduction of inequalities, responsible consumption and production, etc.). In this approach, the school develops educational actions in line with the actions of management and maintenance of buildings (saving water and energy, rehabilitation of buildings, revegetation of schoolyards, etc.) with the involvement of students. Today there are 7,500 E3D schools and establishments in France. Within the classes from the year 2020, the election of the ecodelegates is already compulsory in secondary and baccalaureate, and is encouraged for the classes of CM1-CM2. Your role? Be the spokespersons for the world of tomorrow, launching projects for sustainable development.

Interview with a director of an E3D-certified nursery

Florence Baptiste, director of the nursery Cottages de Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine):

“Our commitment is reflected in the actions carried out thanks to the collaboration between the teaching staff, the parents’ federations and the city council. It all started thanks to a mother, involved in the De la llavor al plat association. We got garden places thanks to her. With their teachers, the children take care of the orchard, the orchard: they plant, water, harvest … Each section takes care of small cattle (snails, butterflies, ants), there is a classification of food in the cellar. , we have a rainwater collector, we collect plastic caps … The city council has installed nest boxes for us, the parents of the students have made us insect nests. We have also assembled compost: the children bring their biowaste home and the parents, in the form of a rotation, classify it with a small group of students. We have “The Toy Market” or “Book Exchange” operations (with primary) that promote the exchange system, and we plan to create an aromatic spiral to use aromatics in school. All these actions have an educational aspect, which allows continuity with the house. Charline, a school teacher, a reference for education for sustainable development and a member of the steering committee, coordinates the actions we carry out. This label is a real plus for me. We are certainly already in a certain movement, but it is important to encourage and encourage students to carry out these environmental actions, which are part of their daily lives. We create evidence for them in the long run. »

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