International recognition for efforts to promote child-led environmental change.
Inspiring young people are bringing concerns about our damaged planet into the mainstream. They are leading calls for more sustainable lifestyles, greener approaches to business and government action across the world.
Heeding these calls are international schools. From England to Thailand, they are challenging themselves to tailor the education they offer to prepare students to tackle the environmental problems we face.
“Educators must make all young people aware about sustainability as it’s now a significant part of the culture students are growing up in. Moreover, children are increasingly interested in it,” said Paul Schofield, the headteacher of St Andrews International School Bangkok, a Nord Anglia Education School.
“If schools don’t get this right, where will we be in 15 or 20 years time?” he asks.
At St Andrews, students themselves are the minds behind an action plan to make a sustainable impact on their school and community. The 7- to 11-year-old student leaders worked tirelessly during after school club time to put their plans into practice.
For example, after learning about the environmental effects of animal agriculture, they met with the school’s catering company to discuss lowering meat consumption. The students then explained their reasoning to fellow pupils, teachers and parents during assemblies and events. All children provided feedback on the new menu and St Andrews became the first school in Thailand to implement Meat Free Monday.
The children were also fully involved in the launch of the country’s first school-based zero-waste shop. Members of the community can now buy snacks, toiletries and household cleaning products in refillable and re-useable containers eliminating the need for single-use plastic. The students submitted designs for the layout of the shop, helped choose the shop’s name — “Little Steps to Zero Waste” — and created an instructional video for parents showing how to purchase items in this special shop.
In another initiative, the children encouraged other students to take part in Precious Plastic, which is an ongoing project that supports a local NGO campaign to collect plastic bottle tops for recycling. To engage and maximise participation, a competition between the St Andrews Houses was introduced, and promotion and collection sites were placed around the school. The project organisers even brought their recycling machine into school for a special set of lessons.
The work of the students and the support of the school community was recognised at the 2020 International School Awards ceremony hosted by ISC Research in London this January. St Andrews International School Bangkok won the coveted International School of the Year Award for supporting their far-reaching, community-engaging, environmentally-focused initiatives.
As future leaders, St Andrews students are proudly leading the way in promoting responsible, environmentally-conscious choices to help drive the transition to a sustainable society.
To learn more about how St Andrews supports students through creative and inspiring lessons on its virtual schooling platform, schedule a Virtual Discovery Meeting at here.