2 – ‘PLASTIC-FREE SCHOOLS’ RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONTEST

Leading organisation: EFFEBI

The aim of this output is to guide primary schools in order to take action and effectively shift into a more sustainable and plastic-free attitude. Such a change has to be addressed to the entire school ecosystem which includes management staff, teachers and students as well. Moreover, in the spirit of whole-school approach to Education of Sustainable Development, it is subsequently necessary to re-shape the school interaction with the environment in an intellectual, material, spatial, social, and emotional sense to achieve a lasting/sustainable quality of life for all (UNESCO, 2018).
The Recommendations, in fact, represent the further step of a process of change that has started with the acknowledgement of plastic footprint at school level (O1), will proceed with concrete actions that involve the entire school ecosystem (O2 Recommendations and contest) and will end up with the acquisition of knowledge and skills to understand the unsustainability of the current consuming model (O3) .
On the one hand, the Recommendations give an answer to the audit launched with the plastic footprint, providing inputs and instructions to the auditees on how to improve their personal performance at schools. On the other hand, values and attitudes that will be proposed in the educational activities of the toolbox in the framework of formal curriculum can be, through the Recommendations and the contest, reinforced by the school’s institutional/organizational practices and socio-cultural promotion in order to reduce defection from sustainable actions (UNESCO, 2018). In this sense, Recommendations and contest represent a key expression of the recognition of schools as change catalyzers from a consumer lifestyle into a new model which respects nature and does not produce litter but it is rather able to recycle and reuse: the circular economy model.

As a result, from the innovation point of view, this output encloses several aspects of innovation:

  1. Recommendations at school level on plastic-free – even if recommendations are very common at individual level in order to support people in shifting to a plastic-free lifestyle, what is very new, is the adoption of a comprehensive approach that is aimed at addressing single individuals but within the framework of the school environment. In this regard, recommendations will be addressed to specific figures of school ecosystem (management staff, teachers and students) and will refer to their everyday life in such a context.
  2. Contest’s problem-based approach: the reason to have a contest within the project addressing primary schools is part of the Consortium’s vision to approach students since primary school age, to adopt a problem-based approach. This approach, in fact, best suits the need to engage with the challenges deriving from plastic pollution and the compliance with the STEAM Model and represents a funny way for pupils for implementing what they have experienced with the previous project’s activities as well as a way to acquire advanced cognitive abilities such as creative thinking, problem solving and communication skills.
  3. Contest’s awareness campaign: the contest’s idea has been included not only to benefit students but also to indirectly spread out the idea of a more sustainablelifestyle among key actors around school life like families. In this sense, the Recommendations and the contest as well are aimed at directly impacting on primary schools, particularly students and teachers who are addressed by the guidelines and who can take part in the contest. On the other hand, both actions are aimed atsensitizing and involving in the spirit of whole-school approach external stakeholders who are going to take part in the event as members of the judging committee or that simply will attend the final conference. Subsequently, the Consortium expects to inspire also other schools from other countries as well as other sectors with these activities and therefore is willing to develop both in a way that can be replicated, at least in their methodologies transnationally and transversally. Due to the relevance of this output in terms of impact, all Recommendations will be translated in national languages as well as communication materials for the contest to be distributed among contests’ participants. All relevant materials will be then uploaded on the Project’s website. The output will be coordinated by Effebi with the support of Eurodimention and all Partners who will be responsible for supporting participants to the contest.

Results of O2:

TO DO:

Map of primary schools’ challenges
Recommendations for school management and teachers to become ‘plastic-free’ schools
Recommendations for students to become ‘plastic-free’ schools
Contest methodology and tools