As an Eco-School, at Goldthorpe Primary we recognise that our eco initiatives provide opportunities for children across all year groups. We have therefore developed an eco-ethos as a whole school family with three children from each class as eco representatives. Principles from forest schooling, farming and sustainable schools support our approaches to outdoor learning and eco interventions that are in place for children across school.
Our Eco-School’s ethos supports the Reggio inspired approach to our connected learning curriculum where the views of others are valued and action is taken in response to these views. Owing to this, pupils see the school as a place to make positive changes and to make a difference. By encouraging pupils to take responsibility for the environmental management of the school, they in turn develop an increased sense of responsibility for their surroundings and the increased sense of belonging and pride within the school links closely to good behaviour.
Monitoring and review of eco sessions demonstrates that our eco ethos also mirrors our connected learning curriculum in the way it links to the national curriculum, adding purpose to learning, increasing the level of pupil engagement during lessons and providing opportunities to use real-life issues to deliver cross-curricular thematic units. There is an overarching framework for pupils, helping them to understand how many different issues are linked together, for example the connections between the management of the school grounds and increased biodiversity; and as with the Reggio inspiration and the connected learning curriculum, our eco ethos values first-hand learning experiences with acclaim for hands-on activities, project and problem based learning methods and integrated approaches. It also stresses the need for relevance and reality in learning activities as a means of interesting and motivating pupils.
Our eco ethos supports our curriculum of practical, real-life activities that have the potential for the development of thinking skills, providing opportunities for children to make connections between subjects. Experiential learning in the outside classroom in ‘real’ situations provides the capacity to raise standards across a range of subjects, taking into account individual pupil’s unique learning, working and thinking styles and the diversity of tasks that can be completed through outdoor and eco learning.