Although new to Australia, the program has been running overseas for 20 years. We’ve compiled information from sister programs around the world about the benefits to schools in taking part in the Eco-Schools program.
Pupil empowerment. Eco-Committee students are in charge of a democratic and participatory process. The Eco-Schools program is a good opportunity for all students to become active citizens, improving their school and community.
Curriculum development. Eco-Schools is the best approach to integrating environmental education into school curriculums, in a creative, engaging, project-based way.
Improve the school environment. Project themes include litter and school grounds.
Academic and behavioural outcomes. Eco-Schools USA demonstrate academic benefits linked to environmental education. A report by Eco-Schools England shows links between the Eco-Schools program and good pupil behaviours, as well as good OFSTED inspection results.
Motivation for students and staff. The program incorporates awards – Bronze, Silver and Green Flag. Appreciation and recognition for student and staff efforts in environmental improvements and education.
Positive school image. Eco-Schools status and awards can be promoted to parents and prospective parents, the local community, and teaching community. An Eco-School is an asset to a community.
Tried and tested approach. Eco-Schools is massive (over 40,000 schools), long-running (20 years) and world-wide (60 countries) – it’s popular and widespread because it works.
International. Compare and contrast projects and perspectives with students and teachers around Australia and even in other countries. Share environmental knowledge, as well as cultural exchange.
Local community connections – ‘inform and involve’ is one of the 7-steps in the Eco-Schools program. Local council, NGO’s and businesses will want to help their local school to become an Eco-School – a great reason for schools to harness local expertise and resources.
Environmental awareness – the program fosters positive environmental behaviours amongst students and community. Eco projects and themes are integrated into curriculum which increases students’ knowledge of environmental issues, and informing and involving the whole school and community to raise environmental awareness is part of the program too.
Financial Savings. Reduce the waste of resources like paper, energy and water.
Professional development opportunity for staff who may wish to become the school ‘Eco-Coordinator’.