Students from the Primary and Secondary Eco Teams had the pleasure of raising the Eco-Schools Green Flag above the Bangkok Prep campus. This award is given to schools that have achieved the highest level in the global Eco-Schools programme. Bangkok Prep is the first school in Thailand to earn the green flag and only the second international school in the world to earn the award from the Eco-Schools Global Organisation.
What is Eco-Schools?
The Eco-Schools organisation is a worldwide initiative in cooperation with the United Nation (UN) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The aim of the programme is to encourage ecological education in schools, from early years education through to university level. Member organisations work through a structured program that encourages child-led initiatives, problem solving and systems thinking.
The Eco-Schools programme is as much about student leadership as it is about information and education. Once a school feels that they have successfully met the Eco-Schools’ criteria, they can apply for the relevant level of award, starting with the Bronze award, working through the Silver award, and finally culminating in the Green Flag. Bangkok Prep had completed the Bronze and Silver awards prior to this year and was subject to a strict review and on-site inspection to earn the Green Flag in late 2016.
The main focus of the inspection was to see how the Eco-Schools programme had been embedded in our community values and provided context for much of the learning that takes place in the school. A key area for assessment was the extent to which the programme has been led by students. It is very important that the Eco-Schools programme is not another lesson or information session, but a genuine problem-solving platform that gives children the opportunity to initiate genuine change in their school community.
What does this mean for Bangkok Prep?
The Bangkok Prep Eco Teams have thoroughly impressed the Eco-Schools assessors and representatives who have visited our school. The members of the team are a truly inspirational group of young people, from age 5 to 18. They have done a great job in creating an ecological mindset at Bangkok Prep and this is reflected in our classroom activities, assemblies, posters and displays around the school.
As a result, Bangkok Prep has gained international recognition, via the WWF and Eco-Schools Global network. We have already been contacted by other international schools who have been inspired by our Eco-Schools efforts and are looking for advice on applying a similar programme. The Bangkok Prep Eco Team have become something of a model Eco-Schools group.
In order to live up to this increasingly impressive reputation, it is important that the Eco Team continues to work hard to develop the programme further. The building of the new campus has already been influenced by Eco Team, with solar panels and a small farm area already under construction. There will, no doubt, be many more exciting opportunities for the Secondary Eco Team to explore, once they move to the new site. The Primary Eco Team also have many plans for the coming year, including the development of some more ‘green learning spaces’, whole school environmental events and an increased focus on wildlife conservation in the curriculum.
The Eco Teams would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody at the school who has supported our efforts