By Philip Dawson, Eco Project Coordinator
The TES Primary Campus has begun its two-year journey to become an accredited Green Flag Eco School this term. This project began with assemblies hosted by the different sections to explain to students what an eco school is: a student-led initiative to make fundamental changes to the school to make it more eco-friendly. Students will lead the school through a seven-step process that includes creating an environmental audit, devising an action plan, and executing that plan to make significant changes within the school. Although this project will be led by each section’s eco committees, it is hoped that all students within the school will join in through activities in their own classrooms that aid with the seven-step process. Soon after the assemblies took place, all of the students were invited to apply to become eco warriors and join their section’s eco committee. Finally, after sifting through a great number of excellent applications, our inaugural eco committees were selected. The eco warriors met on the inaugural Fruit Juice Friday to celebrate taking the first step on their journey and were rewarded with eco warrior wristbands.
Fruit Juice Friday
Fruit Juice Friday is a weekly event that celebrates students who have done something that makes a positive impact on the environment. Each week, staff at TES will be on the lookout for students who are making a difference to help improve the environment of our school and planet. These students are then nominated to attend a Fruit Juice Friday. This aims to promote environmental awareness in the school and congratulate those students who go over and above what is expected of them.
Each Friday morning, a select few classes in school will find golden envelopes on their whiteboards. The envelopes contain the names of students who have been invited to Fruit Juice Friday. During morning break, these students are ‘sent to see the Headteacher’ to be rewarded with an eco school wristband and to drink fruit juice with the Section Heads and other eco warriors.
During the eco school assemblies, one of the things that was discussed was the enormous environmental problems that the world is facing today. Vast swathes of ocean are being filled with plastic waste. Huge rainforests are being cut back at an alarming rate. It would be easy to see these problems as ‘too big’ for primary students or even a primary school to deal with. However, even the most difficult tasks can seem manageable when broken into smaller pieces. Even the incredible challenge of climbing Mount Everest starts with a few small steps forward. Our idea of doing #onelittlething for the environment follows this line of thinking. If we can all pledge to do one little thing that makes a positive difference, then together we are making a much larger difference. If we can also convince others to make a small change, then the impact is increased still further. Noticeboards were placed outside the Parents’ Cafe on which students, teachers and parents could pledge to do #onelittlething for our environment. Soon afterwards, we had to get more noticeboards due to the large volume of pledges – in just ten days, over 400 people had made a promise to make a change for the sake of our planet. Of course, making the promise is just the first step. The challenge now is to hold ourselves and others to the promises we have made.
In the UK last summer, the Kindness Rocks Project was just starting to take off. People were decorating rocks with colourful pictures and kind messages in order to spread a bit of happiness. My children and their cousins loved going out in the park and searching for these beautifully decorated rocks. The previous summer it was Pokémon Go that got children (and adults) outside on a different kind of scavenger hunt. I started to think about how we could use these ideas to spread the word about protecting the environment and get more children out in nature. After a lot of discussions with the eco committee, the idea of Taipei Rocks was born. During this term at school, the students in the French Section have painted their own rocks with very special eco messages to try to promote environmental awareness within our community. They have started placing them in parks around Taipei and beyond to get these important messages out to the community. At the same time, we are also developing a game-based aspect to this project. It is our hope that we can inspire other people to create rocks with their own messages and then join our students in the great scavenger hunt to be the greatest rock finder in Taipei.