Preparing for the Environmental Audit

Taipei European School’s second step on our journey to becoming a Green Flag Eco-school is to complete a full environmental audit of the school. This process involves assessing how well we are doing in our approach to the eleven themes at present. Hopefully this process will allow us to identify areas that we need to improve, and also give us the chance to evaluate the progress that we make as we implement changes.

The TES Green Thinkers discuss how best to conduct the eco-school environmental review.

Over the last few weeks the Green Thinkers have been hard at work brainstorming how this process can be done. The whole school will be invited to take part in the audit, but first it is up to our intrepid eco-leaders to show us how this can be done.

Students and teachers share ideas on how to conduct the eco-school environmental review.

The process has been phenomenal and as teachers we have been regularly astonished by the enthusiasm and effort that the Green Thinkers have put into the brainstorms. Here is just a snippet of some of the wonderful ideas that they have been coming up with:

Energy 

“We can buy a device that tells us how much electricity is used in each room”

“We can find out how much electricity each thing uses and then record how long we turn them on for”

“Solar power is not entirely sustainable as the process to make them uses electricity, produces waste and pollution, and they don’t make that much energy”  Wow!

Waste

“So much food is wasted in the canteen. Maybe we can collect it each day and measure it to see how much waste we make each week.”

“We can find out how many bags of rubbish the school throws out each week.”

“We need to find out where does the waste from our school go, and how much is recycled.”

Global Citizenship

“We could recycle old clothes and toys and collect them for people who are not as well off as we are.”

”We could hold a bake sale and raise money for the school in Cambodia that we watched a video in class about.”

”We need to have more links to our local community and to other schools around the world so we can learn more about them.”

Litter

“We could go outside after the break time and count the pieces and type of litter that is left in the playground.”

“We could draw a map and mark places that have more litter. Then we can try to find out why more litter is dropped in some places that others.” Great thinking!

Biodiversity

“Everyday we can look outside to see how many animals we can see.”

“Maybe we can make a list and take photos of all the different trees and plants in our school.”

Water

“We can check the water bill to see how much water we use each month.”

“We could find out how many bottles of water are used in the drinking machines each week.”

School Grounds

“We could make a map of the school and see what fraction is covered by natural vs manmade materials.”

“We could take photos to compare how the school looks now and after we make some changes.”

Climate change

“We could visit the Central Weather Bureau and see records for how weather has changed in Taiwan over the last fifty years.”

Transport

“We could ask students, parents and staff about how they come to school.”

“We could see if cars and buses turn off their engines when waiting outside of school.”

“We can check to see if there is a good place for people to store bikes at school.”

Health

“We can look at, and classify, what kind of snacks are eaten at school by each class.”

“We can ask how much exercise, or time spent outside each student has a week.”

“We need to eat at least five fruit and vegetable a day, so maybe we can count how many each students eats when they are at school.”

The eco-school environmental review is now underway at TES primary school! Classes throughout the school have signed up to take part, and of course the Green Thinkers will be on the case to provide us with more insights. Watch this space to see how this process progresses!

Designing a New Play Area

Whenever we have been talking with students about the eco-school project, a hot topic of conversation has been how the school grounds could be improved. We are very fortunate to have an expansive playground here at TES, and there are an abundance of excellent facilities. However like many urban schools, we are still short on nature areas. Students have repeatedly talked about the need for quiet, shaded areas where they can enjoy and explore nature.


Adding nature areas and increasing the biodiversity of our school is a key goal.

As the eco-school project was just taking off, we were also working behind the scenes to see if we could find an area of the school that could be redesigned for this purpose. Two areas of the school were chosen, one for infants and the other for the junior school students. Teachers and students were invited to come up with ideas of how they would like these areas to look. Rough designs were drawn up, and experts invited to help flesh out the proposals.

 

Students were given the chance to voice their opinions on what the new areas should look like.

A playground design expert shows students a mock-up of what a new play area could look like.

Over the Christmas holidays the areas designated as nature areas have been cleared and cordoned off, ready for construction between now and the Easter holidays. But before this construction can begin, The Green Thinkers and their British Section counterparts have been asked to take part in the design process. This week, they met with Peter Chen from the playground design company to talk about the plans. The two eco-committees will be responsible for providing designs for many aspects of the play areas and this consultation will continue as the construction takes place.

The eco-committee students were informed of how their designs would be made into real playground structures.

Over the next two months, the playground design company will be consulting with the students so that they have a say in the overall layout and specifics of these new areas. This is an exciting project for both the students and teachers involved in the eco-school project as we start to see our ideas turn into concrete changes that will benefit all students at the school. Keep following the blog to see how this process progresses!

#taipeirocks Update

Over the TES Christmas holidays, the students set many of the Taipei Rocks away on their journeys! There are still many more rocks to be released in the coming weeks too!

One of the #taipeirocks made it as far as this famous hotel in Dubai.

So far #taipeirocks have appeared in 8 different counties within Taiwan, but have also spread over 3 continents and have visited 13 different countries! The messages are being spread far and wide. But this is just the beginning…

A student hides his #taipeirocks in a park in Tienmu, Taipei.

After the students created these amazing rocks, we asked them to take them out and hide them somewhere that they could be found by someone looking for them (or just passing by). Already some of these rocks have been found and re-hidden.

As well as being fun to find, the #taipeirocks also contain important messages.

We hope that the rocks continue their journeys (near or far) by being found by rock finders like this young boy who was delighted to find a rock in Taipei recently. So if you have some time on the weekend, why not go on a #taipeirocks hunt in a park nearby? Check out the map first, but there are already quite a few rocks in the Flora Expo Park, Tianmu Sports Park and Tianmu Park.

This Taipei Rock is feeling the cold all the way across the world in Iceland!

Let’s continue to spread these messages and share the rocks around!

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