Friday, September 17, 2010

Whole school models


Canadian Sustainability Curriculum Review Initiative

Our Themes:

  • Peace and Human Security
  • Water
  • Human Health and the Environment
  • Climate Change
  • Economics and Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems
  • Governance, Citizenship, and Community
  • Energy
  • Sustainable Urbanization and Transportation
  • Biodiversity
  • Indigenous and Local Knowledge
  • Food & Agriculture

    Whole School Models

    Education for Sustainable Development Schools use sustainability as an integrating context for teaching and learning, decision-making, civic engagement, community partnerships, and campus practices. Transforming the operations, the physical surroundings, the curriculum, and extra-curricular activities of a school fosters the creation of responsible citizens. The application of sustainability principles across the entire range of decision making helps the community develops the knowledge, skills and values necessary to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.
    The first ESD Lighthouse School project was implemented at Stouffville District Secondary School in 2006. To find out more information on this project, click here.

    Defining an ESD School:

    • Organization: Decision-making procedures focused on sustainability, not just efficiency
    • Operations: Running a school in a sustainable manner, reflected in the mission statement and school improvement plans
    • Physical Surroundings: Contributions from the building and surrounding areas to the goals of a sustainable community
    • Curriculum: Curricula expectations and instructional strategies facilitate ESD learning
    • Extra-Curricular Activities: Resources devoted to helping students make positive change in their communities

     LSF's Role in an ESD School:

    • Engaging/ motivating staff, students, administration and the school community
    • Facilitating collaborative decision-making
    • Enhancing teacher development through extensive relationship building and modelling
    • Creating opportunities for meaningful action projects
    • Measuring and documenting impacts and outcomes

    Outcomes of an ESD School:

    • Support opportunities for students to engage in sustainability projects
    • Enhanced and diverse learning opportunities
    • Authentic experiences and action-based learning
    • Improved educational outcomes
    • Developing informed citizens for future success
    • Cultivate skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to create positive changes in the school and/or community


    Belfountain Public School

    Learning for “head, heart and hands”; using our local built and natural environment

    Belfountain Public School is a Peel District School Board facility.  It is located in the Caledon village of Belfountain, Ontario, in the heart of the Niagara Escarpment.  THe ECO focus initiative came about as a result of advocacy from the community to incorporate a larger component of ecological/environmental education in the school program.  In response, the school developed a pilot program in, which resulted in the rest of the staff agreeing to adopt a school-wide focus the following year.

    The goal of the program is for students to become active citizens engaged in their community with an awareness of their role in the local environment. The project has received the help of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation Professional Development program supported by the Ministry of Education, Learning for a Sustainable Future and Antioch New England Co-Seed Project.
    The focus on head, heart and hands at Belfountain P.S. addresses thinking and understanding, emotions and relations with others, and the skills needed to actively participate in the world as engaged citizens.The professional experience and understanding of learning leads to organizing learning that is experiential and active, student-centred and holistic in scope. To learn more, please click here.


    • Find learning opportunities in the local community.
    • Form learning partnerships with organizations in the community that allow students and organizations to mutually benefit from the relationship.
    • Take advantage of the interdisciplinary/subject integration opportunities that real –world based learning provides. 
    • Teach specific skills and competencies identified in the curriculum in the context of learning projects.

    Key Learning Strategies

    Teachers at Belfountain P.S. use many strategies or tools in planning learning.  Described here are those that are most relevant to the goals of educating for head, heart and hands.
    • Using local learning opportunities –Place-based learning

    • Integration

    • Inquiry

    • Peer Teaching

    • Action Learning/Service Learning

    • Celebrations/Reflections

    • Self-Evaluation and Reflection