Establishing a Sustainable Plan for Sustainability
Fortuna Testa, a primary school teacher in Naples, has made sustainability a priority in her classroom. She participated in our Teach Sustainability for Action MOOC where she says she had an opportunity to put into action some ideas she had in her mind already. She established a garden after her students expressed an interest in maintaining one. Now, her students water and maintain the garden every day; learning about sustainability and the actionable items they can take every day.
Fortuna Testa is a primary school teacher in Naples who teaches mathematics, technology, geography and science. After participating in eight European Schoolnet Academy courses and being a Scientix Ambassador for a few months, joining the recently completed Teaching Sustainability for Action MOOC gave her actionable items to implement in her classroom to match her passion for sustainability.
“Taking part in this MOOC was an opportunity to put on paper a design idea that had been flashing in my mind for some time”, she adds.
She says that teaching her students about sustainability is something that happens every day in her classroom. But, she adds, “I felt the need to do something more concrete both as a teacher and as a citizen of the world and I felt that my students were ready for the next step”.
It all started when her students participated in and won, the Ora Di Futuro contest. They were asked to create their ideal version of the future. “The children imagined an eco-sustainable city and rebuilt it on Minecraft” Testa described.
After winning the competition brought them to a Senate session where they presented the project, they requested that the company sponsoring the contest assist them in creating their own green space that they are responsible for taking care of. Testa was also impressed by their request, adding, “As an educator, mother, teacher and supporter of our planet I could not fail to satisfy this request of theirs”.
So, after the help of the sponsoring company and some parents: the garden got started. While students were also thrilled that they had a green space to take care of, Testa adds that this also made them feel listened to and that their actions can impact them.
“They understood that they too can make a difference; indeed, that change starts with today’s small gestures which will be great tomorrow’s actions”
So, every day during snack time, the kids head out to the garden with their watering cans to water the plants and pull out the weeds. Testa says that sometimes they read books in the garden, while they just play and enjoy their own green space.
They are also reaping the benefits of their garden: once the vegetables have grown, they pick them to create their own tasty snacks. Their very first snack was a pizza stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese. They hope to be able to enjoy their cherry tomatoes as their next snack.
But while they are having fun, students are also learning crucial lessons about sustainability and what it means to be a good citizen.
The garden helped them to understand that increasing the green space reduces the emission of gas; that the collection, recycling, care and management of public and private spaces make them aware citizens and that everyone’s role is fundamental for the good result of everything, she said.
Testa said she did not find it hard to introduce concepts about sustainability to her students, even though they are young. She says her goal was to show them small, actionable steps that they can take every day, instead of viewing sustainable actions as “extraordinary exceptions”. She explains, “Education and respect for the environment cannot take place overnight but is part of a path of conscious growth”.
I wanted to give the right value to even the simplest actions that my little citizens are learning to perform every day.
Would you also like to participate in the courses and projects offered by the European Schoolnet Academy? Consult our autumn catalogue and choose the course that suits you!