It is the children of today who, tomorrow, will face the consequences of the current environmental issues. OneAction wishes to modestly contribute to handing them over a healthier planet, and to equip them with the tools to become actors of sustainable development in order for them to address the challenges that they will encounter. Through the development of pedagogical gardens in schools, OneAction accompanies them in the realization of their connection with nature and provides them with the opportunity to experience it firsthand.
"The use of a pedagogical garden as a tool of child development within the school has never been so widespread and recommended as today; because it has become urgent to forge "ecocitizenship" without which there would most likely be no future for humanity. (Joëlle Zask - free translation)
Education, Empowerment, Environment
1 year per school
More than 120 students annually
Depends on the number of partner schools and participants
GreenAction was born out of two main observations.
Children spend a significant portion of their time inside, in the city or in front of a screen, even though connecting with nature is one of the essential elements of a child's development. Research studies expose a link between this disconnection and numerous ailments such as hyperactivity, attention deficiency and obesity, while on the contrary, interacting with their natural environment tends to improve children's concentration, self-esteem and creativity.
Moreover, local authorities, school directors and teachers in Switzerland have expressed the wish to carry out sustainable development programmes and to offer comprehensive environmental education activities to students. However, schools often don't possess sufficient know-how, resources and tools to implement such activities over the long term.
To address these issues, OneAction launched GreenAction to support schools in the implementation of pedagogical gardens by providing them with the necessary tools to manage the garden sustainably.
During the school year 2015 - 2016, OneAction conducted a pilot project for GreenAction in partnership with La Côte International School in Aubonne with the objective of promoting sustainable development projects within the school. The various environmental and social initiatives carried out by the students enabled them to considerably reduce food waste within the school and to create a pedagogical garden. During this pilot year, we noted that teachers and students prioritized the creation of the garden. Therefore, GreenAction is now specializing in the development of these pedagogical gardens.
Throughout the school year 2017 - 2018 OneAction is working in partnership with Institut Florimont and École Moderne to help them set up GreenAction within their institution.
GreenAction offers schools the possibility to develop a pedagogical garden and activities linked to it. OneAction adapts to the needs of its partner schools who decide which elements of the project they wish to implement. It provides institutions with an environmental education specialist. Her role is to set up and manage a pedagogical garden in collaboration with the students throughout the year. She regularly goes to the school to share with pupils and teachers the necessary gardening tools and trainings, and conducts workshops linked with the garden. She also ensures that the project becomes self-sufficient after one year: students, teachers and school staff are equipped to take over and manage the garden over the long term.
We make sure to include students in the process from the very start of the adventure. Amongst other things, they participate in designing the garden, selecting plants, installing containers and pots, planting, harvesting and taking care of plants. Furthermore, the main goal is not to maximize the garden's yield, but rather to learn together and observe, by persevering and helping each other out, and accepting mistakes as a learning tool.
The integration of a garden in the school programme is beneficial not only for sustainable development, but also for pedagogical and educational reasons. Indeed, gardening provides the student with the possiblity to cultivate patience, perseverance, solidarity, organization and development of his or her individuality. Above all, it enables children to acquire "self-development", "self-education" and "self-governing" capacities. The well-known education specialist Maria Montessori insists on the qualities that gardening encompasses above other activities: « when the child observes that the plant dies if it doesn't receive water, he or she "starts to feel invested in a life mission" ; the latter is not dictated by the voice of his or her parents nor by the one of his or her teachers, but by the "voice of the world" ». The student is an actor and is responsible for the garden, all while extending his or her field of consciousness and developing his or her self-esteem. Additionally, while gardening shapes a child's individuality, it also fosters social skills such as cooperation and dialogue with others, when carrying out tasks in the garden.
GreenAction's pedagogical gardens thus provides students with the opportunity to contribute to addressing current environmental issues, while developing their solidarity, self-esteem and social and emotional capabilities.
- A pedagogical garden is set up within the partner school and is used as a tailor-made tool incorporating multiple elements of sustainable development;
- A viable management system is set up to guarantee the garden's sustainability over the long term;
- A tangible link is nurtured between students and nature;
- Students adopt values and behaviours linked to sustainable living;
- They develop their creativity, civic responsibility, as well as social and emotional capabilities;
- And they become actors of sustainable change.
- From the installation of pots and containers to trainings and the creation of a maintenance team for the summer, everything is taken into consideration to guarantee the functioning of the garden over the long term;
- OneAction provides a solid framework with user-friendly tools for teachers, students and school staff, in order for them to follow up and sustain the garden themselves over the long term;
- The GreenTeam, the students, the teachers, and the maintenance team continue to care for the garden throughout the years and to develop activities inspired by GreenAction. GreenAction's project supervisor remains available to offer occasional advice.
Some facts and figures about the project
- More than 200 students benefited from the pilot project in 2015 - 2016;
- 2 partner schools are participating in the project during the school year 2017 - 2018;
- More than 120 students between 4 and 12 years old and 8 teachers are involved in the project this year;
- 8 small gardens have been installed and are being cultivated;
- 15 workshops are being conducted throughout the year.