Working towards the Green Flag: Eco-schools

Today is Earth Day and we want to celebrate it with our school community.
At ISD we are very proud to be working towards becoming an Eco-School. Eco-Schools ( is the international award for sustainable schools. Within the Eco-Schools programme, the approach is ‘student-led change’. The students are in the lead to make the difference. Over 51.000 schools in 64 countries are running the Eco-Schools programme. The rationale of the Eco-Schools fits perfectly with ISD’s mission: “Inspiring learning for a sustainable future’ and we are very excited to be part of this programme.

There are 7 steps our school has to take to obtain the: The Green Flag.

Three months ago, ISD primary started the Eco-School journey by forming an Eco-Team made up of students, parents, teachers and our head of school Sander Raaphorst. The official programme was then kicked off with the signing of the Letter of Intent to become an Eco-School.

There are ten Eco themes schools can choose from to focus their efforts on: Waste, Communication, Energy, Building, Greenery, Hygiene, Transport, Safety, Food and Water.

So far, the Eco-Team has been hard at work with the first three of the ten environmental reviews of our school. The students answered a questionnaire along with different classes and then put together an infographic to share the results with the school community. The results show how we score on these subjects: what are we doing well and what can we improve. From the Eco-Scan of each theme, actions have been formulated.

Energy Theme

The Energy theme: The students discovered that although most of the lights in school are energy efficient, they don’t always get switched off when the class is empty. Another insight is that the computers and smart boards are not switched off completely when not in use. The actions that have been formulated are aimed at reducing energy usage: turning off lights, computers and heating when it’s not used.

Energy Eco-scan

To stimulate less energy usage at home, students are encouraged to talk with their families about climate change. Students can become an Eco-Champ by sharing ideas that help reduce energy.

Please have a look at the great video that was made by one of our students as part of the eco review.

The Food theme: The children discovered that most students already use reusable packaging for their lunches: reusable water bottles and lunchboxes. There is also a healthy food policy in place. However, the policy does not prevent students for still eating junk food and unhealthy snacks. On the action plan students are encouraged to bring in healthy and waste free (no wrappers, cartons) lunches and snacks.

Food Eco-scan

Water Eco-scan

Another point that was brought up by the students, is that the school does not grow its own food. However, this is about to change. Hopefully, after the May holidays, PYP 6 plans to visit children’s garden de Boterbloem each week to work on their own garden plots. We may not be growing all our own food, but the students will learn how to care for their garden and grow their own fruits and vegetables!

The Water theme: What we are doing well in ISD is that we have water saving taps in our school and they are not leaking. However, the children do leave the water running sometimes. One of our actions is to stop spilling water and to turn the taps off when we finish.

We will carry on with the environmental review of the other seven themes once we come back to school. The next step will be to analyse the results to come together with an action plan to help our school community become more sustainable.

Eco Schools in ISD Secondary

Next year the secondary school will join the Eco School programme. We already have some enthusiastic teachers who would like to join and be part of the Eco-Team. Our English Teacher Ms Lemain would like to contribute to the Greenery theme. She even has an allotment with a greenhouse where she grows her own organic fruits and vegetables.

Please contact us if you would like to collaborate as an ambassador of one of the eco-themes, or would like to participate with projects, workshops or ideas.