In the vicinity of a school of South Africa, where students grow cabbages, mix compost, and climb trees, the sound of singing birds muffles the sounds of passing cars. The goal of South Africa first “green school” is to develop a new generation of environmentally conscious citizens while encouraging kids’ creativity and adaptability to climate change.
Alba Brandt, the initiative’s founder, claimed that she had the idea for the project in 2017 after spending six months at a related project in Bali, Indonesia, as part of what was meant to be a family vacation with her husband and three daughters. The 44-year-old ex-accountant spoke while donning a pair of Bermuda shorts, a coral sweatshirt, and a loose bun in her hair.
“It changed our whole lives,” she said. At the school, which is around 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Cape Town, she said, “I realized there was so much more to education than to sit still, in your uniform, be quiet, and regurgitate what is written on the blackboard.” This institute is located in a privileged area of the country that is abundant in vineyards and plant life, unlike the majority of South Africa schools, which force students to wear uniforms.
– Basil And Butterflies
The school, which began operations last year, was constructed on what Brandt described as “dead, trampled” terrain in a former horse pasture.
“We began planting with endemic plants and without chemicals two years ago. Butterfly and bee populations increased, as well as porcupines. On hot southern spring days, snakes are also known to lurk in some shrubs where kids are aware they shouldn’t play. On the school grounds, there are swing sets, huts, and sandboxes, and the canteen’s zero-waste kitchen only offers vegetarian options for meals. When AFP visited, the menu had three distinct salads that were topped with garden-fresh basil. Large windows in classrooms provide lots of natural light.
Electricity is generated by solar panels, while air conditioning is provided through a network of water pipes under the floor. There are now roughly 170 students registered in the school, which serves all grade levels from nursery school to secondary. There are just twenty students in each class and two teachers.
In South Africa Teaching is conducted in both English and Afrikaans, reflecting the demographics of the region, and it has a thematic approach with topics covered in all subjects. For instance, consider life on Mars, suggested principal Andrew Wood. We’ll talk about arithmetic, astronomy, gravity in physics, and science fiction literature, he said.
“What they are learning ought to make sense?”
The 62-year-old educator claimed that the “Green School” does not focus on “downloading contents” into students’ minds, but rather encourages them to “think critically” in keeping with 21st-century learning abilities.
Esbie Binedell, South Africa’s a primary school teacher, laughed and remarked, “This is how I used to teach behind closed doors at my old school. Now I can share with parents.” “It’s a little messy, but we would delve into a subject until the kids finished asking questions.”
There are a lot of fees, and the government doesn’t fund anything. Although it will take time, a scholarship system is being created. Brandt expressed her hope that the school’s instruction would contribute to building a more resilient neighbourhood. The creator of the school claimed that being “the quirky mum who recycles and makes homemade food” was insufficient.
“You can drive that by yourself, but it’s difficult and probably won’t work. In South Africa Community is considerably more robust now. Teachers choose to use a light touch while teaching the effects of global warming despite the environmental focus. We introduce issues very gradually in order to prevent worry and ecophobia. Primarily with older children. Progressively, we start with issues the size of a hamlet, then a town, and finally an entire nation,” Brandt stated.
With its unique teaching methods and progressive mission, the green school prioritizes giving students the skills to think critically while also nurturing their creativity.