A group of colleagues form the 3rd sub-project (Development of Education Programs for Ecoschools) of the SROP 3.1.1. Program, pedagogical developer Éva NEUMAYER, junior pedagogical developer Szilvia VERÉB and pedagogical developer Erika SALY spent 5 days in November 2014 studying the Norwegian system of education for sustainability.
According to the group, the Norwegian focus is equally strong on environmental and social sustainability, which means providing quality services for the high number of immigrants and teaching tolerance from a young age. During their stay, they visited schools, kindergartens, and other educational institutions, civil organisations, community gardens and a home for the elderly.
They have visited the Tøyen Elementary School, where 85% of students are immigrants, who receive Norwegian language classes in order to master the state language, but linguistic diversity is also encouraged through the multilingual website of the school. They collect waste selectively, and use waste paper for heating.
In Linderud Elementary School, integration of immigrants is enhanced though close cooperation with parents. The school offers afternoon activities for the whole family: joint learning with their children, sport activities, ICT training and a school garden program.
The Forestry Extension Institute aims at teaching about forestry and related topics. They are in a partnership with scientific institutions and forestry organisations. They hold trainings about various aspects of forestry such as historical facts, the use of wood in architecture, in the making of musical instruments, or the importance of the forest in various cultures. They have an open-air classroom with wood toys.
The focus of activities is sustainable, safe and competitive use of energy at the Inland Norway Energy Agency, an autonomous, non-profit organisation. They aim at decreasing the carbon-dioxide emission, and their activities are targeted at companies, households, businesses, industry, forestry, agriculture, children and youngsters alike. With their campaigns and interactive conferences, they raise awareness about the environment and energy use.
Children in the Haugen kindergarten care for the garden together with the students of the neighbouring school. They learn to prepare their own food, and how to dispose of waste selectively.
Parts of Geitmyra community garden are cultivated by families, and other parts by schools. It has a greenhouse, a presentation area, a community area and a poultry house. The whole area is being cultivated without chemicals. Pupils can thus learn the basics of ecological farming in practice, while doing real work in the garden. Gamblebyen community garden was born from the cooperation of the school, local disadvantaged youth, the episcopate and the local social institution. Their programs include gardening, recycling and joint activities with people from different generations and/or cultures.
Kompass&Co’s objective is to support disadvantaged youth, a tool of which is joining the school gardens program.
Organisation Mangfold i Arbeidslivet organises Norwegian courses for immigrants, and supports them in their process of integration and finding a job. They have developed a storybook with tales about the topic of integration and acceptance, which parents can work through with their children.
The project of the Norwegian Red Cross assists students with difficulties up to age 22 with their learning. Mentors are volunteers, who receive training with some moduls on pedagogy, and agree to spend at least one afternoon per week at the place for one year. Volunteers are both youngsters who can improve their CV by this activity, and elderly people, who can thus remain active members of society.
SoCentral House provides areas for lease for civil organisations, small businesses, music bands and other community organisations. The greatest advantage of this initiative is cooperation: these organisations become connected to each other.
Grefsenhjemmet House for the Elderly aims at involving families in the life of their elderly relatives by providing a „family box” with board games, cards, CDs so that family members don’t just quickly visit, but actually spend quality time with their relatives. They also invite family members for their programs (concerts, afternoon teas). Within the frames of another program, mothers come in with their infants, and people from the House can hold them. Due to cooperation with the neighbouring kindergarten, children often come to visit, thus creating a long-term bond with the elderly people.
The Foundation for Environmental Education is responsible for the system of environmental education, ecoschools and ecological qualification in Norway. Criteria for becoming an eco-school are: 1. involving partners, especially students, 2. taking a survey of the environmental state of the school, 3. creating an action plan, 4. monitoring, evaluation, 5. finding points of connection with the curriculum, 6. information and involvement, 7. formulating an eco-mission. Schools can apply every year for the eco-school title by creating and carrying out action plans every year. Currently, some 500 Norwegian schools are part of the network.