Located in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, The Booker School is an independent, non-profit preprimary to grade nine school embracing the values of the International Baccalaureate (IB). IB is an inquiry based not-for-profit educational foundation based out of Geneva, Switzerland.
International Baccalaureate Mission Statement:
“The International Baccalaureate (IB) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”
The Booker School not only embraces the IB Mission, but additionally, they embrace the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their teaching. This strong foundation in sustainability is interconnected with the Green Schools Nova Scotia program. Our relationship with The Booker School started with a virtual engagement with Mason, a keen grade four student with a particular passion for the earth and its animals. Their unit of inquiry was entitled "Sharing the Planet" and focused on the “choices we make that affect the world around us”. Our conversation began with energy use and Sweater Day and ended with a discussion about litterless lunches. Mason was highly motivated to create a bulletin board in the lunchroom on ways fellow students can protect the planet. He also made some ‘turn me off’ reminders for the light switches and talked to his fellow students to waste less energy.
I was able to visit the school just before Earth Week and the students were pumped about the earth! I talked to all the students about Earth Day and what we can do to protect our earth. The youngest students were challenged to find one way they can help the earth and make a pledge to make it a habit before next Earth Day. The Booker School is keen to reduce their ecological footprint by reducing their electricity consumption and becoming more energy efficient. The older students worked on an energy survey of the school by touring the building and brainstormed ways that to reduce power use. Not only did they celebrate Earth Week as a school, the students also shared what they were doing with their families to celebrate earth day everyday at home.
During my visit, I was able to talk to the six students who just started their six-week student-led projects related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Their topics were:
1) Solar Energy Research - a written proposal to install solar panels on the schools garage
2) Ocean Plastic Cleanup - working models and 3-D printed designs for plastic collection in our water systems
3) Reusable Bag Initiative - Boomerang Bags and a connection with other local organizations
4) Poverty, Homelessness & Stigma - raising awareness about stories of NS poverty and how to help
5) Give Your Old Bike A New Life - a bike repair workshop and how to get bikes to people who need them
6) The Water Bottle Problem - statistics and research to learn why we should cut down our use of bottled water
As part of their projects students also engaged with the greater community. One student organize a Boomerang Bag workshop in Wolfville. Participants made cloth bags and learned ways to reduce the use of plastic bag. Three of the students took part in the "Celebrate the Seed" event including a Market Supper Night at Wolfville Farmers' Market in April. Everyone they chatted with received some of the students' homemade seed paper that was made in art class. A story featuring the keen students at the Booker School was featured in the Kings County News. During the 2018 Grade 6-8 Exhibition on May 7th, students shared their sustainability-related projects with their family and friends. They shared the challenges they faced, opportunities found and their lessons learned during their journey.
Their sustainability learning journey has definitely had a strong start!