be.Living

Training in Sustainability

We are living through a very precarious and chaotic time in the world, a time of great transformations and major crises. The reality that is emerging – whether through climate emergency, wars, pandemics, intolerance, or social inequality – calls upon each of us to change the way we think, act, and live together on this planet that is home to all.

As a school, we believe in the transformative potential of education combined with the potential of the children themselves. When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want for their future, we believe that this cannot be a rhetorical question. We understand that this better world we envision will be built by the hands of those who are among us today – our children – learning through experiences great and small, full of meaning and transformational power.

Within our pedagogical project, sustainability is a fundamental concept with a broad meaning and is present both in our pedagogical practices and in the management of the school itself. In order to provide an essential, immersive, broad, and effective training in sustainability, we engage in a continuous training process with our educators and the entire be.Living staff.

“It’s important that teachers have all the knowledge they need to work with children on these complex issues. It’s also essential that they have a space for discussion and dialogue so that they themselves can raise questions that arise in the context of the school. The idea of sustainability training is to give educators autonomy and a critical approach so that they feel safe to work on this topic with children, and to help create a school culture where sustainability is always present and pervades all the school’s projects and actions,” says Livia Ribeiro, environmental engineer at Reconectta and consultant to be.Living on sustainability issues.

Livia explains that joint training sessions for both kindergarten and primary school teachers take place two or three times a year. According to Livia, the topics are brought up based on the needs of the team itself, as well as what Reconectta itself considers important to work on at the moment. “Over the years, we have worked on a variety of topics. This year, for example, we held the training ‘Eco-anxiety and Active Hope’ with the intention of promoting active hope in the school. We’ve already held training sessions on the climate emergency and on children’s relationship with nature, and we’ve talked about the importance of environmental education. In the past, we would hold training sessions on more basic sustainability issues, such as vegetable gardens, waste, and composting.”

In addition to collective training, there is also continuing education through consulting. “Once a month, we have one-on-one meetings with teachers to look at what they are working on and think about how sustainability can be integrated into their work.”

It’s important to note that in addition to teachers, the kitchen, cleaning, and administrative teams also participate in annual sustainability training. “It’s essential that everyone in the school is involved in this training process, not only because it’s a core value of be.Living, but also because we’re all citizens of the world and this reality affects everyone. This is an extremely current and relevant issue, and it’s important for us to know what’s happening, the reasons why it’s happening, and how each of us can contribute proactively to solving these problems,” comments Livia.

According to the environmental engineer, a sustainable school is one that has a curriculum that transforms, a management that unites, people who care about each other, a conscious relationship with the world, and a space that reflects all these values in terms of sustainability. “We can see that all these aspects of sustainability are very much applied and lived at be.Living. There is a curriculum that addresses sustainability across the board, in all areas of knowledge and projects. We also see that, as a space, be.Living takes sustainability into account in the school’s water consumption, rainwater harvesting, vegetable garden, food production, composting, waste separation, as well as in the implementation of Meatless Monday, which raises awareness of the impact of food on the climate, since meatless eating is a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So there’s an awareness of the impact we have as a school and how we can minimize that impact and reduce our carbon footprint.”

Livia adds that sustainability is not just about the environment; taking care of oneself and others is part of a broader sustainability. “Sustainability cannot be achieved in a society where people don’t take care of themselves, don’t have good health and well-being, and don’t have good relationships with each other. These are things we strongly encourage at be.Living through yoga, mindfulness, and nutrition, which is not only about health and individual care, but also about the relationships we build over meals together. be.Living’s management that unites includes a culture of welcoming and listening to people through building relationships with families, through the way it communicates, and through the overall running of the school. And then there’s the relationship of the school with the world. I always say that the world is in the school and the school is in the world. The school has the responsibility to introduce these considerations and values, since it’s a space where critical thinking and collective solutions abound, and where autonomous and conscientious people are formed, who will make decisions based on everything they’ve learned and experienced here at school. Through the training sessions, we seek to strengthen and fully support this pillar, which we believe is an essential part of be.Living’s educational offering.”

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