Inspiring commitment to environmental care from an early age
The promotion of environmental care projects and healthy habits is the focus of the educational program of the CEIP Mestre Rodríguez Xixirei School, located in Santiago de Compostela, capital of the Spanish autonomous community of Galicia.
With a current enrollment of 164 children, the school encourages healthy eating through natural products, physical exercise and participation in sporting events, which also contributes to promoting team spirit. For the past decade, the care for its own gardens has thus become one of the essential activities of the students of the primary school, together with their families and the local community.
The perseverance, experience and research acquired over the years, have facilitated the growth of the habitat in and surrounding the pond established in the school premises. Furthermore, a provincial award granted by the Voz Natura program three years ago, allowed for the addition of a greenhouse.
In 2016, the CEIP Mestre Rodríguez Xixirei also received several awards during the first “Recycling at school is awarded” campaign, included in the Tropa Verde program, an innovative technological project launched in May 2015.
The school is among those that have the most experience linked to all sorts of activities that aim to raise public awareness about issues such as reducing the use of plastic, creating green spaces with pollen stations, reforestation and the planting of native species.
The construction of a tree nursery, the cleaning of beaches and rivers, the planting of aromatic and medicinal plants, the opening of a “green corner” with books, recycled crafts and toys, and the dissemination of local heritage, also stand out among the efforts.
Schoolchildren are responsible for the eradication of invasive species, the protection of their natural spaces, as well as research and experimentation to benefit the flora and fauna that surrounds them.
Energy awareness is another of the values instilled in students. Grouped in eco-brigades or eco-patrols, schoolchildren take turns checking that all the lights are switched off in empty classrooms and rooms during recess, and are responsible for cleaning the space and its surroundings.
Strategies are also promoted to manage and reduce waste, as part of the school composting project, whose objective is that children understand that organic scraps and waste are biodegradable and that properly separated, they can produce natural fertilizer, to partially or totally substitute chemical products.
The compost produced is used both in the vertical gardens and in the orchard and, in this way, different subjects of the school curriculum are integrated, while students are brought closer to topics such as food safety, agricultural work, responsible consumption, circular economy, among others.
The idea was one of those selected for the “Recycle with Sogama” campaign, an environmental education initiative aimed at teaching students about the proper management of garbage through three basic rules: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Currently, environmental problems are considered critical and, in many cases, irreversible. Therefore, the education that children receive at the CEIP Mestre Rodríguez Xixirei promotes commitment, knowledge and skills aimed at prevention, responsible management and a lifestyle more in line with the ecosystem.