Firstly, circularity practices are not part of Berlin schools’ regular syllabus. It is however important to raise awareness on this topic among young students as they represent our future. Secondly, most schools in Berlin are not run taking circular or sustainable practices into account. The Kreativitätsgrundschule Karlshorst is trying to change the latter.
That’s why the elementary school participated in the project “Kreislaufschule” (trans. Circular School), a collaboration of Circular Berlin, Zero Waste Your Life und Mifactori, funded by Berliner Projektfonds für kulturelle Bildung. The project’s goal was to educate the students on the topic of circularity.
For participating in this project and being eager to promote the sustainable development goals, the school was just awarded as “Umweltschule in Europa. Internationale Nachhaltigkeitsschule” (trans. Environmental school in Europe. International School of Sustainability) for 2020. The jury, consisting of different members of environmental organisations and Berlin’s political stakeholders, described the project as innovative and worth continuing.
Over the course of the past school year, from summer 2019 until spring 2020, a total of almost 300 children in Berlin-Karlshorst learned about the basics of circularity and explored how to implement corresponding practices into their own and their school’s routines.
Circular Berlin’s facilitators conducted workshops for a total of 15 individual classes, from grades one to six, exploring how to close their school’s loops for different resource flows. Each workshop included three visits to the school of four hours each. Topics covered included energy, water, transportation, plastics, textiles, glass, paper, lunch boxes, school canteen, reuse, repairing, sharing, biosphere, greenery, and the school’s surrounding neighbourhood. The workshops combined traditional instruction with interactive and creative exercises, practical experiments, and the use of digital media.
By examining their own school and finding creative ways to improve its current practices, the students learned what circularity is, how it works and how it can help to improve both their everyday life and their school’s positioning on circularity. Besides coming up with options to help their school become more circular, each group of students also created a simple campaign website per topic to share the knowledge they acquired with their peers. All the educational materials and resources created by the facilitators has been published using a creative commons licence so the workshops can easily be replicated.