Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that helps school communities develop both ecological literacy and environmental practices to become environmentally responsible citizens and reduce the environmental footprint of schools.
The key areas of focus and achievement are: Teamwork & Leadership, Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening and Curriculum, and Environmental Stewardship.
Schools may use the program free of charge and are encouraged to implement the program at their own pace. All of the program guides and curriculum resources are available to download from this website.
Schools may apply to be certified as an EcoSchool through an annual certification process which assesses and recognizes accomplishments awarding points in each of the six key areas. More about certification can be found here.
Six areas of focus in the EcoSchools program
Ontario EcoSchools is a means to implement the recommendations of the Bondar report and the actions required in the Environmental Education Policy Framework. More about how the EcoSchools program is aligned with the Policy Framework can be found here.
Ontario EcoSchools was created in 2002 by a consortium of education stakeholders to address environmental issues in the formal education system. Seven school boards, York University, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority collaborated to adapt and expand on the work of the Toronto District School Board, developing an environmental education program that can be used province-wide. This consortium became the Ontario EcoSchools Steering Committee and meets regularly to provide oversight and overall direction for the program.
VisionEvery School an EcoSchool: All students and staff in Ontario schools will be engaged in environmental education and environmentally responsible practices, developing the knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices they need to be active, environmentally responsible citizens.
- Supports student-centred learning and action within the student’s sphere of influence
- Provides engaging resources to develop ecological literacy
- Ongoing development of resources and support that progressively improve environmental learning and school operations
- Annual revision of certification program
- Committed to transparency and integrity through the certification program.
- Sharing best practices, lessons learned and data gathered to inform environmental education
- Provide resources and support for school boards and schools to develop capacity to deliver, support and implement sustainable environmental education initiatives