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 ecological footprint of schools.
How Ontario EcoSchools started
The program was created in 2002 by a consortium of education stakeholders to address environmental issues in the formal education system. Seven school boards, the Faculty of Environmental Studies at 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.
Ontario EcoSchools' resources offer an environmental
perspective to the choices we make in operating our schools and in planning classroom
programs based on the Ontario curriculum. It consists of four components:
The leaf within each figure symbolizes thinking and acting with the environment in mind.
It also visually connects the four areas, a reminder that – as ecology teaches us – everything
is connected to everything else.
Every School an EcoSchool: All students and staff in Ontario schools will be engaged in environmental education and environmentally responsible actions, in order to develop 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