Despite the challenges that had been brought by the pandemic, the community within Sliema Primary school had still come together to reflect and put effort in developing a sustainable development project that focuses on life below water. In choosing among the 17 SDGs, students from this school took a democratic role of voting based on well-informed decisions and after a general school audit of what needs to be improved. Rather than choosing to embellish their own environment, students went beyond their interests and comfort to protect and safeguard the local waters in its marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution. Students are sensibly aware of the great threat that our sea is facing, albeit being a national drive for tourism and a symbol of cultural identity.
For this reason, the EkoSkola project had commenced with the identification and creation of an action plan with seven main targets that seek to improve the quality of life below water. Eight action plans were then developed for each year group throughout this process of student dialogue and reflection. The main targets in all action plans deal with
- exploring the ocean
- reducing the use of single-use plastic
- reusing and recycling plastic
- avoiding products which contain microbeads
- spreading the world to the external community
- supporting NGOs, and
- eating sustainable food.
Educators were free to plan and carry out different activities and lessons that are intertwined with a growing mindset approach towards a sustainable lifestyle and love for the marine ecosystems. With this project running on a span of two years, students in Sliema Primary school are benefitting from thematic and interdisciplinary learning, while being empowered to commit themselves in addressing a real-life problem through hands-on solutions. The EkoSkola project is also contextualized in the storytelling methodology of HMSS as adopted by the school.
Despite the physical restrictions, students could still appreciate each other’s work in two weekly assemblies that are presented on MS Teams. In addition, the school has also created its own online website for sharing the work with parents and other stakeholders.
The EkoSkola in Sliema Primary complements the work and activities carried out for the Dinja Waħda Project, for which the school had also been recently awarded a Gold Award. Although the EkoSkola focuses on life below water, the school also values and respects the physical natural environment, as seen in the Crazy Hair Day, organized to collect money in aid of the Foster a Forest Campaign.
Sliema Primary school is ready to embark on another collaborative project which incorporates the EkoSkola within eTwinning practices. In this way, the school is open for further collaborative activities with students and educators from other schools, whether locally or internationally. While the main focus is SDG 14 – Life Below Water, the school community is still apt for learning about new goals from other schools, and to share what has been achieved by this time, as can be seen in the following media.