Madrid, Spain: The Kindergarten Starters is a GEMS Education run Primary school in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates catering to 5400 students between the ages of 4 and 11. It follows a bespoke curriculum and has recently gained much public recognition from the introduction of a Climate Literacy Curriculum.
The recognition has come at a time when Climate Action is being advocated in the fight against Climate Change. Our journey of transformative teaching to embed climate literacy began with the Principal, Asha Alexander reading about a GEMS teacher having become the first Climate Change teacher certified by UNCC in the UAE. This set her down the path of acquiring the certification herself in order to evaluate the course content and the ability to introduce the same to her staff.
Having successfully completed the 5 mandatory courses and having become the first Principal in the UAE to become a UN accredited climate change teacher, this led her to introduce the courses to her staff. In a matter of weeks in July and August of 2019, all the 327 staff members in her school became UN accredited climate change teachers and they began to onboard parent governors as well. At the end of that phase The Kindergarten Starters became the first school in the world to have a UN certified Climate Change teacher in every one of its 162 classrooms.
This also included the world’s first Arabic teacher to qualify. The school now had the opportunity to introduce this learning for students and they undertook the task of mapping the objectives to those in the curriculum enabling every students from the Early Years to Grade 5 to access the Climate Literacy Curriculum. The courses had equipped every teacher to deliver lessons on climate change covering topics that included Cities and Climate Change, Human Health and Climate Change, Children and Climate Change, Gender and Environment and much more.
By enabling students to access this curriculum every day helped in the transformation of students, parent and teacher understanding and behavior. The school not only introduced planned lessons in climate literacy but gave students the opportunity to exercise climate action.
One of the projects that has now gone global was the “Plant A Legacy #PAL initiative” Students began planting trees in their campus during the summer and then it moved to the school committing to plant 15,000 trees each year in the UAE. Every student, teacher, ancillary staff member and parent planted trees and the numbers soared by the day.
This brought the attention of eduCCate Global who along with UNCC were making these courses available to the world. They were convinced that something special was happening in the midst of the desert- a new oasis of learning was forming. A team of delegates from the Hammersmith and Fulham Sovereign Borough Council accompanied by Melanie Harwood and members of eduCCate Global and the Guardian Visual Features Team went over to Dubai to carry the template of Kindergarten Starters back to UK and then to the world.
The week-long visit of vesting lessons and interchanging ideas has seen the growth of a partnership of collaboration that has been unprecedented with 52 GEMS schools and 46 Schools from this prestigious UK
Borough benefiting from the exchange. The Climate Conference hosted by The Kindergarten Starters brought the idea of introducing climate literacy to all schools in the UAE with the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director Genral of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dr. Abdulla Al Karam expressing his desire that this spread throughout the region. The GEMS CEO Dino Varkey has already given Asha Alexander, the Principal of the school the mandate to have climate literacy embedded in all of the GEMS schools in the UAE and across the world.
This further garnered the support of the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO) who were eager to work with eduCCate Global and GEMS education to take this template across to all schools in the region. This was followed by a visit to the school by Dr. Eesa Bastaki , University of Dubai, President &CEO and Chairman of WGEO Academia Platform and members of WGEO as well as the Executive Director of EduCCate Global- Anthony Headlam to look at how the climate literacy curriculum can be introduced in all schools across the region. The sustainability arm of the HSBC in the UAE is also staunchly supporting this alliance and it is all set to gain momentum not only in the UAE but worldwide.
Children striking for Climate Action is one way for the youth to take action but a sounder solution as another generation grows up in front of our eyes, is to educate every child about climate literacy in every school, every country , everywhere in the world.
About eduCCate Global
eduCCate Global is a joint partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to develop and deliver a Climate Change Education Program and UN Accredited Climate Change Teacher to every school worldwide. eduCCate Global launched in April 2018 and is now active in over 11,000 schools worldwide, and more than 11,000 teachers currently in training globally.
Please contact Tim Collins of eduCCate Global at tim@eduCCateGlobal.org for comment, enquires or to arrange an interview about this press release.