Flora for School 2023
A project for a greener school
“Flora for School” is a bilingual project that the 4B at the European Primary School worked on over the course of three months. Our project combined critical thinking about sustainability and the environment with creative writing, artistic expression, and political activism. We took the topic of a sustainable future and applied it to our personal surroundings, our everyday experience, and our potential to create a lasting legacy.
We started our project by thinking about how the entrance of our school looks and how it makes us feel. The front of our school is the first thing we see each morning when we start our school day and yet we all agreed that it looks grey, dirty, and boring. Such a drab scene makes us feel sad and unmotivated. Thus came the idea to make our school more beautiful with plants. Since our class is a certified Nature Class we reasoned that natural greenery would be both attractive and good for the environment.
For the next step of our project, we drew our plans for greenery onto a photo of our school entrance. We looked at examples of buildings in Vienna with plants for inspiration and talked about what kind of plants grow best on walls and fences. We then used these sketches to design a large collaborative painting. With help from our daycare group leader, we made our own canvas, drew an outline of our school entrance, and used acrylics to paint flora for our school.
After visualizing our ideas for greenery, we set out to write letters to our district managers about why we want plants for our school. We learned about what makes a good persuasive argument and how to structure a formal letter. As we are a European Primary school, some kids wrote their letters in English and some in German. It took us several lessons to brainstorm and practice formulating reasons and examples to support our opinions and then write first, second, and final drafts of our letters. We wrote about how plants are good for balancing CO2 levels, providing shade in summer, and attracting bees and other insects. We also reasoned that seeing beautiful vines and flowers at our school entrance would make kids happy to enter school and could even attract more students.
Our project took a politically activist turn when we presented our letters and art to the Bezirksvorstehung in the seventh district. On April 26th, we met with the district managers and shared our project. We had combined our letters and drawings into a comprehensive book, and we demonstrated how beautiful our school would be with more greenery by showing our large painting.
Finally, we used our class tablet to create a digital presentation of our project. We made an E-Book with our letters, drawings, and painting and a video with all the stages of our project. The children used the iPad app Keynote to put photos of their finished letters and drawings into an E-Book. They recorded themselves reading their letters and added music to the final presentation.
In all these different ways, the 4B learned, contemplated, created, and campaigned for an environmentally friendly future. Our project shows how starting small and thinking local can have a long-lasting global effect on improving the conditions for future generations.