Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Earth Week: What is Sustainability?

Often people will ask that very question: What is sustainability?  Other times people will assume that it's helping the environment, pure and simple. But the reality is that it's much more complex than that. This past week - Earth Week - we had the pleasure of welcoming Kate O'Connell (Compass Education), an elementary school teacher who uses tools whose focus is education for sustainability, to conduct a workshop for 14 of our ES teachers. 

The premise is that sustainability is essentially the interplay of different elements - in this case Nature, Economy, Society and Wellbeing (N,E,S and W) - in a systematic manner. Much of what Compass Education focuses on is the analysis of issues, trends, behaviors, etc., through the four compass points of sustainability (the N, E, S, and W) followed by the critical thinking required to determine cause-effect relationships and systems thinking. This is very similar to the ESD dimensions that we utilize at ISKL. 

What does all this have to do with our children?  Well, at ISKL many of our conversations revolving around critical thinking, ethical living, problem solving, etc., are geared around those types of sustainable thought processes. Children as young as three or four can understand the concept of cause and effect. Even before the can write they know that a seed, soil, water and sunshine can result in a beautiful plant and that can, in turn, provide seeds for future generations. Just this week, for example, our PS students just enjoyed the organic cucumbers they planted a while back!  But similar learning takes place across the entire school at developmentally appropriate levels.  

During Earth Week - and throughout the year - our classrooms conversations revolved around issues of being in the the outdoors (especially with our MS off to Malaysia Week), meat consumption (through Meatless Mondays), organic and locally produced food supply (through our very own gardens), energy, culture, human health, stress, artistic expression, culture, poverty, critical analysis of the media and a host of other meaningful educational experiences!  These are all sustainability conversations. Powerful ones.

Excellent teachers connect these conversations with sustainability thinking, add a pinch of empowerment and provide tools and processes that allow the understanding to become much, much deeper and the engagement much more meaningful. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Earth Week is Next Week!

Earth Week 2016 is upon us once again as we move into the final weeks of April. As is customary our MS faculty and students spend the week outdoors "in the wild"!  For the rest of us it's the routine with a bit of a twist. The following events might be of particular interest to parents and community members:
  • Farmer's Market & Community Recycling: Saturday, April 16 from 9:30 to 12:00 noon at the Ampang Front Parking lot. Bring your recycling and some extra cash and buy some goodies (and even eco-friendly cleaning agents)
  • Meatless Monday will take place on Monday, April 18 on both campuses. On this day we inviting the community to reduce consumption of meat in support of the planet and will not be offering beef on the menu. Chicken and fish will be available.  
  • Clothing Donations in support of the Chin Student Organization will be accepted all week (by the bussing lane and entrances of each campus)
  • ES Uniform Swap at Melawati on Wed & Thu, April 20-21 for those with children who have outgrown their uniforms and wouldn't mind swapping it for a gently used one brought in by another family. 
  • The Grade 2 Show highlighting "being green" will take place on Friday at 8:30 am in the Studio
  • Feel free to visit the garden in the Ampang administration courtyard to see the MS artwork aptly named "In Celebration of the TREE"
  • At any time feel free to "like" the Sustainable ISKL Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sustainableiskl) to keep up with all things "eco" and service related at school!
Of course, the best thing you, as parents, can do for your children is to lead by example and to have the meaningful conversations that are essential on growing up in a rapidly changing world. They say it takes a village to grow global citizens and what better an opportunity than to focus on the place we all call home. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Clothing Donations at ISKL

Melawati bin: inside Exit 6 adjacent to the field
Ampang bin: Front Parking Lot

For years we've been trying to determine the best way forward for end-of-use clothing. For the past few months a number of concerned parents, our Director of Development Mr. Charles Davis and our Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator Mr. Laurence Myers have been working on finding an on-campus solution for those families looking for a place to discard or donate clothing. 

With Earth Week just a week or so away (April 16-23) one great idea is to support the Green Council's clothing drive on the Ampang campus. The clothing donated to this initiative will be given to the Chin Students Association for the children there. The Red Hats are also rumored to be organizing a clothing drive at Melawati as well.  Then there is the ever-popular uniform swap organized by 5BW. 

For those unable to donate during Earth Week, however, we have started up a new partnership with an company named Life Line Clothing. Though they donate some clothing to charity, the majority of their work utilizes the cloth either as is or by making into other clothing items, depending on the quality of the product. Their work revolves around providing clothing to low-income markets. A portion of their proceeds go to three charitable organizations in KL. 

At ISKL we have placed two large donation bins at the following locations (pictured):
  • Ampang: At the end of the Ampang front parking lot (next to the recycling tent) 
  • Melawati: Inside the entrance of the bussing lane (exit 6) in the parking lot area adjacent to the field. 
Please feel free to support this program if you have uniforms with the ISKL logo or any clothing which you are comfortable donating. 

We hope that this will provide our community an avenue to donate their clothing either for the benefit of our community (as in the clothing swap), local community organizations (such as the Green Council or Red Hats initiatives) or for on-going support in regions where affordable clothing is necessary. 

Thank you for your continued support of sustainable practices and keeping useful things from the landfill.