What is sustainability
It is hard to define sustainability. Many people still think it is only related to recycling, having a vegetable garden and consuming water consciously. Others already know one of its most classical definitions: “ providing for the needs of present generations, without compromising the possibility of satisfaction of the needs of future generations”.
For us, “sustainability” is even more complex, broader and more systemic than that and is not restricted to the environmental dimension. It is the balance between beings, their relations and the environment they belong to. As a school, we want to be a sustainable educational space, we want the people of our community to be happy, healthy and with good life standards; we want to promote significant and sustainable actions; and focus on maintaining a harmonious and balanced environment.
The last decades experienced paradigm shifts and the social environmental agenda has won more relevance and space in big leaders’ discussions, as well as institutions and society as a whole. We know of the huge potential and the importance of education and the schools in this context, and therefore Builders has always had sustainability as one of its main values.
Sustainable Builders Program
“Sustainable Builders” is a program designed to engage the whole school community: all teachers, students, staff and families in issues related to well being and social-environmental responsibility. This means being in peace and balance with oneself, with others and with the environment.
As a school, we aim at producing knowledge, providing for the basic needs of children’s development and fostering citizenship. Our educational project is in permanent transformation, the pedagogical consultants promote constant reflection and we are updated with the latest trends in education for sustainability.
As a company, we aim to be “for the world” and not “from the world”. So, we provide the staff with good working conditions and opportunities for professional and personal growth. We often invest in new equipment and upgrades in the facilities, as well as in ongoing training for the staff, because the quality of the pedagogical practice depends on their competence and compromise. We stimulate commitment towards work and active cooperation in the search for solutions through staff committees. We offer fair payment and recognize conflict as a promoter of personal growth. Besides, we strive to analyze our management processes and enhance our commitment with social responsibility and sustainable development. At Builders, we follow ethical relationship standards with our employees, clients, suppliers and shareholders, with the community, the government and the environment.
Projects and Infrastructure
Since very early students are in contact with sustainable practices in their routine, activities and projects. They take care of the garden, reuse materials in their work and play, separate their residues, compost leftover food, use water and energy consciously and take care of the school spaces.
We have many other projects that value the wellbeing of each individual, as well as the sustainability of our relations, for example our “It’s OK to Be Different day”, a special day to value and promote diversity, respect for others and to practice the art of being happy with the beauty of others. Besides the work with students, our staff is engaged in several initiatives, like exchange fairs, workshops, meetings and lectures for the constant development of our educators, so that they are true leaders of transformation and change in our school and outside of it.
We use the principles of the Earth Charter as a guide to every work carried out at school, as well as fulfill our commitment with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
We partnered up with Reconectta, a social business specialized in environmental education for sustainability that renders consulting services to many actions designed and planned to involve the whole Builders community, parents, staff and students. An environmental engineer is at school weekly to plan actions with the team.
One of our main principles and objectives is to cause as little environmental impact as possible. So, we invest in infrastructure that respects the environment.
We were pioneers in the selective collection of recyclable materials and aim at being a ZERO WASTE SCHOOL.
What we have at school:
– Selective collection of recyclable waste;
– Composting of our organic residues;
– Collection of rainwater;
– Collection of used batteries;
– Automatic faucets;
– Ample windows in all spaces,, making less use of energy and more of natural light;
– Collection and recycling of pencils, pens, steel sponge, toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes.
– Solarium and rooftop terrace: spaces used as a meeting point and a model of inspiration of well-being and sustainability.
The solarium and rooftop terraces are very special places in our school. They are located on the top floors of the building, in the open air. They hold the vegetable garden, composters and a lot of green. They are pleasant spaces, where everyone can sit back, relax and enjoy moments in contact with nature.
All groups have a fixed schedule to go to the solarium, and are responsible for taking care of the space: to plant, water and harvest greens, vegetables and fruits, as well as to send organic leftovers from the kitchen to the composters. By learning how to take care of nature, they learn how to take care of themselves.
Besides this, students do several other activities in these spaces, like the weekly sustainability workshops. Students have picnics, try new food, draw, dance, rest, socialize. Just by being in that environment, one can feel peace and tranquility.
Builders is a bilingual Preschool and Elementary School whose mission is to form conscious citizens, prepared for the world’s challenges. It recognizes its important role in society and in the country’s education, and understands the impact it causes on the environment, mainly concerning the use of natural resources. To us, a sustainable organization is one that searches balance and harmony among people, the relations between them, and the environment. So, we declare our Sustainability Policy, with the commitment of its board of leaders. It is aligned with its pedagogical political program and the present regulations.
The principles that guide our activities and are part of our daily practices and routine are:
To form people who are agents of social-environmental transformation both in and out of the school, through knowledge, awareness and action.
To minimize and prevent the impacts on our environment, reducing the use of natural resources.
To keep a healthy environment, in contact with nature, promoting everyone’s well being.
To promote diversity, discussion and group creation and participation, as well as to incentivate innovations and protagonism of all school community.
To guarantee the continuity, permanence and constant update and development of our program of sustainability, its plans, actions and projects.