The closing event of the project SH/4/5 “Widening the Ecoschool and Green Kindergarten Programmes in Hungary” was held in Budapest on September 19, 2016.
Between 2012 and 2016 the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development implemented project number SH/4/5 “Widening the Ecoschool and Green Kindergarten Programmes in Hungary”, which aimed to strengthen the environmental consciousness of children, to improve the standard of environmental educational activities and to raise awareness of Natura 2000 areas. The closing event of the project was held in Budapest on September 19, 2016.
In order to expand the Green Kindergarten programme and the Ecoschool programme, on July 1, 2012 a development project was launched within the framework of the Swiss-Hungarian Cooperation Programme with a contribution by the Swiss Federal Council and co-financed by the Hungarian State. The project lasting until September 30, 2016 was executed by the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development (the “Institute”) with the aid of experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Human Capacities and numerous environmental educational institutions.
Under the project a nationwide network of environmental educational resource centres was set up, and teaching aids and further training courses for teachers were prepared for teaching sustainability, to develop knowledge of the Natura 2000 network comprised of nature protection areas of European significance, and to exploit the opportunities provided by these assets.
The results of the project were presented at the closing event, “Traces of Life” – Conference on Education for Sustainability, attended by more than a hundred teachers and kindergarten teachers.
Mr József Kaposi, Director General of the Institute, opened the conference. He thanked the Swiss Federal Council for its support, which resulted in bringing our most important common European values closer to some thousand teachers, and many tens of thousands of children and schoolchildren. He expressed the hope that the new educational resources created through the offices of the Institute’s staff and commissioned experts would provide sufficient innovative ideas for environmental studies teachers in the coming years.
Mr Urs Brönnimann, Chargé d’Affaires at the Swiss Embassy in Budapest, made a welcoming speech, in which he praised the effectiveness of the project. Other welcome speeches were held by Ms Katalin Czippán, newly appointed Deputy Chairperson of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, Mr József Lebanov, Head of the Education Strategy Department at the Ministry of Human Capacities, and Mr Adrián Savanyú, Head of the Department for the Implementation of International Cooperation Programmes at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Prestigious speakers then addressed the audience about the UN’s sustainable development goals, the situation in Hungary of preparing environmental studies teachers, and information about environmental education in Switzerland. Mr János Mika, professor of climate research, Head of the Environmental Education Module of the Educational Doctoral School at the Eszterházy Károly University, presented the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The goals are expected to determine international cooperation between 2016 and 2030, and will certainly influence the work of environmental teachers. The UN’s goals can also be incorporated in the daily work of well-prepared teachers. The professor showed a few interesting illustrations to demonstrate this.
Mr Rolf Jucker, Director of the Zurich-based Swiss environmental education organisation Stiftung Silviva, reviewed nature-oriented teaching practice in Switzerland. Anna Megyeriné Dr Runyó and Judit Ütőné Dr Visi spoke about the experiences in higher education of training environmental studies teachers for kindergartens and schools respectively.
Ms Réka Könczey, the educational leader of the project, outlined the results of the network development and the experiences of the network, highlighting that the training of green kindergarten and ecoschool coordinators by the project’s regional resource centres achieved the most effective results of the project. The content of the latest training, Natura 2000 teacher competence development, provides an opportunity for experienced, well-established green kindergarten and ecoschool teachers to refresh their knowledge. In the four years of the project, over 700 new institutions joined the two educational networks on a voluntary basis.
From the materials submitted in the competition announced in the spring for green kindergartens and ecoschools “TRACES OF LIFE”, those of 7 green kindergartens and 10 ecoschools were chosen by the organisers by drawing lots. The institutions received gift packs, which were presented by Ms Edit Sinka, Head of the Research, Analysis and Evaluation Directorate.
In the afternoon nature educational specialists, National Park Directorates and NGOs held methodological section activities for teachers. The event was closed at the permanent collection of the Educational Library and Museum, which hosted the conference “TRACES OF LIFE”. All participants received educational material devised for their own institution under the auspices of the SH/4/5 project.
All educational resources can be downloaded free from http://ofi.hu/letoltheto-dokumentumok.