Educating Students for Sustainability

The Education for Sustainability Program promotes project-based and placed-based educational practices that increase students’ understanding of and connection to Galápagos. In emphasizing the interdependence of society, economy, and nature, we use local to global examples of conservation and sustainability. Our educational approach ultimately prepares students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for young people to contribute to greater sustainability in their communities throughout their lives.

  • Project Location

    Galápagos Islands

  • Program Launch

    2016

  • Impact

    430 PreK-12 Teachers; 7,200 Students

  • Partners

    Ecuador’s Ministry of Education; Fundación Scalesia

Two young students participate in an activity in the Education for Sustainability Program, by Jennifer Davison

Why it Matters

Building a culture of sustainability in Galápagos

Galápagos teachers explore the nature, origin, and ways to mitigate plastic pollution during a field trip designed by the Education for Sustainability Program, by Xavier Castro/Galápagos Conservancy

A unique and replicable model for education reform

In conjunction with an international network of education specialists, Ecuador’s Ministry of Education, and organizations in Galápagos, we have developed a one-of-a-kind model for education reform that uses proven approaches to prepare teachers to use the community and natural areas as a classroom for experiential learning. Ecuador’s Ministry of Education has viewed our work as a potential model for other parts of the country.

Accomplishments

Since 2016, we have offered 120 hours/year of professional development to all 430 PreK-12 educators, most of whom have demonstrated significant improvements in their teaching. The program shifted from in-person to online delivery at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and peer networks established through the program helped teacher adapt to distance education despite uneven student access to technology and the slow and unreliable internet connection in Galápagos.

Students at Tomas de Berlanga, by Jennifer Davison
Galápagos teachers, by Buró Comunicación Integral

Current Priorities

Now entering our second five-year phase, our priorities include helping teachers to implement a new special curriculum for Galápagos and to form a cadre of 60 local teacher-leaders capable of replicating and eventually replacing the PD offered by our program staff. In essence, we are establishing a seedbed of uniquely talented educators whose students will graduate from high school as conservation-minded architects of a more sustainable Galápagos.

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