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Is your school sustainable?


A classroom in San Martin

The people who use the classroom - the students and their teachers - need a pleasant working environment where they can be happy, relaxed and stimulated to work.

The room has been designed to make the most of the resources available. It encourages students to learn about their local environment. There is plenty of evidence of their creative work, of which they are rightly proud. This encourages them to be resourceful and to value each other's work.

Technical specification
The classroom measures 12m x 10m and contains wooden chairs and desks. Large windows on two sides, without glass, let in natural light from the sun. The front wall has a blackboard made from local wood. The back wall is covered by a mural made by a past class. It shows the local town, including the river, the houses, the shop, the rubbish bins, the road and the bridge. On one wall there is a register made from wood and cardboard - children slide along a card with their name on to show that they are present. All around the room there are examples of things that students have made - a painted globe made from a melon and a recycled coat-hanger, cars, masks, drums and flowers.

The furniture is made from wood. Many of the resources are hand-made from reclaimed materials such as plastics, cardboard, paper, tin, shells and wood. Colouring is done using crayons and felt-tip pens; writing using pencils and paper.

There is a plentiful supply of local wood for the furniture. Many of the classroom resources are made from rubbish that the children have collected.

Desks and chairs have square edges that catch clothing and limbs. Some of the resources have sharp edges. There isn't much room to move around.

The classroom can get hot, although the school day is organised so that children are learning in the coolest hours. It is usually light and airy. The wooden chairs and desks are not particularly comfortable, but they make the best possible use of the resources and space available. Lighting depends on the sun, which is in plentiful supply.

Although the room is basic, it is colourful and cheerful. Children's work is acknowledged.

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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