By Sara Močnik, Primary school Šmartno pod Šmarno goro
On April 15, the 9th annual Spring Carousel took place at the Šmartno pod Šmarna Gora Elementary School in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Organized to raise contributions to the school fund, the event was dedicated to Earth Day this year. We aimed to find ways to bring environmental protection and nature closer to students from 1st to 9th grade and their parents. Since we have already focused on this topic at our school as part of the Erasmus+ project ”Circular Economy for Future Community: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and Multipliers, we had no shortage of ideas for the Spring Carousel.
We opened the carousel with a short cultural program centered on environmental protection and nature conservation. We weaved it together with the Eco Hymn (the hymn of the Erasmus+ project), performances with recycled musical instruments and costumes, and the presentation of the top three poems selected from the competition for the best poem dedicated to environmental protection and nature. The literary competition took place at the school in the weeks leading up to the Spring Carousel.
After the opening ceremony, all attendees had the opportunity to participate in various workshops designed within Multipliers, approaching environmental conservation and nature in a different way. Participants could visit six different stations, where they received a brief explanation and demonstration or observed experiments to understand the impact humans have on the environment. They learned about phenomena such as acid rain, soil erosion, and the greenhouse effect. In connection with the theme of Earth Day 2023, ”Invest in Our Planet,” students also learned about the importance of preserving nature and biodiversity through activities involving carnivorous plants and a quiz about frogs or amphibians.
As our school has a strong connection to the nearby Mount Saint Mary (Šmarna Gora), in the north of Ljubljana, we invited the Šmarna Gora Mountaineering Society to participate in the Carousel as well. They emphasized the importance of caring for nature as users of the outdoors. To encourage younger students to think about ways to protect nature, a fairy tale with an environmental theme was presented, allowing them to express their impressions through drawing.
Local is Healthy
Local food is strongly connected to environmental conservation, and we wanted to emphasize that once again. The school cafeteria transformed into a refreshment area for one day, offering a menu primarily consisting of locally sourced food. It also provided a space for other local vendors to showcase their products.
Similarly, self-sufficiency is important. We utilized the school garden and the biology classroom to cultivate seedlings of various vegetables such as radishes, lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cauliflower. These seedlings were included in the School Market at the Spring Carousel. In addition to vegetables, participants could also choose young ornamental plants, various seeds, vegetable labels, or different herbs for their gardens and balconies.
This text was originally published in Slovene in the journal Naravoslovna solnica and translated into English by Tim Prezelj, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education