St Joan Antide Primary School, Gudja, is involved in a two-year Erasmusplus project promoting permaculture gardens in schools. The first meeting of the project with partners from Malta, Croatia, Macedonia and Iceland was held recently at Dar Frate Jacoba, a Franciscan home in Marsascala that practises permaculture.

The project aims to show that, more than just environmental awareness or a gardening technique, permaculture is an ethical design science that assimilates land, resources, people and nature in ways that supplies human needs as well as benefit the environment.

The project is adopting an interdisciplinary approach, using the subject of permaculture gardens in schools to increase awareness on other countries in Europe in the partners’ respective communities.

Besides improving their environmental knowledge, the project will improve the pupils’ skills in geography, history, the arts, foreign languages and knowledge of other cultures.

Furthermore, rather than share knowledge in a stereotypical way, it aims not only to explain and celebrate the unique identity of each partner country but crucially will challenge the schoolchildren to evaluate them from an outsider’s perspective.

A representative of the Gudja school said: “The role of a European school today is to encourage internationalisation. We need to think of a common Europe, be proud of our own culture but at the same time respect the other ones.”

All the schools involved in the project have the environment at heart and aim to promote a healthy lifestyle, inclusion and lifelong learning in their endeavour to provide a holistic education to their pupils who come from multicultural backgrounds, and include immigrants.

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