The Westerbeke Declaration
The International School Grounds Alliance was founded in September 2011 following the first international green schoolyards conference held in the United States. At this founding gathering, ISGA’s future Leadership Council members collaborated to write a statement that expressed the organization’s vision for the global school grounds movement. Signed by 34 participating individuals and organisations - from 29 organisations and 7 countries - the Westerbeke Declaration continues to guide the ISGA’s work.
“The ISGA invites organizations, institutions and individuals around the world to join an international movement to support and promote the development of school grounds that are good for students, good for learning, good for schools and good for the relationship between humans and the natural world.”
The Westerbeke Declaration was officially launched at the opening of the Nature School conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in September 2013.
The Westerbeke Declaration's ideas inspired a California state resolution
In June 2014, the government of the State of California in the USA adopted a version of ISGA’s Westerbeke Declaration on School Grounds as an official State Resolution. As a result, the California government now declares the month of May to be Living Schoolyard Month every year (based on ISGA's annual celebration of International School Grounds Month), and asks all 10,000+ public schools in the state of California “to prioritize the design and construction of student-accessible green space on school campuses and to integrate use of this space into the teaching of standards-based curriculum.” The full text of California’s resolution (ACR-128) is available via this link: http://bit.ly/CaACR128
This was the first time that ISGA’s work directly influenced a government document. Click here to read an article with more information about California's Living Schoolyard Month Resolution.
We hope that principles behind The Westerbeke Declaration will continue to be adopted by organisations and governments around the world.
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An on-campus green space, such as a school garden, is a fundamental component of a school environment intended to include and empower students, giving them a sense of place and community.