Educating our children and making them aware of how to live their lives sustainably is no mean feat. In this episode, I speak with Katie Norman about her business called the Sustainable Schools Network (SSN).
Katie is the chief steward for the organisation that has been in operation for almost two years. The SSN philosophy on Education for Sustainability (EfS) is to engage in an ongoing reciprocal dialogue that explores playful possibilities in our collective educational spaces. As much as this is an inward, and at times, personal journey for us all, it is very much about creating a shared path and a shared vision that engages curiosity, critical thinking and creative expression. Although they started this organisation with a focus on sustainability, the more they lived the experience of sustainability, the more they realised that sustainability is about learning.
In this interview, we discuss how:
- the Sustainable Schools Network came about
- sustainability requires a whole-of-school approach that involves everyone from the kids to the teachers, school staff and parents
- the journal that they produce quarterly to educate students on a wide array of subjects around sustainability is becoming a great success and a useful tool
- this program is available to all schools throughout Australia
- children can influence change, not just for themselves, but for the people around them, including their parents
- schools that engage with this program and educate children about sustainability has a ripple effect, with 9,100 schools throughout Australia using it, shaping our future leaders
- change starts with us as individuals
- sustainability wasn’t included in curriculum for student teachers as part of their core subjects.
I really enjoyed this interview with Katie and am sure that you will too.
Bio of Katie Norman
Katie Norman is the Co-Founder and Director of the Sustainable Schools Network. With an early career as a therapeutic program facilitator and drug counsellor around Australia, Katie knows what it takes for behaviour change to occur. After having her three children, Katie pursued volunteer roles within schools in both Hong Kong and Australia, with one particular highlight involving coordinating the creation and production of Tallebudgera State School’s Taste of Tallebudgera cookbook. After exposure to environmental issues overseas, and a developing knowledge of Education for Sustainability (EfS), Katie recently delivered the Education for Sustainability in Queensland: Discussion Paper 2019-2020 to advocate for the EfS sector. Katie has been steering the Sustainable Schools Network for the last three years and has been recognised for this work by being awarded the Community Spirit of Somerset Award, a Beaded Gecko Award, was a ROAR Social Hero Finalist and a 2020 McPherson Community Achiever.