The Water School: Environmental Education for Rural Youth
Three Successful Editions
A Valuable Educational Project
A Rich Crossroads
How is Environmental Education Structured?
A common understanding of the natural world imagines it as an entity different from human beings in that it lacks reason and creative power. Belief holds that nature is bountiful and can fulfill all of our human needs and desires, and our knowledge and technical prowess have allowed us to master it.
But today science reveals to us increasingly fascinating mysteries of nature and shows us the ways our bodies are inextricably linked to it: bacteria, water, the movement of ocean-currents, and the moon. We know today that there are ‘feeling forests,’ meaning trees are connected and can communicate. These scientific discoveries are also sounding the alarm on how much we are endangering our mother earth.
Environmental education celebrates the positive connection between earth and all of its occupants and highlights the importance of ecological stewardship. Applying this type of education in our Water School makes science accessible to children from the Anti-Atlas where we work. Children learn to understand ecological relationships and the role of water in an approach that engages their minds, hearts, and bodies.
The goal is not only to foster consciousness and awareness about sustainable water practices, but also to develop a comprehensive understanding of the water economy and how it shapes one’s environment. We cover topics related to reforestation, septic tanks, environmental toilets, hygiene and sanitation, greywater, and more. The ultimate goal of the water school is to empower communities with limited drinking water with resources to improve their living conditions.
What We Can’t See …
The curiosity of rural children in Aït Baamrane led to the beginning of our water school, when they began asking: how do you get water from fog?
A similar program developed by our German partner, Wasserstiftung, in Ghana served as a stepping-stone. After beginning with a single microscope, today we have a comprehensive program in three different languages – Darija, Arabic, and English – to teach children about water and ecological stewardship. This is small-scale action, but it is an action that has proven to work and has been cited as exemplary.
Although children in the countryside live in relatively unspoiled areas compared to other, highly polluted places, the importance of understanding how pollution affects and transforms our future is a vital message.
Far from the quiet spaces of environmental diplomacy, the heavy historical legacy of industrialized countries and issues of climate justice are key aspects of the Water School curriculum, making the Water School a tiny drop in the ocean of a global trend. But to follow the example set by water itself: is water not just a set of many drops? Questions of scale like this one are used to structure our school’s curriculum.
How is the Water School Structured?
Dar Si Hmad organizes the Water School with the rural schools of Aït Baamrane, Si Hmad’s birthplace and where the fog-project is located. The Water School runs in partnership with the Delegation of the Ministry of Education and the encouragement of parents, community, and local staff. We host volunteers and students who work together to make the experience memorable.
The Water School is a 10-lesson program, focused on the local reality while also opening up new, global, and academic horizons. It uses activities and games, applied learning, and outputs as tools. The Water School gives children a new environment to discover and instills a sense of commitment to big issues.
Reconciling the complexity of science with the simplicity required for environmental education is possible through the Water School’s STEAM Program.
The activities of the Water School utilize Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics to teach about problematic situations, inviting the children in so that they may “discover” solutions.
By following a STEAM curriculum, the Water School program is an alternative to the philosophy of traditional education, which focuses on results rather than on active learning. Our curriculum invites children to make mistakes, to work in groups to exchange with one another openly, to stimulate their creative neurons, and to come out with solutions applicable to reality rather than mere theories for exams.
Dar Si Hmad is working to expand the Water School and offer it to more children in the region through the future Environmental Caravan.
Join us in our efforts to improve the project through your welcomed suggestions, experiences and encouragement.
Our partners :
In Morocco: The delegation of the Ministry of Education in Sidi Ifni and rural area schools
The rural municipalities of Tnine Amellou, Mesti, and Tangra
Mortenson Center for Engineering in Developing Communities
Captain Planet, Atlanta, Georgia
USA Embassy in Morocco
Kuwait Dive Team
The fundraising platform Global Giving to which anonymous donors have generously given to support our work
And innumerable volunteers
- Mortensen Center in Engineering for Developing Communities
- The University of Colorado, Boulder.
- Tifawin Institute, Boulder, Colorado
- Captain Planet, Atlanta, Georgia
- The Ambassador of the U.S. to Morocco
- Kuwait Dive Team
PLEASE DOWNLOAD OUR OPEN SOURCE CURRICULUM HERE