Monday, 10 October 2011

School Projects

I have recently been engaging in the Twitter sphere (@Norries_Girl) and two projects involving school children have come to my attention. Both projects are calling on school-aged children to respond directly in regard to specific issues. The first is called The Bloomtrigger Project. It is about protecting rainforests; an issue of global importance. Therefore, it stands out as a project with big aims and ideas. The second is a writing project run by Baillie Gifford and the Financial Mail. The aim with this is to highlight that young people need to understand finance options open to them and be encouraged to demonstrate how they can manage their own finances appropriately and effectively as they move toward independent living i.e. undertaking a student loan or first time employment matters . The former intends to make simple the tackling of a complex issue, while the latter is more of a thought experiment for the individual.

The Bloomtrigger project is the massively moral and well principled idea of introducing a new model to primary schools where pupils can help protect rainforests from deforestation in a way that is not only simplistic, but affordable and creative too. A pilot project that involves five UK schools is currently running. These schools are looking at raising £5000 to protect an area of the Peruvian Amazon and to prove a new concept for rainforest conservation works in the future. The project is co-ordinated by its founder James Sutton and the website is www.bloomtrigger.com

As the project develops James is looking to work more and more with teachers who are willing to pioneer and grow the project. How it Works: Schools need to sign up to the website where they are then able to use money from their school budget perhaps, to invest in blooms (50p each) and use them as rewards for their pupils. Pupils are able to plant their bloom(s) on the online map using their own artwork as a profile image. The website is fun and friendly.

This project will enable teachers and leaders to work at educating children about economic driven working practices in rainforest areas that are harming the environment, and helping pupils to understand that this is an ongoing problem of which there is no quick fix. The principle is that local communities here at home will be empowered in helping foresting communities on the ground.

The Bloomtrigger project will meet areas of the curriculum of Geography, and Art/Design (to some degree). This project will prove to be as popular with pupils as those schemes already supported and encouraged in some schools, sharing similar ethics to more established schemes such as the adopting of endangered animals via WWF, or the kind of charity type events that call for sponsorship. As I have said already the project would serve as a popular reward scheme for schools to mark pupil achievements, academic or otherwise, alternatively blooms could be awarded as prizes in school led competitions.

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The young people’s writing project I introduced in the first paragraph is, in fact, a competition run by the two financial bodies previously mentioned. School children and sixth form students are invited to write and submit an essay in response to this question ‘Who should be responsible for teaching you about personal finance?’

There are two age groups – 13 to 15 and 16 to 18 – This project is giving young writers an opportunity to research the subject and to structure a 1000 word essay that explores that which is a highly topical question for many students who are currently moving up the educational ladder.

The top essay in each of the two age groups will earn its writer an Apple iPad 2 16GB, worth £350. As well as these individual prizes the top students will earn £1000 for their school. For further prize information, deadline date etc. and to submit your entry visit http://www.bgtrustonline.com//sponsorship/news-and-promotions/young-writers-competition.aspx

At a time when young people are having to take on heavy debts for the receiving of their university education there have been concerns highlighted in regard to the financial implications for young people. Campaigners against the rise in student fees in particular, feel that young people are not sufficiently informed. Hopefully, those who decide to participate in this project, will find the exercise of having to really think who would be best to teach them about personal finance, will move their thought processes into areas of exploration that will help with their understanding and their decision making about important money related issues.

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