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Casnati for ESD: a new project to promote and inspire Education for Sustainable Development

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Written by Federica Quartesan, Global Schools Advocate, Italy

Greetings to all,

This is Federica Quartesan, an Advocate for the Global Schools Program (3rd cohort, 2022) and a High School Science teacher at the Centro Studi Casnati (Como, Italy).

My advocacy experience has been an incredible journey through which my school has been integrating ESD in its whole didactic structure and developing a new project to inspire online communities.

I would like to underline how the Global Schools Program training was the first crucial step for me to start fusing together all the “inductive” knowledge collected through the years in several fields of study such as:

  • MOOCs and certificates regarding sustainable development, the SDGs, the 2030 Agenda, and how to measure sustainable development;

  • active learning strategies implemented at Centro Studi Casnati itself;

  • international teaching frameworks derived from postgraduate courses to implement Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodologies;

  • empowerment of strategizing and abilities acquired through several team-working experiences (e.g. the building of a business plan to renew an Italian WWF oasis close to Naples, the planning and implementation of digital tools for data collection and FFQs - Food Frequencies Questionnaires - during my university traineeship as a nutritionist, etc.)

Being an Advocate for the Global Schools Program, and the development of the new youth-focused project, Casnati for ESD, has instilled a new sense of meaning: a unique project, through which structuring knowledge and experiences - led by me, my school, and my students - will allow everyone to contribute to a crucial mission of spreading ESD for the future of all.

Federica Quartesan - GSP Advocate, Science teacher at Centro Studi Casnati, Project Chief at Casnati for ESD

Whole-of-school didactic integration of ESD

The strategy for the didactic integration started its implementation in September 2022, at the beginning of the ongoing school year in Italy. When I was awarded the title of “Advocate of the month - October” on behalf of the Global Schools Program, my school began to define a teaching structure to provide every student with:

  • the development of transversal soft skills defined by UNESCO, in addition to the transversal skills outlined at the Italian Ministerial Level; each of these soft skills signifies something different within each disciplinary area;

  • the achievement - during secondary school - of the UNESCO learning objectives for each SDG, considering each disciplinary area;

  • the attention and awareness of the three levels of learning: 1 – cognitive (knowing how to understand), 2 – socio-emotional (knowing how to feel), 3 – behavioral development of skills (knowing how to do) with the integration of the methodological principles of Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL).

Our students introducing Socio-Emotional Learning

The new project: Casnati for ESD

This project was born, firstly, to find an adequate way to communicate the development of our didactic structure, and, secondly, to share our experience and inspire ESD and the SDGs in the online community.

The Casnati for ESD project is configured as a new bilingual (Italian/English) school website that collects school-wide activities and builds storytelling that could inform, educate, and inspire anyone who wants to connect with the activities of the school, either online or on the affiliated social media channels.

Link to the Casnati for ESD’s website:

Homepage of the Casnati for ESD’s website

The structure of the website includes several pages:

  • About Us: description of the institutions engaged with the new project, their vocations, and their positioning in the local and international scenario;

  • What is ESD: definition of the concept of “Sustainable Development”, description of the 2030 United Nations Agenda, and particular reference to Goal 4.7 and the meaning of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD);

  • Promise: meaning of the didactic ESD integration for Centro Studi Casnati’s students, why the ESD is important for students, and references to literature on ESD;

  • SEL-DBT: meaning of SEL and DBT and their relation with ESD, introduction to our school community the strategy for its integration into our didactic system, including a teachers’ training to take place in 2023 in collaboration with Dr. Giovanni Davì;

  • Action Strategy: overall strategy implemented into our school curriculum for ESD integration;

  • News: immediate and synthetic communication of the activities and projects that we are developing: teen-friendly communication, the celebration of significant UN international days, and updates about national/international conferences on ESD in which I participated as an Global Schools Advocate; this news content will be also be linked to our main Instagram account;

  • Portfolio - Let Us Inspire You: communication and analysis of the complex didactic projects (project-based learning and challenge-based learning) in relation to ESD; the main target will be parents and families of the community, but also outside observers, and outside teachers/students that could implement our model.

The aim is to implement this project during the ongoing school year and then connect it both with the national or international career networks driven to sustainable development and, of course, other learning institutions engaged with ESD.

A wall at the main entrance of our school is dedicated to our new project and collaboration with the Global Schools Program.

Examples of ESD school-wide activities: peer-to-peer conferences

Examples of ESD school-wide projects: separate waste collection and reduction in the use of plastic

Examples of ESD school-wide projects: separate waste collection and reduction in the use of plastic