“We do not inherit the earth from our fathers; we borrow it from our children.”
Antoine de Saint Exupéry
At the Gift School, at least two days each month are dedicated to the forest: one hiking day and one “Forest School” day, during which classroom activities take place in the forest.
Throughout the school year, all 60 Gift School students enjoy the nearby forest as well as the wooded area of the playground, which the children affectionately call the “secret garden”. These hikes and Forest School days allow children to develop their curiosity, creativity, and observational skills, while also learning about the local ecosystem.
Eco-citizenship is not a subject that is treated independently in our school’s curriculum. Instead, it is a way of life and of teaching that permeates all subjects. Eco-citizenship is practiced every day in the classroom with the support of teachers and assistants who serve as role models for the eco-citizens of tomorrow.
In 2022, Gift School became an “Eco-School“, an international label which honors the school’s dedication to educating children about sustainable development.
The Gift School is committed to developing environment awareness with its vegetable garden, recycling, waste management, composting, dry toilets in the kindergarten class, and zero waste practices.
Morning snacks at school are composed of organic and local fruit; in the afternoons, fresh organic bread made by baker Thierry Coupas of Ma Petite Boulangerie in Aix-en-Provence is provided. For lunch, families have the choice between bringing lunch from home or ordering organic, vegetarian meals made by chef Sophie Lecompte and using locally sourced ingredients.
Respect for the planet, the environment, and for animals begins with self-respect. Strong emphasis is placed on individual well-being and health, including the importance of nutrition and mindful eating.
La Pédagogie de l’Être (loosely translated as “teaching a way of being”)
“In this new world paradigm, we must focus our attention on children, developing a “pédagogie de l’être” which allows for children to discover themselves, to help them reveal their unique personality and reach the full potential that inspires their presence in the world and society. This instills within them an inner peace and gives them a sense of being and a place amidst the diversity of the world.
For this self-discovery to happen, it is crucial to eradicate the harmful climate of competition that gives a child the impression that the world is an arena, both physically and mentally, nurturing the fear of failure at the expense of an enthusiasm to learn.”
These words by Pierre Rabhi, taken from his book “Vers la Sobriété Heureuse“, and translated by us, reflect the Gift School’s mission.