In October, 110 Year 6 pupils from 15
primary and prep schools came to the
Dragon’s second annual Eco Conference.
They joined the school’s Eco Team for this
unique event which was created by Dragon
pupils. The children heard a talk from charity
Cool Earth about saving the rainforest,
discussed green IT, and met local artist Angela
Palmer whose giant
Ghost Forest
installation
has been on display at Oxford’s Natural
History Museum.
In workshop sessions the young delegates
calculated the air miles in a basket of
shopping, studied scale models of green
energy projects, and discussed waste and
sustainability. Delegates were also treated to
Children’s
Eco Conference:
If it needs changing, just change it!
a preview of a song from
Ocean World
, an
environmental musical which was performed
by Year 6 Dragons in November.
Dragon pupils vividly illustrated the
school’s commitment to biodiversity by
demonstrating their beekeeping skills. In
addition to poster presentations, hives,
bee suits and a video on swarm catching,
the beekeepers brought to the session a
new ‘display hive’ which was a great way
to see the bees ‘at home’. The presentation
concluded with a tasting of the Dragon bees’
honey, or ‘Dragon Nectar’ which was eagerly
devoured by interested fans of the project.
“Weaving the eco message through the
curriculum is crucial if it is not to be seen as
‘out of the ordinary’”, said Dragon science
teacher Kate Heath. “Young people have
grasped that care for others is inextricably
linked with care for our environment”, she
commented at the end of a successful and
thought-provoking day.
The Dragon teaches the principles and practices
of philanthropy and social responsibility both
in the classroom and through a host of activities
and challenges. Through this Social Impact
programme the school has made links with
numerous charities, social entrepreneurs and
philanthropists. Recently this
work has made the news in a
variety of media. Last August, a
feature ‘Learning by Doing’ in
The Economist
covered the
school’s pilot project with charity
the Big Give. It explained how
Year 8 children researched where
a donated fund of £1,250 should
go, challenged each other’s
chosen causes, investigated
the charities concerned and made formal
presentations of their findings. It was noted how
this helped children learn not only how to give
‘intelligently’ but also to get involved in their
local community, use online resources and to
present reasoned arguments.
In the New Year, the theme was expanded
by the
Wall Street Journal
in a piece called
‘Teach Your Children (How to Give) Well’.
This looked at the ‘Philanthropy in Schools’
programme, developed by the Dragon alongside
the Big Give, which helps children understand
charitable giving at a sophisticated level.
Describing the active philanthropy teaching at
the school, a Dragon pupil was quoted as saying:
“I did not realise you have to read into it with so
much depth. I had never thought about looking
at the annual income of a charity”. At the same
time, Danny Gill, Director of Social Impact
at the Dragon, was quoted in a philanthropy
feature in the
Financial Times
and had a letter
published, in response to public debate about
the ‘Big Society’, about starting the culture of
giving in the small society of the school. In
February
The Evening Standard
in London
ran an article ‘Charity Begins at School’ covering
the Dragon’s philanthropy programme. This
was picked up by
BBC Radio London
who
invited Danny Gill for an interview on a charity-
themed edition of the popular evening drivetime
programme. The presenter finished his chat with
Danny by saying “I wish I’d had a teacher like
that when I was at school!”.
Philanthropy
Teaching
Makes the News
Green Dragons
Director of Social Impact, Danny Gill
9
D R A G O N s T O D A Y . s P R I N G 2 0 1 1
Young people have grasped
that care for others is
inextricably linked with care
for our environment
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 10,11,12