We are delighted to announce that Junior School Vlaskamp (JSV), The British School in The Netherlands, is one of four winners named in the European Patent Office (EPO) Kids' Collective Art Competition. The competition received 110 submissions from 56 schools across 19 countries.
The JSV artwork submitted is a colourful, eye-catching mural consisting of four panels of 1.2 x 3.5 metres with student-chosen slogans to promote looking after the environment. It is proudly displayed in the main hall as a reminder of the shared commitment to sustainability and appreciation of the natural world.
A Collective Endeavour
The piece was a collaborative process that took several weeks to create and involved every child in our school. The process began with the JSV Eco Warrior Lunchtime Club (comprising representative students from each year group) researching and selecting environmental slogans. Later, each student from Years 3 to 6 was given a letter to colour in and cut out from these chosen slogans.
Students in our Early Years Foundation Stage created borders for the displays from recycled paper, cereal packets, food wrappers and newspaper. Year 1 painted the backgrounds for the slogans using rollers and poster paint. Year 2 created fish for the ocean and flowers and hearts for the borders. Year 4 added trees to our forest, and the painted portraits represent our Year 6 students who stand in unity for a better world. Finally, our Eco Club drew round and painted their hands and arms that hold the placards.
Inspiration: Bob and Roberta Smith
The artwork was inspired by British artist Bob and Roberta Smith, whose art often takes the form of painted signs. "Central to Bob and Roberta Smith's thinking is the idea that campaigns are extended artworks which include a variety of consciousness-raising artefacts" (Who are bob and roberta smith).
"We are very proud of our artwork which reflects how much we value our world.
Our banners are a constant reminder for our students and staff to ‘Nurture Nature’ and ‘Act before it is too Late’. The display is a truly collaborative creative process which shares our hope for a more sustainable future.
Lisa O'Connor, JSV Art Lead
EPO's Kids' Collective Competition
The competition aimed to raise children's awareness of sustainability in a fun and expressive way and produce a visual representation of their dreams for the world's future.
"Being creative and thinking about new solutions to problems are precious skills that need to be nurtured among young children. They are also key skills that every inventor needs to come up with new inventions and contribute to building a more sustainable world" (EPO - Kids' collaborative art competition).
The Sustainable Initiative
Alongside the collective artwork submission, the school also needed to share its proposal for an educational initiative that the prize money would fund (the prize was €3000 for each of the four winning schools). The initiative had to raise children's sustainability awareness in connection with technology, art or innovation.
JSV shared its plans to fund a hybrid sustainable energy source to power a water feature in their outdoor learning area.
At Junior School Vlaskamp, we value outdoor learning, and thanks to the staff and parent volunteers, our wildlife pond area has been transformed into an amazing educational working space.
The dual sustainable energy source (a wind turbine and solar panel combination) will be mounted on a tall post near our wildlife pond. Having such a visual, sustainable power source will be a constant reminder to the children of the 'Green Mindset' being championed across the campus. It will give our staff and teachers another platform to develop eco-literacy and teach our students about their place in nature.
The wind turbine and solar panel will power a pump to circulate water through the sensory area, creating a new soundscape and increasing the oxygenation and overall health of the pond and its inhabitants. Environments with a sensory stimulus such as this are proven to be beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, improving focus, and helping children with their emotions and feelings; this area will be particularly advantageous to children with Additional Educational Needs.
Hannah Loftus, Pond Redevelopment Lead and Teaching Assistant at JSV, said,
We are so very proud of our students and delighted the whole school's collaborative artwork has taken first place in the EPO competition!
'From the very beginning, the Pond Redevelopment Project has been an amazing collaborative initiative supported by the whole BSN community, so it feels fitting that the prize for such a wonderful piece of collaborative, sustainability-themed art will contribute (so greatly) to the 'Power to the Pond' fund."
Congratulations to the JSV Students and Staff
On behalf of the BSN community, a hearty congratulations to the entire JSV campus! The collective artwork and the project the prize money will fund are inspiring and excellent examples of how our school values are lived and embraced for the benefit of our young people's holistic education.