For more than ten years, students at the International School of Düsseldorf have organised Christmas markets for a cause, under the theme “Together we are Better”. In 2020, however, Corona almost threw a spanner in the works for the elementary school children.
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) at ISD encourages children to address complex social and environmental issues and to make positive changes in their local communities. This year, grade 3 students took on the challenge of hosting a virtual Christmas market stocked with sustainable products made from salt dough, wood, and paper. These included Christmas decorations, origami sculptures, candlesticks, games such as Tic Tac Toe, and hot chocolate and marshmallow packs, which they sold to the ISD community.
What does a socially-distanced, sustainable Christmas market look like?
Things ran a little differently this year, with the children making prototypes, taking pictures, and selling products online in advance. Unlike previous years, students were required to produce entirely on-demand, delivering the finished products to the ISD community this week just in time for Christmas.
For the students, it was a thought-provoking process. They quickly realised how rewarding it is to make products with sustainable materials. They spent most of their time in the Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE), trying their hand at different techniques such as sawing, welding, sanding and experimenting with different gluing techniques and colours.
“Following the Sustainable Choices unit, students were aware of how products with a low environmental impact are created,” said Steve Barratt, Elementary School Principal. “This has also been a focus in previous years, but this year the students had to find a balance between using recyclable and compostable materials and creating an online market experience where more packaging is required.” Things like candle holders for example, are made using recycled fence posts and baubles from last year’s Christmas trees.
Proceeds from the virtual Christmas market went to a good cause.
We are pleased to report that some 1400 products were sold this year, with €1510 raised, which the students agreed will be donated to a local charity, Frauen Helfen Frauen e.V. ISD Director, Frank Tschan, is proud of the school’s long and impressive history of teaching students to apply their learning for a good cause. “This is something we have stood behind with full conviction for more than 50 years.”