The case study was implemented in all districts of Cyprus with the participation of sixteen schools, thirteen primary schools and three pre-schools. The participating schools aimed to achieve “school opening” through ESD and establish communication and collaboration networks between school, parents and the community (local authorities, local population). The objective was to engage different population groups of different backgrounds, age and expertise in working together for the achievement of common goals concerning SD issues in their community that would consequently ensure and raise the quality of life in the community, through collective actions and interventions.
The collaboration of the involved actors, was multileveled and different for each community. In every case though, the collaboration sought to: a) trigger the interest of all members of the local community, (students, parents, educators, local population) for undertaking individual and collective responsibility for the solution of local problems, thus promoting Sustainable Development in their community, b) develop new relations between school, parents and the local community for issues of common interest (e.g. waste management, traffic issues, developing green areas), c) reorganise the learning process by transferring it in the community and connecting formal and non formal education by using participative, collective and intergenerational forms of learning.
All developed programs in each municipality or community, regardless the issue they tackled, acknowledged the interaction between the aspects of sustainability and sought to study and analyse each issue, by simultaneously approaching it from its environmental, cultural, social and economic aspects. For example, 8th Primary School of Limassol focused on “adapting a park”. Their activities explored issues concerning environmental sustainability as well as social and cultural sustainability. They studied native plant species and the non biotic factors that support their development (soil, climate, etc.) as well as why it is important to conserve and protect them. The social dimension of sustainability was developed through the intergenerational collaboration and the collaboration between different professionals, the school, the parents and the municipality for the protection and the conservation of the park as an action that can promote and upgrade the local quality of life. They also explored the relation of the native plants of the park with local folklore and cultural tradition (myths, folk songs, traditional recipes) as aspects of cultural diversity. In other cases, e.g. the Livadia Primary school, the classes of 9 – 12 year olds, chose to explore the conservation of local products. They focused on interconnecting environmental sustainability (conservation of the local wetland as a source of raw material – straw – that local population uses for handcrafts), with social and economic sustainability (development of local trade of straw made handcrafts, conservation and protection of traditional professions and skills, economic sustainability of the area and social cohesion), and cultural sustainability (arts, traditional songs and dances inspired from straw as the dominant local vegetation).