Blue Schools Ireland; Bringing the Ocean into your classroom

As an Island Nation every school in Ireland is connected to the Ocean around our shores. Through National, European and International Programs, students, teachers and schools can connect to our marine world, and fellow schools who celebrate the ocean in their classrooms. Join us as we bring you on a tour of some of the programs your school can get involved in to bring the ocean into their classroom.

National Programs

The Explorers Education Programme

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme engages with primary schools, teachers, children and the education network, creating marine leaders and ocean champions in Ireland.

The Programme provides engaging activities, resources, and support for teachers, children, and the education network, delivering ocean literacy to primary schools. It inspires children and educators to become marine leaders and ocean champions by
promoting our marine and maritime identity and heritage, as well as making informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. For more information see http://www.explorers.ie

Explore your shore!

Ireland has 3,171 km of coastline and yet we have relatively few records of intertidal and coastal marine species. We lack a strong tradition of the public recording intertidal species. Explore Your Shore is a Citizen Science project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency focused on increasing our knowledge of the
distribution of our intertidal species, exploring their potential as
bio-indicators of water quality and climate change, and highlighting actions we can all take to tackle water pollution and climate change. For more information see https://exploreyourshore.ie

Green-Schools Global Citizenship Marine Environment

Green-Schools is Irelands leading environmental management and award programme for schools. The eight theme on the Green-Schools programme is Global Citizenship Marine Environment. This theme is all about recognising the importance of the marine environment, the threats it faces and how we can protect it. There are a number of essential actions that schools must complete to earn the Green flag for this theme. Schools must must carry out a Marine Litter Awareness Survey, investigate the sources of marine litter and carry out a #2minutebeachclean. The Global Citizenship Marine Environment theme is kindly supported by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group

The IWDG was founded in 1990 to establish an All-Ireland sighting and stranding scheme and to campaign for the declaration of Irish territorial waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary. It is through Education and Outreach that we can raise awareness of our marine environment and the Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises that inhabit them. If we can ignite a passion within the greater community for our oceans and their inhabitants, then
there is great hope that they will prosper into the future. For more information see http://www.iwdg.ie

European Programs

Schools that take up the Find the Blue challenge shall identify an ocean-based topic that is relevant to their students, and collaborate with their pupils to create a school project. The aim is to make the ocean a relevant part of the school curriculum through project-based learning. Student ownership, collaborations with other organizations and people involved with the ocean and creating a community with the same passion will be key values of these projects. By successfully completing the Find the Blue challenge, schools will receive a European Blue School certification.

All certified European Blue Schools become part of the Network of European Blue Schools, where teachers and students:  

  • become agents of change for ocean sustainability;
  • share experiences with teachers and students from other schools;
  • connect to the wider ocean literacy community.

For more information including the handbook, criteria and application form see https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/maritimeforum/en/node/5494

International Programs

In June 2021, the All-Atlantic Blue Schools Network (AA-BSN) was formally launched. The AA-BSN is one of six All-Atlantic joint pilot actions which comprise the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance

Ireland is part of the above Alliance, and we are in the early stages of establishing a The All-Atlantic Blue Schools Network here in Ireland. 2022 marks our pilot year and The Irish Ocean Literacy Network and Galway Atlantaquaria are delighted to take on the role of National Coordinator for the All Atlantic Blue Schools Network in Ireland.

Open to all to apply, please contact allatlanticblueschools@gmail.com or noirin@nationalaquarium.ie if you would like to take part. This program is open to schools are all levels, and projects can be based on any curriculum area, or cross-curricular, and can link to any of the national marine education programs currently in existence.