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Cousteau named Canada's first Eco School

Fromme Rd. institution earns international accreditation

It’s no surprise that a school named after Jacques Cousteau is interested in sea levels.

The Cousteau School, located at 3657 Fromme Rd., held a celebration earlier this month after becoming Canada’s only Eco School accredited by the international Foundation for Environmental Education.

The school’s mission is to inspire students to make a better world, explained head of school Alain Delaune.

“Kids realize that, by doing things here in Vancouver, they can have an impact . . . at the end of the world,” Delaune says.

The idea is to be “internationally minded,” Delaune says. It’s a fitting approach for a bilingual school includes students from dozens of countries.

“By working together on one project [the students] discover how different they are. But sometimes they are able to put their differences aside and move forward for one project,” he says.

Students at Cousteau School might do projects on subjects like immigration, biodiversity and species extinction. But what makes the Eco School distinct is the way the students lead those projects, Delaune explains.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen so much involvement by kids. It’s their voice. It’s their decisions.”

The students come up with ideas, and for the most part, the faculty encourage them.

“We sometimes say no because there is no money for it,” Delaune says with a laugh.

The other distinctive feature about the school is that every item in a student’s lunch bag must be reusable, Delaune says.

The school won congratulations from Consul General of France in Vancouver, Philippe Sutter.

“We’re really happy that Cousteau School is part of the Eco-Schools family and strengthens its mission to raising global citizens, aware of the current climate emergency and advocates for biodiversity,” Sutter stated in a release.

The accreditation also gives the school a little incentive to raise its own profile.

“We’re trying to be a bit more out in the world to let people know we exist,” he says.