July 10, 2018

Meet our education team

Meet our education team

Pollution, desertification, and global warming: our planet can use some extra hands. It was the main motivation for Jan Hoetmer, owner of Leerbox Uitstekend and primary school teacher, and Andrea Forzoni, geologist, when they approached Justdiggit in 2017 for setting up a combined teaching program.

Justdiggit had previously developed an online lesson series together with the municipality of Haarlemmermeer and the Center for Sustainability, and was looking for a way to further develop this. Jan and Andrea came exactly at the right time. This is how the Justdiggit education team was born.

Jan: ‘In September 2017 I was at a presentation where Bernice Nootenboom – polar explorer, climate journalist and filmmaker – talked about the melting of the polar caps. An almost apocalyptic story. The message hit like a bomb and I knew: “Jan, you have to do something with this in education.” I called my good friend Andrea and flooded him with ideas.’

Andrea: ‘I was immediately lit by Jans enthusiasm. Together we started to develop an educational program consisting of four lessons. The first and the last lesson are provided by an expert in the field of climate change such as myself; the other two lessons are given by their own teacher. In the meantime, the children work on their own assignments based on worksheets. They present the result to the class in the last lesson.’

Together with Justdiggit and Jan’s company Leerbox Uitstekend, a wealth of supporting material has been developed, with worksheets and an own identity. Jan: ‘We are very proud that we have managed to include Master Boy, from Quest Junior, for some great fun educational films in which he explains what climate change is and what you can do about it yourself.’

Wessel van Eeden, marketing director of Justdiggit: ‘It is an important part of Justdiggit’s mission to take action yourself. We do not believe in repeating doom scenarios, but in a positive story. What can you contribute? The current generation of children is the last generation that will be able to do something about global warming and climate change. So it is essential that we now teach them about the consequences of our choices.’

A second pilot of the teaching program has now been completed. Jan: ‘The reactions are incredibly positive. After each pilot we evaluate with the teacher, the children, and each other, and then refine the program. Both the children and the teacher asked if we would come back again. Nice, isn’t it? We hope to do more pilots this year and of course we hope that our initiative can continue to grow and be embraced by more schools. Meanwhile, a third member has joined the team that supports us and helps us with the further development of the program, such as a supporting website. ‘

Wessel: ‘Working with motivated volunteers and professionals fits perfectly with the mission of Justdiggit. The education team develops the lesson series all by themselves and gives it form from their own expertise. Justdiggit helps to support where necessary and to make connections with other partners in our network. ‘

Also contribute to the education mission of Justdiggit and the education team?

  • Are you or do you know a school that is interested in facilitating the lesson series?
  •  Are you an expert on climate change and do you like to occasionally give a lesson for the program?

We can use your help! Send an e-mail to educatie@justdiggit.org.