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Kids, families, teachers, entrepreneurs and companies embark on a 7 day learning journey and collaborate to advance the circular economy.

7DaysCircular is an interactive learning journey. The programme is unique to every school, co-created with teachers, entrepreneurs and companies to connect the school’s objectives to the real life context of a circular economy. Kids are provided with skills and tools to work on their team challenge throughout the week, increasing their awareness and social, creative and entrepreneurial skills.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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August 2018
To accelerate the transition to a circular economy and create real momentum, involving children is key. I believe kids are idealist by nature and enjoy helping and creating when they get the chance.

About the innovation

Kids need to learn about circular economy now!

Why Circular Economy?

We live in a system of take-make-waste, which doesn’t account for the finite amount of resources and overloads the regenerative capacity of the earth. Climate change, which is hard to deny nowadays, enlarges the differences between those that can escape the consequences of this system and those who have no choice but to bear them.

Sooner or later, it touches us all! 

It’s time for all of us to intervene and accelerate the transition from a lineair to a circular economy. 

Kids matter in the circular economy

Empowering kids to learn about, care for and participate in the circular economy is key for the transition to a circular economy. Not just because they are the future but also because they are influential within family dynamics in the present. 

With the goals and targets set by governments and corporates as illustrated by the SDG's we will need to involve the age demographic that will be responsible for a large part of tomorrow's consumption and production, today!

Learning by doing with 7DaysCircular

7DaysCircular is project week about circular economy for primary and secondary education. Specific to each school (it's objectives, resources and the age of the kids participating in the programme) a tailor made curriculum is developed to introduce kids to the need for and principles of a circular economy. 

The circular economy comes to live because the kids get to experience how the outside world is already working towards a circular economy by company visits and entrepreneurs with innovative circular activities showcase their business and act as role models. Finally the kids get to put the skills and tools they get throughout the week into practice by working in teams on their own circular challenge.


Shine! Exhibition and Award show
The week ended with an exhibition and award show where all the teams could exhibit their end projects. This was followed by a peer-to-peer voting which resulted in the 5 best teams that got the opportunity to pitch during the award show. The winning team members all got a nice circular goodie bag. There was another competition taking  place. Kids got to earn karma points during the whole week by showing exceptional social, creative and entrepreneurial skills and executing on specific karma point assignments, like collecting as many plastic bottle caps as possible. The 5 kids with the highest karma point scores, won a wasteboard! This is a skateboard made of recycled plastic bottle caps. The company designed 5 boards especially for us. 
Visiting the municipality of Haarlemmermeer
It's not just companies we visit! The municipality of Haarlemmermeer is very active when it comes to circular economy. The circular economy has been central in their sustainability plan for years.The kids in the group COMMUNITY got to visit the municipality and talk to team members of the sustainability policy and programmes department. In was in the middle of the week, so the kids got the opportunity to pitch the circular solutions they were working on during the week. 
The puzzle of circularity
The puzzle is a great tool to help kids think about the materials flow and the value chain. Most products are not just made of one material or component. Also before you get a product into your hands, it has travelled for quite a bit, usually. Where does it all come from? What is it made off? With the puzzle the kids learn to break down this question and analyse how systems work. We have a lesson plan available for this puzzle exercise.
What can you make with a broken umbrella?
Mark from Fenix Circular as guest lecturer, showing the kids that a broken umbrella (and they are everywhere in autumn!) is not waste, rather material to be used and re-used again to create new things, such as a ruck sack!  
Prepping for the largest 7DaysCircular so far!
In March 2018 we had our biggest group so far! The first official English 7DaysCircular for a bilingual school in Hoofddorp. 260 first year students participated in the week. The students were asked about their interest before the start of the week and were organised in teams around the topics: FOOD, FASHION, LIVING, COMMUNITY and PRODUCT DESIGN. Each of these groups had a different company visit and guest lecturers. Pictured is geography teacher Rene, sorting out the different posters to show the students what their project class room for the week would be. 
The wastetransformers
Founder Lara of the Wastetransformers showed the kids around at this decentralised power plant, where bio waste is transformed into gas and raw material for paper and bio composite. 
How to collaborate?
An important topic to touch upon in the week is the importance of collaboration. You can go green on your own, but you can't go circular on your own. Our world is has grown so complex with different people specialising in different roles, that collaboration is key to close the loops. That's why kids during the week also learn about collaboration. One of the teacher's brought the idea forward of having the kids think about how they can learn best about collaboration and writing this in a letter to the secretary of education. Citizenship starts now!This is an example of our third pilot week in Amsterdam during december 2017. Around 80 kids participated from 10-14 years old.
Exploring minimalism and circularity with a tiny house prototype
This was an excellent challenge for the kids off all ages. They had to think of what is really necessary and also be smart of using space and furniture for different functions. They also covered energy, water and waste streams. There were a lot of green roofs and wind mills on the tiny houses created! 
Excursion to the Circular Valley (C-Beta)
Together with Circular Valley we created a mini-festival for the kids. In groups they could attend different workshops (how to grow mushrooms with coffee waste for instance) and explore all the circular show cases on the terrain. 
Spindy the Circular Spider
Our second pilot was at a Rudolf Steiner school. This school does not use digital tools (so we could't show videos for example with circular cases) nor does it work with lesson plans. So we created Spindy the Circular Spider that started the programme each day with a small play and a song to inspire the kids and tell the story about circular economy bit by bit. Based on the topic of the day, each teacher brought it further into the classroom. We provided them with back ground info and context and they turned it into an assignment fit for their classroom. The week was a lot of fun and really showed the value of co-creating with the teachers!This second pilot was in Hoofddorp (The Netherlands) in oktober 2017. Around 75 kids from 6-12 years participated in the programme. 
New Makers use Circular Materials!
During our first pilot week we invited three entrepreneurs to work together with the kids. Margreet showed them how to make a bag out of an old t-shirt. Arjen made tables with them from old wood and Joris taught them about the valuable materials within e-waste with a tear down workshop. 
The Importance of green energy
A workshop and tour around the facilities of Eneco (one of the larger energy suppliers in the Netherlands) in Utrecht. Learning about the importance of green energy for a new world. During the day the kids also worked on an assignment to think about what is already going well in households and what could be done to make households even more green. 
Exchange to Make Change Happen: the Trading Fair.
A very simple and fun way to teach kids the value of prolonging a product's life. Let's trade! What is worthless to you is still worth something for somebody else! Each kid brought some stuff to school, got a "KinderKoin" from the teacher and once all the stuff was nicely presented at the stalls the kids could browse and buy "new" stuff with their KinderKoins! This was on Day 3 in Utrecht: conscious consumption.The W on the KinderKoin refers to Warenhuisje.nl, which is another initiative of the Stars Are Circular Foundation: an online and offline platform for kids to trade their used items. For more info go to scoolmakers.com.
Proud to have finished the assignments!
On the left our lesson plan "the present" that asks kids where the gift they got was before it came into their hands and where it is going after they don't use or want it anymore. On the right our plan "the cupboard" to assist them in making an inventory of all the stuff at home they don't use anymore.  This was during our first pilot in Utrecht, The Netherlands in March 2017 with 42 kids aged 9-12

Implementation steps

Visit our Website and Contact Us

If you are a teacher you can visit the lesson menu on our website to see our collection of lesson plans. We hope to grow these resources with every additional project that we do. The plans our free to download and use under a creative commons 4.0 licence, no account required. 

Our lesson plans can be given as individual lessons and do not need to be part of a whole project week. 

If you have the resources you can organise a project week. This does however take time to program and organise. When you are in The Netherlands we can assist you with this. We already have a small group of connectors and we are looking to grow this group of professionals so we can assist even more schools in organising unique learning journeys. 

Become a Connector

Teachers are so focused in making sure the kids they teach get through the core curriculum that it is hard to find the time for the extra's in a school year. Schools are very interested in the topic of sustainability and are open to working with outside parties, but where to find the time to do this, or find the funding for external help. 

As a connectors we do not only help program and manage the project week, we also help to make it happen. If a school is interested, we make a plan together and look for funding when needed with the municipality or companies in the neighbourhood. We also work with volunteers if needed. This stakeholder approach truly underlines that it takes a village to raise a child. 

We are working on developing a program to train connectors. 

For the time being please feel free to contact us! Our main purpose is to spread the circular message and we are more than happy to help you on your way to create similar programmes in your city or country. 

Pictured is Esther de Vries, a connector from the start of the initiative during a symposium on sustainability and circular economy, talking about 7DagenCirculair (7DaysCircular).

Co-Create and Help Spread the Message

We want to do as much as possible to enable educators to talk and teach about the principles of the circular economy. That's why our approach is to make the material freely available. 

You don't have to tell us you are using the material, but of course we look forward to collaborate and co-create! The more feedback we get, the more we can add to our library and also improve on it! 

Make sure to connect with us, if you, like we, feel the circular and doughnut economy is an important message to share with our kids. In our view it is the only way to make this new economy, the new normal. 

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