José Canales, director of Escuela Ideo

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

The Ideo School is based on a desire to construct a better future. A group of education professionals – both teachers and personnel from administration and services – along with a group of families understood that, to deliver such a broad objective, the first step would be to change education.

“We seek an education that trains people to be happy, healthy, aware and which supports contemporary global society”, say the founders of the project.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The Ideo School is a secular, multilingual, integrational and mixed centre. Its philosophy is based on pupils and their families playing the leading role in their own learning process. To achieve this, the project’s methodology is based on experience, on touching, on feeling… on “learning by doing”. As well as learning content, the school ensures their pupils learn to relate to one another, collaborate with others and share experiences.

Since this is an educational centre, Triodos Bank classifies this project as within the cultural sector. But the Ideo School also includes significant environmental and social aspects, in a highly innovative way. Sustainability is central to the whole project, ranging from green electricity consumption to the launching of an ecological garden, and integrated into the daily activity of the school and with the participation of pupils of all ages.

The Ideo School also pays particular attention to education in values, under the criteria of equality and integration. This is an inclusive and diverse project. It includes experts in co-education, the integration of children with disabilities, and learning difficulties specialists among its professionals. It even transcends the walls of the school itself. The centre sees itself as a space that is open to the local neighbourhood of Madrid where it is located, and includes local residents and families in its activities.

Examples of its innovative work include the development of personalised and emotional education, teaching in Spanish, English, French and Chinese, the free, responsible usage of ICT via the development of open platforms or the promotion of commuting to the school on foot or by bicycle.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

Right from the first contact of Triodos Bank with the Ideo School’s founders, there was full understanding and convergence of values. After a qualitative and economic analysis of the project, Triodos Bank provided finance for the initiative to help rent the school building in the Las Tablas neighbourhood of Madrid. It is located here on a temporary basis while construction on the school is completed.

Above and beyond the provision of banking services and projects, Triodos Bank recognises the innovative nature of this initiative and its valuable impact on society and in the field of education, which is why, in 2015, the Ideo School was chosen as one of the six finalist projects of the 2nd Triodos Business Awards. This award, which has a prize of EUR 10,000, is intended to highlight the contribution of the companies and projects financed by the bank using money entrusted to it by its savers. For the second year running, a large number of clients and others chose the winning project.

In addition, the Ideo School’s ecological garden has been the focal point for crowdfunding campaigns launched by the Triodos Foundation, through its micro-donations platform at www.huertoseducativos.org. Thanks to the contributions of a hundred donors, the Ideo School has benefited from EUR 3,000 to improve the equipment of its school garden conceived as a further educational resource or share knowledge and values in innovative, participatory ways.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

In spite of its short history – the centre opened its doors in 2013 – the Ideo School has gradually become a model of innovative education in Madrid, and is intensely active in both the education and sustainability sectors.

The School participates, for example, in the European Stars project (Accreditation and recognition of sustainable commutes for schools), included in the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, which aims to promote active travel to work by bike or in other sustainable ways.

What impact has your business had on the community?

The Ideo School serves pupils aged two to 18. That is to say, from the very first pre-school educational stage up to bachillerato (pre-university level) in humanities, science and art, as well as sports and health care vocational courses. Over the 2015-16 academic year, 437 pupils were enrolled at the school: 102 in pre-school, 187 in primary and 148 in secondary.

“The families are with us, we move forward together”, says José Canales, the school’s head teacher. Mothers and fathers participate very actively in the curriculum of their children. This is also helped by the school’s cooperative structure, with a membership of 130 families.

“The cooperative offers the families who choose the Ideo School the opportunity to construct this project directly and effectively, creating novel channels for participation and communication”, explains Canales. Different teaching, educational and cultural activities are organised through the cooperative, as are training courses, such as the Family School, where teachers, pupils and parents participate in joint sessions.

The Ideo School also has an impact above and beyond the educational community and its own families, because many of its activities are open to residents of the neighbourhood. It also works closely with other local, national and even international initiatives, such as the Basurama collective, which specialises in the re-use of waste.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

In the words of the Ideo School’s head teacher, José Canales, “When we went to Triodos Bank, they welcomed us with open arms… We met people who impressed us and I believe our project impressed them, too, because we had many things in common”.

Triodos Bank shares the view that the education we offer today’s children and young people is fundamental to developing a healthy society in the future. It is why the bank supports projects like the Ideo School which, as well as promoting high-quality education adapted to current curricular demands, transmits values of humanity and respect for the environment.

The bank finances educational centres and schools where priority is given to values of tolerance, human dignity and freedom of thought, which reinforce creativity and personal development.