Living Planet Community: Jasmina Gustin – Following her dreams
By Stephanie Morgan
Jasmina always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She studied Child and Youth Studies at Brock, and then attended teachers college in Windsor. Soon after, she was en route to her hometown of Oakville to work as a toddler teacher at The Chartwell House. Eventually she moved up to a kindergarten classroom, and finally to her most recent position.
The Chartwell House is the perfect place for Jasmina. She is passionate about the environment, and the intention of the school is to integrate environmental aspects into education. Jasmina proudly states that children “learn their ABC’s, 123’s, and recycling! We’re keeping nature involved in education.” Built on an old strawberry farm in a heritage home, the school is a very special place. The playground is all natural, classes often take place outside in the shade of the tress, and there is an onsite chef who cooks with zero processed food – some of which comes from the school’s edible garden!
Jasmina’s hobbies don’t stray far from her work. Her passion is to implement awareness in children about the environment. In her extra time, she hunts for ways to make the environment important to people that don’t really think about it. She also looks for fresh ways to offer something unique as a teacher. With all of this searching, it’s no surprise that she came across WWF’s Living Planet Community! Jasmina prides herself on taking as many actions as possible and encouraging her students to do the same. Among other things, they recycle, use cold water for laundry, and conserve electricity. A lot of time is spent outside so that the lights, heating, AC, and computers can be shut off.
Not everyone has a consistent answer to that ever-present question about their future, like Jasmina. Her story is an inspiring one filled with passion and commitment. She truly believes in her students: “We love any opportunities where we can show just how comprehensive and concerned children can be when it comes to taking care of our environment, and being very much able do their part. I always believed that if they can pronounce the characters and names of things from Star Wars, then they will definitely understand the ‘cause and effect’ of something like global warming.” Hopefully with Jasmina’s leadership, when students at The Chartwell House are asked what they want to be when they grow up, their answers will always include ‘protectors of the environment’, regardless of their profession.