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Engaging with the new school communities

3rd June 2016 BY: sustainabilityhub@ceres.org.au


We recently provided an introductory session for the Principals on the school’s partnership with CERES Environment Park. All of the principals were familiar with CERES so we just gave a brief history of the park from the imagination and determination of the community 34 years ago
to the education and training work we do today with over 220,000 students and teachers each year.

Our presentation focussed on the environmental education CERES will provide at each school for 5 years through the ResourceSmart Schools program and the framework of education for sustainability. The session was a great opportunity to explain the benefits in becoming an environmentally sustainable school from saving money, engaging students in the environment, improving staff and student performance, involving families and other members of the community, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to view a copy of the presentation.

We referred to the ESD strategies of the PPP schools as offering a range of ways teachers can use sustainability features and data as learning opportunities for sustainability education. CERES will provide professional development to teachers and other school staff to optimise the connections between the school design and learning and teaching in areas such as science, maths and technology.

Our session was interspersed with short engagement activities to provide examples of the hands on learning we do with schools. Our Big Picture cards provided discussion about other school examples, the energy tools demonstrated that the room was heated to around 6 degrees higher than recommended, and the lux levels were bright enough to use only the natural lighting.

We finished off with a reflection activity for Principals to describe a sustainable school idea on an ‘Imagine’ card. These were collected and provided wonderful statements such as ‘Students taking the lead, teachers as activators, and parents and the broader community as partners’.

We look forward to supporting each school in their vision for sustainability and to a long and productive partnership with the Principals and the school’s community.

Over the past few weeks information sessions have been held for the communities of the new schools. CERES attended the community forum event for the prospective parents and teachers of ‘Epping North Primary’ to learn all about the school, design and what the school will be offering. It was estimated that close to 200 people attended and were very engaged to hear about the new school coming to their neighbourhood.

The community forum event was hosted from 3:30pm – 7:30pm at Epping Memorial Hall, and broken up into two presentation slots, allowing for prospective families and teachers to attend one of the sessions which suited their time schedule best.

In the room, key partners of Learning Communities Victoria were there to speak to prospective parents and teachers about the school site and what will be offered. After the presentations, partners had expo stalls to further answer questions.

The event was a huge success! Presentations from Amber, Watpac, Clarke Hopkins Clarke, YMCA and CERES discussed how they are involved with this school and how they will be supporting the school from beginning to operation of the school. Anthony Simone, the Principal at ‘Epping North Primary’ was able to speak with parents about his vision for the school and how innovative it will be in regards to learning, utilising the space correctly and hiring dedicated staff to meet the needs of the school’s vision. We also had a guest appearance from Bronwyn Halfpenny, the MP for Thomastown.

 

 

The response was very positive and the general attitude in the room was the anticipation of the school’s opening and becoming an amazing hub for the community of Epping.