In March and April, CERES Education participated in site visits of schools being constructed for the State Government’s New Schools PPP (Private Public Partnerships) Program.
The visits took place in six schools – Casey Central East Primary School, Heather Grove Primary School, Cranbourne South West Primary School, Epping North Primary School, Mernda Central P-12 and Mernda South Primary School. Each site was a flurry of building activity with concrete slabs, mains water and steel structures in place – and the outline of the school forming into the shape and feel of future classrooms.
Along with the indoor learning spaces, the outdoor learning areas and environment are being realised as opportunities for student learning interaction and engagement, as well as an environmental resource within the schools.
An example of this is the water management design across each school. To ensure ground water is utilised on the school site, channels or swales are cut into the landscape. These purpose built channels will move ground water to irrigate garden beds which contain selected planting and natural elements such as rocks, and will create living ecosystems for learning and teaching places. As the water moves through the landscape, filtering occurs through a series of rock, sand and planted beds, cleaning the water before it is discharged from the school site.
These schools have the potential to be realised as a “3D textbook,” a term referring to utlising the school as a design model for transforming the physical environment to knowledge about environmental education.
CERES Education are very excited to be working with the New Schools PPP Project which has a high level of ESD (Environmentally Sensitive Design) and consideration to the outdoor and natural environments as spaces for learning and teaching. Students can develop skills and knowledge for understanding sustainable management of natural resources and real-world systems through activities such as; measuring and monitoring energy use, water and waste management; and increasing biodiversity and understanding of living systems through developing habitat gardens and growing food.