5 Star School

We detected a need for a program that engaged children using hands on activities and found that science was the best tool to help us. Teachers were practising sustainable actions at home and felt it should be passed on to the school community. We began our journey in 2005 by attempting wastewise activities, guided by the Gould League. joining the Planetsavers program In 2006, which included an energy audit and we were on our way. This helped us document our efforts at energy savings and monitor our progress. The Planetsavers Program then became the sustainable schools program and with the support of CERES worked our way through the five modules.

We found that the children became very keen and excited about their contribution to becoming more sustainable and therefore helping our environment.
Our aims were to
  • Make our children environmentally aware of changes they can make to our world and future, by their choices.
  • Empower children to make these choices by developing thorough understanding of energy, its use and misuse.
  • Initiate recycling, reusing and reducing program at school
  • Have children that monitor environmentally friendly practices.
  • Develop a variety of habitats to encourage native species to return.
We are now one of the first schools in Gippsland to have completed all our sustainable schools modules and have become a 5 star accredited sustainable school. This means we have been educating the school and community about living sustainably and how we can all contribute to the health of our environment.
We have reduced our electrical energy consumption by 22% from 2007 to 2008 by taking the sustainable actions recommended.
We have changed procedures and our school environment already to include reusing, recycling and reducing our paper use as daily practices. We collect Printer and toner cartridges, mobile phones for recycling from our school community. Families have taken up the living more sustainably challenge by adopting the ten sustainable actions suggested by the program. Children are much more conscious about not wasting energy and recycling rubbish.
Our environmental program involves the whole school, even the preps, with a HANDS ON approach—children are more involved and interested.
On our annual Planet Arc Tree Planting Days every July the Grade 5 and 6’s work with the Preps and grade 1’s to help with the planting. Children thoroughly understand need for recycling, reusing and reducing for our future because of education program, including printer cartridge and mobile phone recycling.
Grade 4/5 completed rubbish audit and informed rest of school of results and recommendations. The other Grade 4/5 researched and set up a lizard lounge habitat outside their room. Environmental Hero monitors ensure compost buckets are emptied regularly and energy use is appropriate.
The Sustainables program last year invited families to take on ten sustainable actions.
Our school environment has been upgraded to include a variety of habitats that can be used as outdoor learning areas, thus foster understanding and appreciation of nature and lifecycles. Our vegetable garden is thriving and will be shared out to interested families. Habitats completed so far include our butterfly and sensory gardens, lizard lounge and vegetable gardens. Preps have sensory garden to focus on and Grade 1/2 look after new “Butterfly Garden.” All new plantings have been focused on the necessity of using native plants because of low water reliance and native animal habitat provision to encourage native species to return.
We plan to enhance this by invigorating a piece of degraded natural bush area in our school grounds to link in and provide more habitats for native species.
with our children by running our gardening club on Thursday lunchtimes. Working with Cardinia Shire After School Care we have had a water tank installed for use with our vegetable and herb garden. Children have opportunity to see how food is grown, and taste healthy food.
The grade 5/6 children use the knowledge and experience gathered from the environmental program so far to WRITE, PRODUCE, and PERFORM their presentation about why it is necessary to be environmentally friendly promoting the use of alternative forms of energy.
We are proud that we are educating our children and community to recognise the need for environmentally sustainable living. The future is after all in their hands. The school is leading by example to show that taking simple actions can make positive changes to our environment and save energy. Ultimately this will affect and help us all.
By Garfield Primary School|2017-11-06T17:16:48+10:00April 25th, 2013|0 Comments