Sustainability and the environment are an integral part of our programs at Beaconsfield Upper Primary School. Our school is situated in the environmentally sensitive foothills of Melbourne’s East and has a strong tradition of environmental action, in our school, as well as our community.
Over the past five years, our school has had a major building upgrade, with the many challenges associated with the loss of developed areas in our grounds. This redevelopment, has enabled our students to be involved in the planning and decision making through our Envirokids; students from all levels, and our Junior School Council.
Our journey towards becoming a Sustainable School began in 2007, when we began to look at our schools practises and management, beginning with our water usage. After participating in SWEP (School Water Efficiency Program), water efficiencies were identified and implemented, and tanks installed for the flushing of toilets and the watering of our gardens.
2007 was also the beginning of our annual involvement in The Melbourne Water Youth River Conference, based on the “Kids Teaching Kids” model. A group of our 5/6 students developed and presented workshops, exploring issues such as drought, water recycling, supply and conservation, stormwater, water quality, population growth and the planning and design of cities in the future, to other students from around Australia.
This commitment to educating others via this program, has translated into our annual BUPS Sustainability Fair, a celebration with our community of our sustainability achievements. Each year, the focus of our fair changes, with Waste, Water, Biodiversity or Energy, being the major unit of study across the school. Students use their understandings and knowledge to develop group presentations on different aspects of the focus area. Presentations vary from drama performances, storytelling, songs/dance, quizzes, and power points. These sessions take place all day, with students both teaching other students and watching others present.
In 2009, we began our AuSSI Vic Core Module and in 2010 will commence the Waste module. We hope to complete all modules by 2012.
Other programs operating in our school include:
• Reuse, Reduce, Recycle program – all classrooms have compost buckets, access to worm farms, paper, glass and can recycling. The school community also collects ink cartridges, stamps, corks and mobile phones for reuse and recycling purposes.
• “Nude” food. In an effort to reduce our waste, children are encouraged to reduce their food packaging and in 2010 the school will be totally “Nude”.
• Whole school support of international and federal environmental initiatives such as “Earth Hour”, “Walk To School Day”, “Clean Up Australia Day, “World Tree Day.”
• The Environment Club, Envirokids, consisting of interested students plan and implement environmental action. i.e. propagation of plants, tending gardens, creating posters and signage for the school, environmental campaigns and art work.
• A vegetable garden which we hope to renew at the completion of our building works.
• A strong art in the environment program, with students creating mosaics, sculptures and paintings, to encourage engagement with the environment.