Embedding sustainability in Chatham Primary School

Chatham Primary School has a long history of active parent involvement in the school. The school community had had a number of environmental champions over the last two decades, and the interest in environmental sustainability has been reflected in many of the school’s activities during that time.

Early Days
Since the 1990s, there have been periodic sustainability initiatives that led to the establishment of vegetable gardens that have been used as teaching tools, activities with children with special needs, and (in early days) Friday afternoon gardening clubs. At various times worm farms have been established, and there is a long history of garbage free lunch days in which students are discouraged from bringing food that has excessive packaging or ideally, is packaging free.

An initiative to reduce waste at community events, such as the school fair, has been a long time feature of the fair. This involves utilising a Wash Against Waste kit, which is a self contained trailer with enough reusable cups, plates, and cutlery to cater for thousands of people (it does, as it is used at the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival which attracts thousands of people each year).

Establishing a Committee
The establishment of a permanent Sustainability and Environment Committee at Chatham is a demonstration of the school’s long term committment to sustainable communities. This Committee provides advice to School Council in relation to initiatives to boost the environmental sustainability of Chatham Primary School and reduce its environmental footprint. The Committee works with teachers, staff, parents, and students to implement a series of measures to improve and evaluate the environmental sustainability of Chatham Primary School and reduce the impact of the school’s activities on the environment. This involves the investigation of and application to appropriate education based programs or funding grants.

The Committee makes recommendations to the school leadership team and School Council with regard to measures to improve the environmental performance of the school through responsible energy and water use and waste management and the expansion of biodiversity within the school grounds. The committee has developed and adopted a policy governing its environmental sustainability decision making and activities, and has developed a Sustainability Strategic Action Plan for the school. A number of grants have been successfully obtained for the installation of solar panels and water tanks and the establishment of native gardens.

The Committee conducts regular forums in which the community is encouraged to contribute to planning and action with a special focus on participation by students, encourages the use of ‘green’ principles in planning and building developments and has established a section on the website for information on sustainability.

Environmental curriculum
The school delivers a range of units across all levels related to sustainability and the environment in its curriculum. These include pollution and recycling in Level 2; Level 3 studies on habitats and endangered animals, water, weather, packaging and community governance; and energy, conservation and environmental protection in Level 4.

By Chatham Primary School| 2017-11-06T17:15:33+00:00 April 25th, 2013|Uncategorised|0 Comments
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