The last few years at Clifton Hills Primary School in Kelmscott, have seen the completion of many exciting projects that contribute to children’s wellbeing and help them to care for the environment. Much of this work has begun in the Early Childhood Centre, who are keen to spread their sustainability message throughout the school.
Kindergarten and Pre-primary children can often be found snacking on parsley, mint, fruit or vegetables from their gardens, the produce varying with the seasons. Children help with planting vegetables from seed, as well as weeding and watering. Their gardens are open to older children at the school, who love to visit the garden they worked in when they were younger.
Recently, the Early Childhood Centre has been focussing on reducing waste. They are expert re-users and the children in their classes know that many items are not rubbish, but can be used for another purpose. Craft activities, classroom storage and even some playgrounds are made from reused materials. When something can’t be used again within the school, children sort the waste into things that can be composted, added to the worm farm or recycled. This year students from their Year 5 and 6 classes participated in a Waste Audit to see exactly how much lunch waste their school produces each day. As a result Trash Free Tuesday was introduced to provide a further incentive for reducing school waste. The class which has the least waste on this day awarded a certificate made from recycled paper.
With the help of many parents, the school has created a large and busy Naturescape area.The area includes wooden stepping blocks, logs, a rocky river bed, branches to build with, a tree swing, a stage and an outdoor classroom. Another highlight is a tunnel, featuring a Wagyl which was painted by a parent and the students. The Naturescape was cheaper to build than a traditional playground and doesn’t require expensive specialists to make any repairs. Children from Kindergarten to Year 6 race to use the Naturescape during breaks to play, climb, run, build and pretend. Staff have noticed a reduction in conflict between children as they are purposely engaged in play and often solve problems together.
Loose Parts Play
Crates, cylinders, boxes, tubs, canvas and wheels are some of the items you can find in the school’s Loose Parts collection.Loose parts involve open ended play for all students offering a range of materials, often items that would otherwise be discarded. It provides opportunities for children to work together make decisions, problem solve and invent. Clifton Hills PS students have made rockets, go carts, ball runs and a lolly making machine amongst many other things.
Always after a new challenge, The Early Childhood team and their students are currently building a mud kitchen from reused materials. Other sustainability projects are sure to follow…