Croydon Hills Primary School (CHPS) commenced as a pilot school in the Sustainable Schools Initiative at the end of 2002 and by March 2005 had become the first school in Melbourne to achieve 5-star accreditation.

Deputy principal Robyne Byron-Smith said the school was already involved with the Science in Schools program and Sustainable Schools was based on work they were already doing. The school became part of the program in 2003 and has developed a four-year plan of sustainability, including recycling paper and cardboard, plastic and glass and composting many of its food scraps. There has been a positive response from the school community to the Sustainable School challenge.
Ms Byron-Smith said one of the best results of the program was the junior leadership program. Eco-captains were selected from grade 3 and when the year finished the children still wanted to play a role in the program, so they were given the position of eco-mentors so they could continue to lead by example. “We developed the junior leadership program and the students responded really well to the opportunity to be mentors,” Ms Byron-Smith said.
Program manager Glenn Davidson of CERES Environment Park said the program was about moving beyond awareness. “For instance, if there is a school excursion to a zoo and they learn about soon-to-be extinct animals, the program teaches them to try and actually do something about it instead of just being aware of the problem.” Mr Davidson said the program had a “three-pronged attack” involving school curriculum, how the school operated and engaging other agencies outside of the school. It as a holistic approach towards sustainability in schools but Mr Davidson said the program also tackled wider community issues. “When the school leads by example, people in the community see there are serious practical considerations involved, such as money saving.”
Croydon Hills Primary School has led the way, making a commitment to the environment across the curriculum, making it the third school in Australia to achieve full accreditation.
The school met the criteria to gain full Waste Wise Accreditation in 2004 after attending Waste Wise workshops and being judged the winning Primary School entry in the Litter Free Grounds / Rubbish Free Lunch Challenge for that year.
In November 2005 Croydon Hills was judged the Primary Waste Wise School of the year.
Since then Croydon Hills have been involved in many different sustainability activities:
• Mulch has been placed on gardens in order to conserve water.
• Staff room and classroom composting has been implemented, and reverse rubbish for construction activities.
• Heavier bins, with heavy lids have been installed in order to decrease litter.
• Student energy monitors have been given the responsibility to turn off lights.
• Passive solar techniques are being used through the use of sun blinds on windows. Tree planting and established gardens have also created more shaded areas.
• A new team of Eco Captains has been appointed within Year 3. Interested students had to complete an application, to say why they were interested in becoming and Eco Captain, with over 30 applications being received, representing around one quarter of the Year 3 students. Year 4 Eco-Mentors assisted in the selection process in early Term One.
• A group of eco-leaders spoke to incoming prep parents at an orientation session about rubbish free lunches, healthy eating and displayed their ICT projects.
• All toilets and some of the taps at the school have been up-dated over July 2006, which should realise significant water savings with dual flush etc. The CHPS Meter Monitors have recommenced collecting meter data, to compare with last year’s statistics, to see how much water is being saved.
• A mural as part of the year 5 Visaul Arts program has been completed on the Garden Shed in the Farm area. This shed was recycled when it was saved, and later re-erected by one of our parents following life as our first Physical Education equipment shed.
• The CHPS Environment Committee is currently employing a part time farm hand. It is only for a few hours per week, but together with a group of interested students each week, important maintenance and development for compost bins, vegetable gardens and chooks is effected.
Croydon Hills Primary School has led the way, making a commitment to the environment across the curriculum, making it the third school in Australia to achieve full accreditation.
By Croydon Hills Primary School|2017-11-06T17:15:55+10:00April 25th, 2013|0 Comments