Students at Wesley College Melbourne’s Glen Waverley campus are involved in many facets of environmental education. We are proud participants in the Sustainable Schools Program. A large proportion of our environmental program in the Preparatory School (3 year olds to Year 4) revolves around our four environment groups. These groups have been given names that use aspects of the local aboriginal dialect associated with four geographically distinct Australian national or marine parks. Each group has a focus that coincides with one of the four modules of the Sustainable Schools Program. Click here to view table of the environment groups and their relationship to the Sustainable Schools Program.
The students have been evenly divided into these groups, using family and cross-age groupings. At the beginning of each year, each group elects their own Year 4 leaders and Year 3 deputies. Groups meet regularly to maintain areas of responsibility around the school (including maintenance of the frog pond, garden beds, chicken coop, worm farm, school pets, etc), as well as taking part in activities that encourage critical thinking and action about the way we treat our environment. Recent cross-age projects have resulted in the construction of our very own frog pond and ‘The Scrap Factory’ (the Prep School chicken coop that we use to help reduce our food scraps – an estimated 1.3 tonnes reduction of waste to landfill per year!). Of course, initiatives such as paper, glass, plastic and aluminium recycling, planting native trees and using our Wesley College calico shopping bags when shopping are all second nature to us now. We even collect the rainwater so that we can water the plants we have propagated in our greenhouse and which we use to revegetate our school ground.
To make a real impact on both the sustainability of our environment and maintain the enthusiasm of our students for saving it, we need the assistance of professionals in the areas of water conservation, utilising sustainable energy (harnessing and using renewable sources) and encouraging native flora and fauna to the Prep School. We are very happy to see that the success of our environment program has not only been noticed by our parents and local community, but also by local and state governments. We are recipients of the Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria 2003 award for school environment programs. Hopefully, with the cooperation of other schools, organisations and industries, we can continue to improve not only the environmental education of our students, but the longevity and sustainability of our wonderful surroundings.