Summary of Hartwell’s Core Module.

Lead Contact: Michael Lee – Hartwell Primary School

Alex Parrington

Phone: 9889 4012

School email:,

Greening Hartwell.

Reuse the past, recycle the present, save the future.

Embedding Sustainable behaviours and practices within the whole school curriculum.

Focus For Core Module:

This project implemented sustainable practices and programs at Hartwell Primary School that permanently changed the schools teachers, students and communities understanding and future planning for water, waste, recycling, biodiversity and energy management. The aim of the project is to give the children at Hartwell ownership of the programs and to become the driving force behind them.

Key Words:

Sustainability, Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSi), water conservation, waste management, re-cycling, biodiversity, pedagogical change, imbedding principles in the curriculum.

We studied the appalling waste of resources and poor understanding of the problems we faced among our own school community. Due to our school re-build, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to include sustainable features in the planning stage of the building. By successfully applying to become part of the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSi) we had a framework to implement change through both curriculum and school practices.

The project was vital to put in place structures and programs in conjunction with the new school buildings. Linking the sustainability principals into the curriculum with physical and visual changes in the yard such as water tanks and solar panels, makes all the difference to the children’s perceptions and behaviours going forward. It empowers them to be part of making a difference in the world and helping improve our environment.

In 2009, Hartwell Primary School became involved in the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSi) program run in collaboration with ResourceSmart Victoria and CERES. We have completed the first part or Core Module of the program, achieving our first ‘star’. Our aim is to become a 5 star accredited ResourceSmart Sustainable School.

We visited other schools such as Knox Gardens and Armadale Primary School to share knowledge and compare our sustainability practices. Some of the things we have put in place this year include: the installation of water tanks and a bladder under the new school building, Bokashi buckets in classrooms to collect organic waste, the establishment of compost bins and a worm farm, a seasonalvegetable garden, the collection of overflow water from the drinking taps to use on the garden beds, a sustained and on-going recycling program including the collection of paper and cardboard waste three times a week and the introduction of Council collected co-mingled waste (bottles and cans). We have planted over 100 indigenous plants in the school grounds and have a Green Team in the school that are responsible for daily weather reports advising the children of suitable clothing for the following day in an effort to reduce heating and cooling costs. Every day we have NO Power Hour at lunchtime where all non-essential lights and computers are switched off over the lunch break. To let the school community know what we have been doing we added a Green Page to the school website which has sustainability news and links to useful environmental websites. To measure our improvement we have been monitoring our water, energy and paper use as well as the amount of land fill and recycling we are generating. To celebrate our commitment to sustainability we had a Green Day! We all dressed in Green and a guest speaker from the Yarra River Keepers spoke to the students about the Yarra River and its history. This year we took part in the ResourceSmart Rubbish Free Lunch Challenge with our Nude Food day and successfully decreased our lunch rubbish by almost 50%. All in all we have worked very hard together to make Hartwell a much more sustainable place to learn.

Since starting the project, we have noticed a marked change in the behaviour, awareness and attitudes of both the staff and the students at Hartwell. The students are now reminding the staff and each other of sustainable practices such as turning off lights and collecting water under drinking taps. They have taken responsibility for watering the vegetable garden and our new native plants. Teachers are more aware of resource use (such as paper recycling and waste management). Sustainable practices are included in curriculum planning throughout the school. The sustainability committee, consisting of members of staff and the parent community ensure a continued development of sustainable practices at Hartwell Primary School. In order to evaluate the project we monitored our energy consumption via the School Energy Tracking System (SETS), we had a successful rubbish free lunch challenge day, we have noted an increase in the inclusion of sustainability issues taught within the curriculum across the school as well as using the AuSSi program Core module checklist to monitor our progress.

By setting up our Sustainability Committee and holding monthly meetings prior to school council, we engendered great interest and in turn, involvement by parents in working together with staff and the children for change. Collaboratively, we have made physical changes to the yard to enable permanent change for sustainability. By involving the children in these sustainable practices such as watering programs, recycling paper, planting indigenous plants and composting, these activities and the underpinning principles behind them become self perpetuating. Through the committee we revised, created and updated policies in relation to current environmental practice including biodiversity, recycling and waste management and sustainable purchasing.

At the last school council meeting we had our policies and action plans ratified and our school Vision Statement, Reuse the past, recycle the present, save the future, approved. This will now be added to all new school stationery. The School Strategic plan has a Sustainability section included in it where the Year 5 students have a leadership role in running and maintaining the Sustainable programs running across the school. This will ensure the continuing success of the program that we set in place this year.

We have now completed the Core Module requirements and are planning towards attainment of another of the prescribed AuSSi “star” modules such as water, waste or biodiversity. We hope that the practices put in place by the parent group, students and staff through the development of this project will continue to grow and develop.

By Hartwell Primary School|2017-11-06T17:17:22+10:00April 25th, 2013|0 Comments