In 2011, Williamstown Primary commenced work on the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic Core Module, with the assistance of a CERES facilitator and sponsored by Sustainability Victoria. The Core module enabled us to celebrate existing sustainable good practice, but importantly, it enabled us to look towards developing new sustainable projects and initiatives, that would allow us to continue to lessen our impact on the environment.
Williamstown Primary has a number of existing projects, which aims to promote sustainable living practices within our school community, such as “Nude Food Mondays”, “Walk to School Fridays”, an Annual “Green Day”, Worm farms, Paper recycling, Water tanks, a Garden program and Solar panels.
Williamstown Primary has a number of integrated units, across the different year levels, which incorporate sustainable themes. We will be reviewing our units of work over the next year, with the introduction of the National Curriculum. It is our aim to introduce new integrated units or modify existing units, to increase the number of sustainable topics covered across the school. We believe children should learn ‘about’ the environment ‘in’ the environment, whilst doing something positive ‘for’ the environment.
Williamstown Primary has been attempting to reduce the amount of waste produced, by encouraging students and staff to bring a rubbish free “Nude Food” lunch to school. Our weekly award and newsletter tips have encouraged the school community to think carefully about the amount of rubbish produced and committed more students and their families into bringing a nude food lunch to school. We have recycling bins in our classrooms and class recycling monitors. We recycle paper and plastic and we also recycle food scraps through the use of our worm farms. On our annual “Green Day”, students in Grade 6 conducted bin audits, by assessing the types of rubbish found. This highlighted the fact that much of what we dispose of in bins and landfill can be reduced and recycled. We will continue to encourage students, staff and the wider community to reduce the amount of waste produced at our school. This will be promoted largely through our “Nude Food” program.
We have been placing small buckets under the drink taps to capture water and some of the students from our student-led environmental action group, the “Teeny Greenies”, were pouring the water captured onto our native, water-wise gardens and our Italian herb garden. We have installed water tanks and the water collected is used to water our gardens. The water tanks are also used to flush the toilets in the PE Hall.
We encourage students and staff to switch off lights when the classroom is not being used, and to close doors, in an effort to keep the heat inside during cold weather. Some classes have computer monitors, to ensure computers are switched off when not in use. We will be reviewing the amount of energy consumed by our school and aiming to introduce practices and initiatives that enable us to reduce our energy usage and carbon footprint in 2012.
Williamstown Primary has been very fortunate to have a gardener over the past few years, who has created a number of water-wise native garden beds. The native flora attracts local birds to the school grounds, which also helps with pest control. Compost from our worm farms is used to fertilise the native and herb gardens. We also have a number of old-growth trees planted around the boundary of the school, which provide much-needed shade and a habitat for a range of native animals.
We aim to include the whole school community in our sustainability programs. Parents, students and staff can become involved and help achieve our sustainable goals through working bees, school incursions, newsletter items, our “Nude Food “ Program, our student-led action team, “The Teeny Greenies”, the School Council Environmental Sub-Committee, and the Teachers’ Environmental Network. The Teeny Greenies”, drive a lot of our sustainable ideas and projects around the school – for they are our greatest change agents and provide so much inspiration to do more for the environment.