St Kilda Primary School has a strong commitment to becoming a more sustainable school. Helping our children to understand the impact their actions have on their environment is very important to us as we know they are the custodians of the future.
Click here to see a video our children helped make highlighting their thoughts and feelings about what we need to do to be active, global citizens. This video shows that our children already have an understanding of the world and are ready to work out ways to solve real life problems that impact our planet.
We have taken a number of actions over the past few years to reduce our impact on the environment and involving our community is important to us. These include:
Communications strategy: part of our work has been to reduce the amount of paper that we use. To do this we have progressed from a weekly paper newsletter that used almost one and a half reams of paper each week to a pdf version available online to now a blog format where we can communicate anytime, anywhere. To reduce the number of notes coming home (and getting lost!) we now send reminders and dates through Konnective (an app which sends messages directly through to our families’ smart phones.)
Paper recycling program: is monitored each week by children in Year 3 to ensure that all classrooms (and the office area!) recycle or reuse paper. Over the course of this year we have again reduced our paper consumption overall by almost half!
School Recycling Depot: established this year with strong support from our Parent Green Team, this is a place where our community can recycle soft plastics, batteries, mobile phones and printer cartridges. In November this year, as part of National Recycling Week, we are planning a whole community ewaste recycling drive.
Nude Food: we encourage all children to bring unpackaged food to school. By thinking about the type of food we put in our lunch boxes we hope we can reduce the packaging and waste that goes to landfill. We even eat inside at recess and lunch time for 10 minutes so that we can make sure any rubbish we do have goes home.
Lights Off Lunch Times: the aim of this program is to increase the awareness of our community about energy usage and to ensure that all lights and electronic devices are turned off or set on an energy saver setting when the classroom is not being used.
LED lights: these were installed across the school in June 2015 to help us make a significant reduction in our energy use.
To encourage our children to be in touch with nature and the world around them we encourage them to play with the natural materials that they find in the yard. The imaginary play and the worlds they create are quite beautiful.
We have established a number of different areas in our yard that allow our children to explore the different aspects of nature:
Our wonderful Productive Garden is one of these areas. It is maintained by our Preps, their teachers and volunteers from our Parent Green Team. The Productive Garden forms a key part of the learning for all our children and allows them to experience first hand the joy of planting, growing and harvesting food.
One of our most ambitious projects was our Zero Waste Fete in 2013 and our 2015 fete was zero waste too!! We had a range of strategies to make this happen through having a Wash Van (for the cups and plates from our Devonshire Tea stall), compostable plates, cups and cutlery, a reverse vending machine for any cans or bottles to having compost bins available for left over food. Our Year 5 children were very active in supporting this initiative as part of their leadership program which had a strong focus on sustainability. They wrote letters to all the stall holders asking them to consider how they are going to make their stalls waste free and acted as sustainability advisors on the day of the fete and provided information about what to do with any waste to all visitors.
Of course all of this couldn’t happen without our wonderful Sustainability Coordinator. Two teachers have held this role (Amanda Loder and Laura Keays) and they have worked tirelessly to ensure we reach our goals. They have been supported, of course, by our Sustainability Captains (Year 6 children) and our School Council Buildings and Grounds Sub Committee. In 2016 we have been joined by Anabel Norbury two days a week to provide valuable support. The team have worked together this year on our Resourcesmart applications and we have been given two more stars in 2016 for waste and biodiversity.
We also work closely with the EcoCentre, which is based in St Kilda Botanical Gardens, not far from our school. They have provided amazing support as we work through our ResourceSmart accreditation process as well as leading the Year 5 Leadership Program this year. If you would like to find out more about the EcoCentre and become either a Basic or Green Member click here.
To top it all off we have been recognised as ‘Waste Warriors of the Year’ by the City of Port Phillip at the EcoCentre Sustainable Schools Festival 2015 and 2016 and we are finalists in the ResourceSmart Education Awards (Community Leadership Primary School of the Year category).
or to have regular updates go to our Sustainability Blog
Some useful sites that you might like to visit with your child to explore sustainability:
Feedback from our community
Thanks everyone for making taking care of the environment such a big part of our children’s learning at St Kilda PS. I’m a sole parent with full care of my daughter, and I work 4 days a week in Dandenong – so I haven’t been able to participate as much as I’d have liked. This makes me feel conflicted as it such a crucial urgent issue, and here I am becoming one of the people who are ‘too busy.’ I am sooo happy to hear Soraya coming home having things we do at home reinforced at school – thank you so much for picking up my slack! She has learnt lots and is very passionate and enthusiastic about being good to the environment.
All the best