Monday, March 30, 2015

Living classrooms with garden based learning

Kristin Stayer has posted a fantastic article about Garden Based Learning at the Edutopia website. Click on the Edutopia image below to access the article.

The article points out how gardens in schools:

  • function as living laboratories
  • enable students to connect with global issues through the natural resources of earth
  • teach students sustainable practices via composting and waste reduction 
  • connect students with literacy, numeracy, science and many other areas of the curriculum.
You can see the variety of learning activities our students have been part of in the following mosaic:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sustainability in the school - St Francis of the Fields

St Francis of the Fields, - To Live, Learn and Grow in God’s love

Recently, while on a visit to the Sandhurst Diocese as part of a Catholic Network Australia meeting of representatives from Diocese across Australia, we had the opportunity to visit St Francis of the Fields Primary School, Strathfieldsaye.

Located on an old dairy farm and surrounded by creeks, St Francis of the Fields Primary School embeds sustainable practices and programs throughout the school and its community. The school’s vision in this area is for ‘students to develop a respect for our natural environment and the need for sustainability of this gift from God’.

Children have hands on experiences with gardens and animals and spend 2 to 5 weeks in a school environmental program in their on-site Environmental Education centre.

During our visit we saw the Oasis Kitchen Garden with numerous chooks running around.

This permaculture garden area encompasses a hot house, worm farm, recycling area and more. The pig pen housed the largest pigs we had ever seen: saddleback pigs.

An article in the Bendigo Advertiser provides more details about the school's environment centre: St Francis of the Fields’ Open Environment Learning Centre.

The many environmental developments and sustainability highlights of St Francis of the Fields are listed on the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) Sustainability Hub website.  St Francis is a 5 star sustainable school.  

This website and its parent site also provide a number of great resources for educators. See the web links listed at the end of the post.

The environmental curriculum is based on:

- waste management and reduction

- water saving awareness

- energy reduction in school, transport and in the home

- community and cultural sustainability

- appreciation of the natural environment, especially the flora and fauna that live in and around the two creeks that border the school.

The other highlights of our visit were seeing the recording studio and open learning spaces. Additionally, the opportunity to see how the Yr 5 and 6, 1 to 1 laptop program provides the flexibility for students to capture, integrate and share digital stories of their school environment in learning about ‘community’.

The CERES website has a range of education resources that provide great ideas for schools to integrate sustainability through their curriculum.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

.... with Daffodils all in a row!

The students now know that bulbs look like onions, need to be planted with their roots pointing down and they need nutrients and some water to help them to grow!
Why not plant some winter vegetables and bulbs, with your children over the Easter holidays and have a conversation about the thrill of growing your own fresh food and marvel at the miracle of new life rising from the soil?  Happy Easter!   

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sweet Peas!

St Patrick’s Day – 17 March, is traditionally the day to plant Sweet Peas but any time now before the cold weather sets in, is also good, so the students at St Bernadette's gave it a go!