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At Kingswood Primary School we have a dedicated Sustainability Team led by teachers, Miss Elise Hawkins and Miss Alex Baxter. Over the course of 2017, Elise and Alex have dedicated their time to making positive changes to Kingswood Primary School and the greater community. Their efforts hope to inspire our younger generation to help care for our environment, by implementing what they have learnt at school and in their own homes.
To help keep Kingswood Primary School on track, The Sustainability Team created a School Environmental Management Plan (SEMP). This plan outlines Kingswood Primary School’s commitment to sustainability. It highlights our achievements to date, as well as a plan for what we would like to achieve in the future.
The SEMP has been developed as part of ResourceSmart Schools, which we joined in 2011. ResourceSmart Schools is a Victorian Government initiative assisting schools to embed sustainability in their environment. Our school will take action to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainability Victoria have funded us to participate in ResourceSmart Schools and receive facilitation support from CERES.
Some drastic changes have been put into effect by the sustainability team at Kingswood Primary School to improve the way we recycle, reduce consumption and reduce our energy usage.
At the beginning of 2017, Kingswood only had one star on our Resource Smart Schools program, the Core star. The Sustainability Team have led the school in achieving our 2nd star, the ‘Energy Star’. We achieved this star by taking measures to reduce the energy use at Kingswood, by using low energy light bulbs, turning off the lights when we are not in the classrooms and using energy saving appliances in the staff room, canteen and kitchen. The 3rd Star that we are now working towards is the ‘Waste Star’.
At Kingswood we have been working hard to dispose of our waste in more sustainable ways. The next step in this process, is to start recycling soft plastic rubbish because soft plastics cannot be recycled into normal recycling bins. Soft plastics include items such as biscuit packets, plastic bags and chip packets.
Soft plastic recycling bins have been placed in the hall foyer. Parents and teachers are encouraged to bring in their soft plastic rubbish from home to place into these bins. The contents of these bins will then be taken to ‘Redcycle’ to be recycled into outdoor furniture. Our soft plastic recycling would not be possible without our parent volunteers who generously collect the soft plastic and take it to a supermarket where it will be recycled. In 2018 the Sustainability Team began putting soft plastic collection bins in each classroom. Each classroom has multiple bins to recycle food scraps, soft plastic and a bin for paper and recyclable containers. Kingswood also has a clothing bin in the hall for families to drop off clothes they no longer need. As each member of our school recycles their waste in the appropriate bin, we work towards achieving our Zero Waste star.
Achieving these goals requires a whole school effort. At Kingswood Primary School we appoint student Environment Leaders. Who participate in the i Sea i Care program. This is an innovative leadership and communication program that focuses on marine education.
The Year Six Environment Leaders, along with Miss Hawkins and Miss Baxter, attended the Big Green Schools conference at Carrum Primary School in 2017. They learnt about sustainable initiatives at Carrum Primary such as caring for goats and maintaining a bird aviary, hatching chickens, sustainable cooking and care for the school wetland area. The visit inspired the students to gain lots of ideas to implement at Kingswood Primary School.
As part of the conference they were asked to brainstorm an idea for a new sustainable initiative that could be implemented at Kingswood and make a poster about it. Their idea was to start the GREEN TEAM lunchtime club. They then went to the second Big Green Schools conference in September where each school gave a presentation about the sustainable initiative they have started.
Lead by The Sustainability Team and our Environment Leaders, The Green Team aim to educate the students at Kingswood Primary School on how to better look after the environment. Through their participation in i sea i care, the Environment Leaders shared their knowledge of what happens to the rubbish on the ground and how it might end up in the ocean and affect marine life and the aquatic ecosystem. The Green Team conducted a litter audit of the school. They were shocked to find 73 pieces of rubbish in the junior area, 55 in the middle area and 89 in the senior part of the school. The Green Team made a video which they showcased at assembly to remind Kingswood students to put their rubbish in the bin. As encouragement to our students to care for our School, Kingswood has implemented ‘Rubbish Busters’. Buckets and tongs are available for students to use to collect any rubbish they find around the school, they are then rewarded with a Kindness Card, and a ticket to go into the draw to receive a voucher for the Canteen.
The Sustainability Team has made a large effort to decrease the rubbish coming into the school, with the biggest cause of waste being from student lunches. The school would like to work towards becoming a zero waste school and has implemented Nude Food Day. Our Nude Food Tuesdays were developed to encourage students and parents to eat well, live well, and eliminate all unnecessary packaging and wrappings that come into the school. Essentially, students bring their food NUDE (without wrappers). This reduces the amount of rubbish that goes into our bins, that goes into the ground and pollutes our planet. This is an amazingly simple concept that really empowers the children to create change. Our ultimate goal is to remove the rubbish bins from the yard altogether. This can be done by using reusable wrappers, compartmentalised lunch boxes and reusable lunch bags.
The Green Team has not only taken responsibility of caring for our school yard, but also the greater Kingston community. Families and staff from Kingswood Primary School participated in Clean Up Australia Day at Braeside Park. They volunteered their Sunday to help clean up our little slice of Australia, and were able to collect 8 garbage bags full of waste. The students who attended not only enjoyed their day in the park, but also the thought that they are making a positive difference in the world around us.
The school has also been involved in Parkdale Beach Patrol. A local beach clean up group who meet once a month on Sundays, to pick up rubbish from the Parkdale Beach. At the last beach clean up, the group picked up 34 kg of rubbish.Now all of that rubbish won’t end up hurting our marine animals and the environment.
To ensure the students at Kingswood are not only protecting our environment from future harm, The Green Team participated in National Tree Day to help our environment grow. The Kingswood Green Team worked together to plant up to 50 trees around the school yard. These were kindly donated by the Kingston Council. All students who attended were highly enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoyed the planting process.
All the planted trees are Australian natives and hopeful they will encourage native wildlife to our school grounds.
The Green team have also been working together with our Garden Specialist on an exciting new project to make a beautiful new sensory garden for the Prep and Year One students. The Green Team have already started planting native plants and flowers in this area.
The success of the Green Team would not have been possible without the support of our wider Kingswood Community and a Junior Landcare Grant. The money from this grant has paid for mini shovels and gloves for the Green Team to use when working in the garden, various plants including succulents for the students to plant in their upcycled planter pots, as well as animal nest boxes and outdoor plants. The sustainability leaders will hand the nesting boxes to the 2018 leaders to paint and assemble with this year’s Green Team.
The Sustainability Team have worked hard to ensure their innovative ideas on how to reuse and recycle can benefit our wider Kingswood Community. By applying for a Local Leader Grant they planned to create a Little Free Community Library at Kingswood Primary School. The idea was accepted as a Top 10 finalist for a $1000 grant through the Moorabbin Glen Eira/Moorabbin Kingston Leader. The idea with the most votes would win a grant to assist in funding the community project.
Miss Hawkins and Miss Baxter attended the awards ceremony at the Langham Hotel in the city. They felt very proud to be representing Kingswood Primary School and privileged to be amongst such inspiring community groups.
It was also rewarding to hear about the community project ideas from people all over the state. Kingswood ended up in the top 3 for the Moorabbin/Kingston area. Even though we didn’t win the grant, Nagle College VCAL group from Bairnsdale have kindly offered to build us a Little Free Library. We are very grateful for this partnership with a country school and can’t wait to see the finished product in the school yard for our Kingswood families to share books.
What an achievement the Sustainability has made in only one year. 2018 brings the opportunity to improve Kingswood Primary Schools impact on the environment and protect our greater community too.