If we are ever to have a lasting impact on the ongoing health of our planet there has to be a lasting impact on the behaviour of our children and their families. This is exactly what Polesden Lacey Infant School in Bookham has been doing for the last 9 years.
Headteacher Rosie Keedy said, “The overarching aim is to ensure that when the children leave this school they have deep rooted sense of their responsibility to look after the planet and a raft of ideas of all the small everyday things that they can do to help this. We also hope to influence the behaviours of their families”.
Examples of big one-off projects over the last 9 years include building a greenhouse from plastic bottles, developing a vegetable garden with raised beds, making a green footpath around the school hall to celebrate “Green” actions at home, becoming an ambassador for the Green flag project. Creating a wildflower meadow, building a bug hotel, designing and selling hessian bags to use instead of plastic bags, working with Water Aid to understand how precious water is and burying waste and leaving it for a year to see what happens.
Rosie added, “Children produce outstanding work because they are inspired by the idea that they are stewards of their planet and the teachers find it supports their work because the children are so enthusiastic. We imagine that if the school were a stick of rock it would have eco written through it”
The school sees benefits all round. Parents are pleased that their children are showing responsibility, Governors are happy to see the high standards of work going hand in hand with a strong sense of community, and as we consistently spend less than the allocated budget on resources through recycling, reusing and mending, the bursar is also very much on side with this.
Even after this time the school is constantly on the lookout for new ways to look after our environment. This starts with the eco Committee brainstorming ideas and considering how this could translate into meaningful activities for the children. These ideas are then put to the children to give them the opportunity to find solutions. For example, it was the children who decided to stop sending Christmas cards and the children who started recording when lights are left on. One parent had said, “it’s like living with the eco police”
Polesden Lacey Infant School is committed to working with other schools to raise awareness of the valuable learning opportunities presented by the Eco Schools agenda.
Could you help to inspire this in your child’s or grandchild’s school? To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Steve McDonald
This post appeared in the In Transition section of the Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser