All year groups have a vegetable and fruit scrap bucket in their classes (I just spoke about it with the class reps at our recess meeting). The idea is that apple cores, banana peels and unwanted carrot sticks can go into the small buckets after every recess and lunch. These are then emptied into a larger bin by class representatives and mixed with shredded paper and leaves to make compost for the Junior School vegetable patch.
The Sustainability Captains are invited to create special days, events and student competitions that encourage sustainable behaviour from the classes. They are responsible for collating all of the information in our fortnightly recycling collection for every class in the JS. They (along with the Environmental Club) collect all the ins form the classes and then sort through, removing anything that isn’t paper, cardboard or empty plastic bottles, to ensure that we are recycling well as a school. They then congratulate the best recycling classes and help the poorer classes understand recycling better in an info session. They are currently organising an event for “National Op Shop Week” which fell in August. Because of a busy schedule with sports day and student led conferences, we have shifted it to September, but they will be encouraging the school to bring in donations.
The Environmental Club meets every Monday at 7.30am. One week they work in the JS veggie patch and one week they do the school recycling. This term they tried their hands at propagation and were propagating fig tree cuttings. They successfully harvested radishes, celery and a large sweet potato at the club this week, while others planted out peas, chives, tomatoes and beetroot seedlings.
The process of learning through service is a key tenet of the International Baccalaureate programme, allowing students to engage with real-world issues first hand, by immersing themselves in problem solving, innovative thought and giving back to the community. In the Junior School we believe strongly in the value of encouraging our boys to contribute to the greater good through various whole school service initiatives. One of our big initiatives launched this year is the collection of bottle caps for recycling. Did you know that when putting bottles into your yellow-lidded recycling bin, not only should they be clean and empty, but lid-free too? So where do the lids go? They are a different type of plastic to the material used to create drink bottles and milk cartons, hence they are preferably kept out of the recycling stream. In the JS, however, we found a new purpose for them: the creation of prosthetic limbs through 3D printing and Envision Hands. Students of all ages have been collecting and bringing in their bottle caps for months now, which are sorted and prepared by Sustainability Captains, Environment Club participants and volunteers for drop off. Some students have even approached local cafes and asked them to put aside bottle caps to add to our collection, creating a real community approach to the process.
Year 3 run an annual morning tea for the residents of Romily House, a sheltered housing facility in Shenton Road. It was sadly postponed this year due to COVID, but I am hoping that we may manage to run it in T4. The guests come, watch the boys sing a French song or perform a French skit, then they are served tea, coffee and biscuits (all in French) by the boys and then they play chequers together.
Year 3 also do a lot of community based stuff early in the school year with their classroom teachers, as part of a unit of inquiry which leads to some great actions. I don’t recall the particulars, but there was a toy swap, a biscuit sale to raise funds (maybe for the dogs home?) and a poster education campaign. If you spoke to Alison Webster or Irene Louden, they’d be able to fill you in more.
Year 4 do an annual beach clean up at Floreat Beach in conjunction with Tangaroa Blue, a marine debris database run out of Margaret River. They hold their official beach clean up in October, but as our holidays fall then, I tend to run it in November. The boys learn about sea creatures and marine pollution problems in French from me and they look at responsibility and habitats with their classroom teachers, then we head down as a team for an hour of collecting and logging every single item on the Tangaroa Blue database.
Year 5 complete the Soldier Letter Project annually as well. This is our fourth year. They learn about correspondence and describing themselves in our French lessons and then write to French soldiers. The first year I sent our letters to Djibouti, via the embassy there, but I never heard back. So now we send to French airmen who are serving at an airbase in Jordan, positioned for airstrikes against Syria. They love the relationship and these past two years they have put SO much effort into the responses! It’s amazing! I am currently working on it again as a unit with the two year 5 classes.