New classroom in nature

New classroom in nature

When the doors opened at the new St Mary MacKillop College this month, primary students also had a new and unique classroom to enjoy - without any doors at all!

In fact Primary science teacher Miss Louise Cranley has even left out ceiling and walls with the completion of a sustainable garden and outdoor teaching space.

"There is so much science for kids to explore and discover outside a regular classroom," she says.

"It made sense to create a real outdoor classroom with all of it at their fingertips."

After nearly ten years of hard work, a dream that began with a worm farm in an old fridge has developed into an ongoing sustainability project for the school, with composting bins, a vegetable garden and a range of onsite recycling activities. And all of it enables primary students to get involved and gain a hands-on understanding of how sustainability works, relating it to the recycling process at work in all classrooms and eating areas around campus.

With support from Head of Primary Mr Ben Doyle and other teachers, successive grants from WasteWise in the last two years and an injection of funds from the outgoing St Joseph's School Board, the plans have finally begun to take shape over the summer break.

Consecutive 1st place prizes of $500 from a National Water Week competition for students in 2013-14 contributed to the installation of a rainwater tank, and donations of trees from Toyota were planted by Year 1 and Year 5 students thanks to Mrs Moira Pusey and Geocatch. These finishing touches have helped to create an attractive and functional space for primary students to learn all about sustainability first-hand.

"The aim is to model and develop habits of sustainability and environmental care," Miss Cranley says.

"When we explore solutions to environmental issues on this small scale, we not only show kids what they can achieve now, but we inspire them as our future leaders to come up with even better solutions on a global scale."