A ResourceSmart School
Newham Primary School is committed to the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic initiative, which helps schools achieve environmental and financial benefits by embedding sustainability in everything they do.
As part of signing-on to the ResourceSmart program, the school received a $10,000 grant to improve energy efficiency and make energy savings. We have used the funds to conduct an energy audit, fit self-closing doors, upgrade equipment in the kitchen and fit blinds on windows.
In addition to the benefits to the school, focusing on sustainability will help to improve our community by equipping students with the knowledge and the tools that they need to be sustainable in their own homes and in their future lives.
Recently, Newham Primary School became a ‘5-Star ResourceSmart’, meaning that we have transformed our practice with regards to waste management, energy and water conservation, and biodiversity to the point where we are leading the way in terms of best practice in these areas. Of course we must work to continuously improve and maintain our successes, but this is a real pat on the back for the whole school community and partners who have worked together to attain this achievement.
Sustainability and Science
At Newham Primary School it is not uncommon to walk into a classroom to find a mushroom farm or an insect brought inside at the end of recess by an enthusiastic student.
In addition to the sustainability studies we are undertaking as part of the ResourceSmart modules, a key focus of the school’s environmental and science curriculum is to make use of the opportunity to study the environment at the back door. A specialist teacher takes students for weekly science lessons and the local environment is often featured in the students’ learning.
Living more sustainably has extended to the veggie patch which is now part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. Students have learned about constructing wicking garden beds, composting and when best to plant and harvest.
Partnering with Landcare
The Newham and District Landcare Group formed in 2004 and has had an association with the school since 2006. The group works to revegetate and rehabilitate land and promote sustainability in the community.
Working closely with the school has helped to showcase the work of Landcare, as well as improve the school environmentally and aesthetically.
Parents also work with Landcare to propagate indigenous seeds, which are then sold. Money from the sale of these plants is returned to the school for use on the grounds and for environmental excursions and presentations.
The Junior Landcare Program is delivered across the school and is actively involved in maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity around the school. Indigenous plants, maintaining and monitoring the frog bog and learning about our unique flora and fauna are current projects.
Long-Term Environmental Monitoring
A tributary of Deep Creek runs along one border of the school. As part of our Science Program senior students work with our Science teacher to assess the creek.
The program was started with the support of the Landcare group and the grade 5 and 6 students have been testing the water in the creek as part of the Waterwatch program for nearly 9 years.
Water Watch also teaches students many scientific skills such as the accurate use and reading of scientific equipment, recording of scientific data and interpreting results.