Department of Education

Sustainable Schools WA

Sustainable Schools WA

Wirrabirra Primary


An Enterprise Education program is a key component of our environmental (sustainability) programs in the shape of fresh food stalls, held fortnightly outside the Parents’ Centre. 

Environmental monitors harvest produce from our vegetable gardens on Thursday mornings with the help of parents and staff. Classes that have been looking after the gardens and animals for the previous week will collect ‘Worm Wizz’ (organic fertiliser from the worm farm) and eggs and store them ready for sale.

Students and parents set up the stall on Thursday afternoons and sell Worm Wizz, castings for the garden, compost, mulch, eggs, fruits, herbs, seedlings, vegetables and donations from community members. Students keep a ledger of money they raise so it can be used to purchase equipment for other environmental projects such as vegetable seeds, straw, pellets, bird houses and other gardening equipment.


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Teaching and Learning

The Enterprise Education program provides a multitude of opportunities for students to achieve learning outcomes related to the following (action-based) activities:

• Estimating and weighing produce to calculate mass;
• Calculating the cost of produce and giving change;
• Adding the profits made from the stall and calculating the ledger balance;
• Measuring the perimeters, volume and area of garden beds in preparation for planting;
• Measuring growth of plants; and
• Using produce from the garden to calculate fractions and weight.

• Tracking the life cycle of plants;
• Studying the seasons and researching which plants germinate at different times of the year;
• Monitoring changes in fruit;
• Investigating interdependencies between living species;
• Testing water quality and soil Ph; and
• Making weather predictions and observations.

• Writing requests for support though newsletters;
• Writing recounts for newsletters;
• Writing letters to various companies to request donations for gardens;
• Writing features for Burke’s Backyard Magazine;
• Using oral language skills to converse with customers;
• Using oral language skills to advertise through assemblies;
• Researching worm farming and information to care for chickens and birds; and
• Using catalogues and the internet to decide which products to buy with profits.

Health and Physical Education
• Making informed decisions about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.
• Raising awareness of the differences in taste between organically grown produce compared to produce grown with pesticides and fertilisers; and
• Learning about the benefits of healthy eating and how it affects our body’s functioning and internal organs.

The program provides a great opportunity to achieve outcomes linked to Active Citizenship within the Society and Environment Learning Area as well as connect student learning to the core shared values as follows:

• A pursuit of knowledge and commitment to achievement of potential (empowerment);
• Self acceptance and respect of self (initiative and enterprise);
• Respect and concern for others and their rights (compassion and care; open learning environment);
• Social and Civic Responsibility (participation and citizenship; contribution); and
• Environmental Responsibility (conservation of the environment; sustainable development).

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Sustainability Action Planning

Wirrabirra Primary has been working towards achieving whole school sustainability since 2006, and various programs are carried out by different classes. As part of our whole school approach we have a worm farm, a chicken run, sensory gardens, permaculture gardens, dry cell battery collection, ring pull collection for ‘Wheelchairs for Kids’, composting, recycling systems, zero-waste lunch boxes and environmental monitors.

Our sustainability committee has written a strategic plan that outlines our current initiatives, plans and proposals for the future. As part of this we have an Environmental Coordinator and environmental monitors who oversee all of the school’s sustainability programs.

Wirrabirra Primary has been a Waterwise School since 2004, a Waste Wise School since 2006 and an AuSSI school since 2008. We have ‘environmental education’ and ‘sustainability’ developed and promoted school-wide.

To date we have received a number of grants to assist with setting up our sustainability programs including a Healthways for School grant, a Waste Wise Community Grant, a Waste Wise Infrastructure Grant and the Seedling Grant.

Our chicken run is supported by the Parents and Citizens group and we have a waste minimisation plan that has been approved by the School Council. The plan supports the concepts of ‘Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ throughout the whole school.

We have been successful in promoting our sustainability activities and practices to the wider community through newsletters, displays at local shopping centres, articles in local community newspapers, displays at the Perry Lakes Gardening Show 2009 and an article in Burke’s Backyard national magazine.

The Environmental Monitors have designed a white slip that awards students with house points if they are seen doing the right thing. This may include, zero-waste lunch boxes, placing litter in the bin, using the compost and treating the environment with respect.

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Philosophy and Ethos

Wirrabirra School supports a whole school approach to sustainability. We encourage our students and staff to pass the message onto the whole school community and we now have many families embracing sustainability concepts. People are consciously rethinking their actions and incorporating ‘Reducing, Reusing and Recycling.’ Community members have incorporated chicken runs, worm farms and permaculture gardens into their gardens.

We believe that this action-based learning approach will provide students with the values, skills and behaviours to prepare them for the future, instilling in them a respect and concern for others, and the natural environment.


Wirrabirra Primary

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