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Sustainable Schools WA

Sustainable Schools WA

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Parkfield Primary


Activity

Parkfield Primary students have been involved in a range of teaching and learning activities that focus upon the waterways in the Leschenault Catchment since 2007. The following scope and sequence has been developed in support of a whole school approach to understanding our local waterways and to assisting in their protection and sustainability.

Years 6 and 7
Years 6 and 7 students have been involved in researching the water quality of the Brunswick River that flows within several hundred metres of the school.
This activity has been called BRATs - Brunswick River Action Teams.

Year 5
This year group has been actively involved with the Crooked Brook Forest where they assess water quality, plant seedlings for rehabilitation and investigate the forest. Many of the activities undertaken by these students are designed as training for the later BRATs activities.
 


Macro-invertebrate investigations at Crooked Brook Forest

Year 4
These students travel further than any other, all the way up to the Harris River Dam where they learn about the dam and the catchment. Harris River is a tributary of the Collie River, higher up in the catchment than the Wellington Dam and the town of Collie.

Year 3
Year 3 classes have visited the Wellington Discovery Centre in autumn to investigate the biodiversity of the forest and the small creek there.

Year 2
The beach and CoastSWaP activities draw these students to Bunbury and to Newton Moore Senior High School’s wetlands project that also provides great learning opportunities.
 

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Teaching and Learning 

Year 6 & 7
Students use skills already taught to them as Year 5s in water quality assessments (pH, salinity, turbidity and biodiversity) and rehabilitation planting. 


Ribbons of Blue activity ~ Brunswick River

Year 5
Students are taught water quality assessment skills (pH, salinity, turbidity and biodiversity) how to undertake rehabilitation planting and plant identification.

Year 4
These students use Water Corporation information in their reading and writing. They learn about the catchment and about the Harris River Dam and water use.

Year 3
Wellington Discovery Centre staff provide learning activity sheets for these students who learn about the catchment and about the biodiversity in the stream through the macro-invertebrate count.
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Year 2
CoastCare and CoastSWaP brochures begin the learning process for these students who are taught how to asses litter impact upon the ocean and about dune care. At Newton Moore Senior High School, Year 10 students walk the Year 2s through the wetlands where they develop their observation skills.

Curriculum Links

English: Reading; Writing; Listening; Speaking
Mathematics: Chance and Data; Measurement; Working Mathematically
Science: Investigating; Communicating Scientifically; Life and Living;
Society and Environment: Investigation, Communication & Participation; Time, Continuity and Change; Place and Space; Natural and Social Systems; Active Citizenship
Arts: Arts Ideas
Values: Social and Civic Responsibility; Environmental Responsibility
 

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Sustainability Action Planning

Governance and leadership
In recent years, principals at Parkfield Primary have been keen supporters/advocates of Education for Sustainability (EfS). Key (L3) teachers at the school also have a passion for EfS and all staff are potential and willing contributors, so as such there is no specific EfS committee.

Currently Parkfield Primary is approaching EfS under an overarching umbrella called ‘Parkfield Learning for Understanding Sustainability (PLUS).

PLUS is developing continually and currently the school is involved in:

 Comprehensive waste management incorporating reduction, re-use and recycling practices;
 Water quality monitoring and related rehabilitation activity;
 Energy management including minimising energy wastage and use of renewables;
 ‘Active transport’ to enhance student health and wellbeing and to reduce car usage and associated pollution;
 A range of highly productive community partnerships that support the school in important ways including providing human and other resources. Parents provide vital support for class excursions amongst other things such as fundraising for EfS activity; and
 Significant student voice and engagement activity which contribute significantly to student health and wellbeing (Values: Self Acceptance and Respect of Self; Respect and Concern for Others and their Rights).

Funding and Support
Funding for EfS teaching and learning has been sourced from a number of areas. Commonwealth Government funds have supported the supply and installation of photovoltaic cells/solar panels. Two local mining companies have supported a range of excursion planning and activities. The Ribbons of Blue program has supplied a vital resource in terms of expert knowledge and support. The Leschenault Community Nursery supplies advice and seedlings.

Planning and Evaluation
An overview of PLUS was unveiled at a School Development day and teachers have been contributing to this overarching plan ever since. Several teachers have been involved in ongoing EfS professional learning and EfS excursions are currently planned and coordinated for interested teachers by key (L3) staff.

Evaluating EfS is about seeking evidence about attitudinal changes. During a recent class activity a Year 5 boy wrote about the Ribbons of Blue Officer:
“He changes the way I think about the environment.”
Another boy asked his teacher when in the forest:
“What sort of people dump their rubbish here?”
Through PLUS we are seeking to help students to become more critical in their thinking about the natural environment. Anecdotal evidence points to the beginnings of success.

Using a ‘gradual release of responsibility’ approach a number of teachers are building knowledge and confidence in order to assume leadership roles as others move on either to other schools or retirement. Input from all teachers is sought in order to adjust and improve the planning for the ensuing year.

 

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Philosophy and Ethos

The current debate raging over climate change/global warming, causes and effects, absorbs many. Discussion over staffroom tables, in homes, at social gatherings and across the media is ongoing. There is considerable evidence to suggest that humans are responsible for climate change, yet there remains scepticism in many quarters. The school cannot claim a definitive answer; however we can suggest a response.

That response at Parkfield Primary is: “Whatever the cause, we can all do something to help!”

Education for Sustainability is a growing focus in the school and will continue to develop. Teachers come to the issue from differencing directions and with different input and ideas. Together we are working toward reducing the school’s and then the community’s negative impacts upon the natural environment.
 

Parkfield Primary
http://det.wa.edu.au/curriculumsupport/sustainableschools/detcms/navigation/action-learning-areas/water/parkfield-primary/

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