Some images from our Green Schools Action Day, June 8th, 2018
To launch the Green Schools work for this year the Green Schools Committee held a Green Schools Code competition. As with other flags, we asked the children to come up with a catchy line or phrase and illustrate it. The entries judged to best represent our work towards our next flag will become our Global Citizenship Code and will be displayed around the school as well as forwarded to the judges of the Green Schools Flag.
Winning Codes –
In support of our Global Citizenship awareness raising for our next green flag, the Green Schools committee has also initiated a ‘low packaging lunch’ idea. They are asking children to try to avoid putting extra packaging into their lunch boxes, when possible, to save on transport, waste and recycling costs.
Second class and Senior Infants are looking at global citizenship in terms of community and have begun their awareness of what community means by having a ‘community walk’ around our local area. They looked at some of the local businesses and the signs in the area, met some local people and became aware of how communities work to help each other. As well as seeing the human and built environments they also had a look at the natural environment in our community and considered why we need to care for it.
Sixth class got off to a great start in their global citizenship work with two very interesting talks.
Senator Neale Richmond spoke to the class about his work as a senator and gave them some ideas about how they could become active global citizens. Below is a summary of Senator Richmond’s visit by a member of sixth class.
Senator Neale Richmond came into our classroom to tell us about what he does as a senator. We learned a lot so I’ve decided to share some information with you.
First he told us how we can be global citizens ourselves. We can be global citizens by throwing away less plastic or recycling it more often, working younger, taking public transport, planting trees, doing clean-ups more often and encouraging further education.
He also told us about population. He said that the population is growing rapidly because people are living longer due to cures and medicine, not because people are having more children.
Úna NíDhubhghaill (mum of Méabh (6th) and Cillian (4th) spoke to the class about the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. The class enjoyed the talk immensely and felt that Úna helped them to understand many of the complex issues involved. They got very involved in their follow up tasks which helped consolidate their learning.
See our Spring Action Plan below
|Introduce Plastic Free February||Green committee
|Global Citizenship Awareness re-survey to be completed by all senior classes||Green Committee with Anne/Patricia
And class teacher
|Garden group work party||Anne and garden group parents||Feb 2018|
|Spring window box planting||2nd class and garden group||Feb 2018|
|Classroom recycle bin check||Green Team and Recycling Ambassadors make sure all bins are labelled correctly and that each class has a scrap paper box/drawer||Jan/Feb 2018|
|Irish Water Poster competition||Water Ambassadors to publicize||February 2018|
|Walking bus||Travel Ambassadors to do surveys and Mairead (travel Rep)||Every Friday
Day of Action to Celebrate the food and cultural traditions from around the world
|National Spring Clean||Whole School Community||April 2018|
|Plastic Free February||Anne, Mary C, Una to put photos and stories on website about efforts to reduce plastic||Feb 2018|
|Plastic Free Feb||Second Class to construct block graph of number of plastic free lunches each day in Feb||Feb 2018|
|Plastic Free Feb
Get rid of individually wrapped school sandwiches
|Clodagh to purchase and organize large sandwich boxes for each class||Feb 2018|
|Plastic Free Feb||5th class to complete letter writing project to businesses||Feb 2018|
|Energy Watch!||Energy Ambassadors to complete spot checks at break times on energy waste||Ongoing|
|Plant Watering||Biodiversity Ambassador to care for indoor plants||Ongoing|
|Recycling: Batteries||Recycling Ambassadors and Anne to collect batteries and organize pick up from Weee||Ongoing|
|Leave No Trace Workshop||Senior Classes||Winter 2018|
|Garden Shop||Anne and 6th class Maths group to sell pumpkin seeds/pots/compost as a 2nd class Maths station||Feb 2018|
|Newspaper planting pots||Anne and SEN groups to make biodegradable paper pots for spring seedlings||Feb/March 2018|
|Book Swap: recycle and reuse books||Jan and Whole School to do Book Swap to celebrate World Book Day in an environmentally friendly way||March 2018|
|National Tree Day||Tree planting in school grounds||March 2018|
Plastic – How long will it last?
As part of our Green Schools Theme – Global Citizenship-Litter and Waste, the Green Team have decided to focus on our use of single use plastic packaging. For the month of February we will focus our attention on reducing the amount of plastic wrapping we use in the school community.
Some classes are choosing to do this by recording the number of plastic free lunches in the room. Our Green Recycling Ambassadors will survey our bins to notice and measure improvements we make. They have already noted some areas for improvement.
Suggestions for home involvement:
- Share photos of clever tips for plastic free/package free lunches. We have many children who bring zero waste lunches so it would be lovely to share these tips with the community.
- Share photos or stories of attempts to do plastic free shopping
- Photograph changes in the recycle bin over the monthWe will share these photos on the website or Green Notice Board.We will be discussing and sharing ideas at school assemblies and in class.The committee have noted all the brilliant actions that families are already doing in their homes to tackle this problem- no single use plastic straws, cutting down on takeaway drinks, buying package free fruit and veg etc. We’d love to share your tips!The Green motto for waste reduction from the Zero Waste movement is
- ROT (COMPOST)
Great News! Newpark Secondary School students are driving a campaign to become Ireland’s First Single Use Plastic Free School! Many of our RETNS past pupils are Newpark students so we are very excited about this initiative.
Thanks for the photos and tips we’ve received so far! Please keep them coming!
Some more tipsOne family says:‘We use Green Earth Organics – http://www.
greenearthorganics.ie/– for our weekly fruit/veg/eggs order and they use very little plastic in their boxes.’‘We have also just made our first order of toilet paper/kitchen towels/tissues from Who Gives A Crap (interesting name!) – https://uk.whogivesacrap. org/
Their products are recycled or made from Bamboo and the packaging is plastic free.’
Below are some further samples of our ongoing work.
Junior Infants have been telling us how they can lend a helping hand to the world!
We took par in Leave No Trace Workshops and Spring planting
The Global Goals Game created by 6th class. Playing the Global Goals Game.
Blue Star Action Day. Handshake for Europe as part of the Blue Star Action Day.
Green Schools Expo 2016. Our recycled dinosaur took pride of place! A visit from the President at Expo.
Green Schools Bear Naming competition
Last term our Green Schools committee held a competition to name our adopted bear which was part of the WWF Adopt a Polar Bear fund-raiser which the children initiated. The winner of the competition was announced yesterday – the winner is Ruby Hudson (Senior Infants) and the winning name is Crystal.
In RETNS we believe in benefitting as much as possible from outside expertise to enhance children’s learning. To this end we were delighted to avail of a Pollinator Workshop this week. The workshop was organised by Dean Eaton, Environmental Awareness Officer with DLRCC, and was facilitated by Leif Barry, an Environmental Scientist working with the Heritage in Schools scheme. The aim of the workshop was to inform children of the many species that make up our pollinators and to give them current information on the 98 species of bee pollinators found in Ireland. Leif also told the children how they can become a citizen scientist so that everyone can help our pollinators in Ireland to survive and thrive.
Leif was very impressed with the children’s interest in the subject and with the very insightful questions asked.
Dodder Defenders presentation of Certificates
Last year our Green Schools committee took part in the Dodder Action Project. The aim of the project was to celebrate the River Dodder through enjoyment of its biodiversity, through active learning and citizen actions for its protection. The committee developed the project in school by promoting the Dodder Monsters competition, in which we had a number of winners from the school. In order to thank the students for working to raise awareness of the Dodder and their commitment to become Dodder Defenders, the committee was invited to the Civic Offices in September 2017 to receive certificates and to City Hall to view a multi-media exhibition in the vaults which traces 1000 years of Dublin history from the arrival of the Vikings to modern Dublin.
Action Plan Autumn-Winter 2017
|Global Citizen Art Project – recycled fabric bows||October 17|
|Walking Bus||Every Friday|
|National Tree Day; Forest Learning Activities, whole school||October 17|
|Scarecrow Project – all classes||October 17|
|Action Day: Community Clean-Up – whole school and local community||Date to be decided|
|Action Day: Intercultural Day||Spring/Summer 18|
|Global Goals – Senior Classes||Winter 17/18|
|Form a new Green Team||November 17|
|Re-survey senior classes on Global Citizenship Awareness||October 17|
|Our New Green Code – whole school||November 17|
|Bin Talk:Waste Awareness – all classes||November 17|
|Classroom recycle bin check||Ongoing|
|Global Citizenship – active caring for others and the environment – assembly discussion, whole school||Autumn 17|
|Garden tidy/weeding – Lunchtime garden gang||Novemebr|
|RETNS Garden Group meet up – open to school community||October 25th|
|Pollinator talk||Autumn 17|
|Naming Polar Bear – all classes||September 17|
Our Green School Flag Pennants
Our next Green Flag – Global Citizenship – Litter and Waste
Work is ongoing towards our next Green Flag with lots of awareness raising work on global citizenship and what it means to be a good global citizen. Work in this area is being integrated with our Learn Together Ethics and the Environment strand, SPHE and our work on the Blue Star Programme, which itself integrates many subjects.
We had a very interesting and informative talk from Victoria White of the Dodder Project, who raised awareness for the children on how human actions, namely dumping litter, are destroying our local environment. Victoria showed slides of the many aspects of nature and wildlife that exist on our doorstep along the banks of the River Dodder and helped them become aware of how they can all do something to help stop this problem.
As a follow-up to Victoria’s visit we decided to take part in the Dodder Monster competition, where children were asked to create their own monster from types of litter that can be found along our river banks. There was a fantastic response from the children to the competition, which not only brought out the creative talents of the children but also further helped to develop children’s awareness of how litter and irresponsible activity is destroying so many aspects of our local environment. Hopefully, as we continue to be involved in the Dodder Project, children will develop a strong social conscience, be motivated to look beyond the school walls to their wider community, and become empowered to become true global citizens of the future.
Our 5th Green Flag for Bio-Diversity Awareness.
We are proud to announce that we have received our fifth Green Flag for awareness of bio-diversity. Our flag-raising ceremony was held on Friday October 9th, 2015, when our guest speaker was Ruth Gai-McKeever from An Taisce. Ruth reminded the children of all the work they had done to achieve this flag and congratulated the children and in particular the outgoing Green Schools Committee for all their hard work and dedication to the enrironment and to preserving bio-diversity.
Thanks to the great efforts of the RETNS Green School Committees and all of the staff and children in the school, we are now working towards our fifth green flag, biodiversity. In 2013 we were awarded our fourth green flag for transport, and our commitment to using a greener mode of transport has continued with our support of COW/WOW day and, more recently, the introduction of RETNS walking bus.
In the last two years we have been working towards a greater understanding of biodiversity and what it means to us and our planet. When we began our work only 37% of children knew what was meant by the term biodiversity. The same question was asked in our recent survey and the figure has grown to 91%! In the intervening time children have been learning all about biodiversity through their everyday work in school and from visitors to the school such as “the beeman” who told them all about the secret life of bees and Eric “the birdman” who provided some fascinating facts about birds. Sixth class pupils have created a habitat map of the school grounds while Fourth class pupils have worked with “Mouse” from OWLS (Outdoor Wildlife Learning and Survival) and have been planning a bug hotel. Some of the younger children have been fascinated by pollinators or the “flower helpers” and this has been reflected in their drawings. They have also been studying all about mini beasts. Many children from all classes took part in the Nature Diaries Project and have been keeping nature diaries since the beginning of the school year in which they have been documenting, through photographs, drawings and writing, plants and animals they observe in a variety of habitats.
Through all their work children have come to understand the ‘web of life’ and how we are all inter-dependent and to realise more fully our need to respect all of nature. Our winning slogan for our biodiversity theme encapsulates their learning;
Don’t let the species become extinct, in this world we are all linked.
The Green Schools Programme is an international environmental programme designed to teach good habits to children and parents about the environment. It is a partnership between An Taisce, the local authority (in our case Dun Laoghaoire/Rathdown Co. Council) and the school. The driving force of this project is the Green School’s Committee comprising of pupils elected by their peers, the principal, a teacher, an ancillary staff member and a parent. In 2005 we were awarded our first Green Flag for our efforts in reducing the amount of rubbish going from school to the landfill. The Green Flag is renewed every two years and in 2007 we were awarded our second flag for our efforts to reduce energy usage and wastage within the school. The next stage to be awarded is our third flag for water awareness and conservation; we started this process in September 2010. Green Schools website
In September 2011 RETNS was awared a certificate and some book tokens in the Tidy Schools in our Community 2011 competition. Read all about it here.
Since September 2010 the whole school have studied water awareness and conservation, click on the following links to see projects undertaken by the various classes.
Jacquie from the Green School Committee interviews Chad and Karina the designers of the logo and picture.
The Spring term newsletter team did a great report on the WaterDay held in the school on 18th February to highlight water awareness throughout the school
5th class did a very comprehensive project on how much water the whole school uses each day.
6th class tested wheither you could clean a car with only 4 litres of water. The tests were carried out on the staff cars. Each car owner payed €5 for the privilage of having their car washed. The money raised from this exercise will go to green projects in the school.
4th class worked on scientific water experiments which were demonstrated in front of the class. They have also studied what happens to wastewater after it leaves your house.