JMPS Primary has been participating in the Eco Schools Programme for 5 years. We achieved our second Green Flag in June 2013. The Programme is aimed at teaching children about the benefits of being Eco friendly. Some of the school’s key aims are embedded within our Eco Code.
Over the last 5 years a range of Eco topics have been covered and these have helped us to achieve the Green Flag status on three occasions. Some of these topics have included:
Biodiversity (the variety of life on Earth – from tiny bacteria and insects to the largest living animals such as the Blue Whale. Humans are also part of biodiversity too.)
Our Year 6 class studied Biodiversity as they utilised the Irish Aid sustainability project to discover plants/trees/animals that have been classed as ‘threatened’! To raise awareness of the different ‘threatened’ species, the class produced a drawing and factsheet to share with the school and wider community.
The Eco Committee and Parents team have visited the local parks and tourist attractions on several occasions to plant daffodil bulbs/trees, litter pick and undertake weeding. Their contribution in this task should help Enniskillen to be a more bio-diverse place.
Year 7 studied ‘compost’ in depth and produced an information sheet. One of these sheets can be found on the Eco Notice Board located at the entrance to our school garden.
Biodiversity throughout the school grounds has also been supported on Spring Clean day and integration in to the curriculum. Every child from the Reception to Primary 7 has the opportunity to plant something on these Focus days that will help attract as much wildlife to the playground as possible.
The school has adopted a ‘Saving Energy’ culture. Each class has been appointed a monitor to ensure that lights and computers are switched off when not in use. The monitoring of the amount of energy used by the school has also recently been recorded by Year 6. Y7 pupils visit the caretaker weekly to ascertain the electric meter readings. They are then recorded onto the Eco Notice Board to share with the rest of the school. We also, after a long wait, had 6 solar panels fitted to the school.
The school has developed a zero tolerance attitude to litter both within and outside the school. A Litter Picking Team /Rota has been set up which goes out daily into the playground. They do a super job to help ensure our playground is clean and tidy.
The School Grounds topic has been a major development as part of the Eco School programme. A wildlife garden has been developed at the back of the school which includes a path that is suitable for wheelchair access. The garden has become more diverse with the planting of a large range of plants and vegetables, as well as apple trees. Apples are already starting to appear! Bird boxes have also been erected. To support Year 6, African masks were made out of recycled material and art produced using recycled products.
An Adventure Trail is a new addition at the front of the school. Each class is timetabled to have the use of the Trail and it is thoroughly enjoyed by all children. Pupils also spend time playing games that have been painted on the playground, ie hopscotch and snakes and ladders.
All children recently had the opportunity of designing a safety ‘travel’ message and picture, which would help to ensure the safety of everyone entering or leaving the school.
We participate in Walk to School week per year to promote a healthy lifestyle for children. When children walk to school they are encouraged to follow the safe routes outlined in the school Travel Plan. Pupils are also encouraged to cycle to school with the installation of cycle storage at the front of the school.
Recycling is a major focus and each class has a recycling bin for paper and compost. Daily Year 7 pupils empty it into a central blue bin based at the school. Pupils and staff are also encouraged to recycle plastic bottles. The Council makes a collection of these recycled materials every week. We also recycle any unwanted clothing via the Cash for Clobber. A room is allocated for the continual collection of clothes. This is emptied regularly and the items recycled are given to charity and the school receives money in return.
A clear message is conveyed throughout the school to save water whenever possible. ‘Saving water’ posters have been created by children and are displayed in all areas of the school. A class has been involved in creating a ‘tips on saving water’ leaflet. Following a successful fundraising by members of the Eco Committee, they purchased a number of water butts that are now used to recycle water. The recycled water is used to water plants in the school garden 7 poly-tunnel. Water is studied by another class as a World Around Us Topic. Our Y6 pupils interviewed a visitor from our link school in Malawi to discuss the comparison of the use of water in Co Fermanagh with that in an African country.
We have been exploring habitats in P5 and we have discovered that lots of different animals like to live in our woodland and school garden. We found ants, slugs, snails, lady birds, centipedes, beetles, woodlice, birds and we even saw a frog. We also found lots of wild plants. It was lots of fun! We then listened to the story of the Charlottes web. We sat outside and listened to the trees blowing in the wind and the birds singing. It was fantastic and showed in our beautiful descriptive writing this week. Spring is definitely here!
Last month we thoroughly enjoyed using maps. We had a trip to around the school to find answers to a maths trail.
We went outside into the playground and worked out the perimeter of the playground, a bench, the soft play area and the climbing frame. It was incredible fun walking around the different shapes and working out the distance all the way around the different shapes.
In JMPS, we created plastic flowers and leaves for the display. We then tidied our very own bug hotel and wormery. We had a discussion on the diversity of creatures living around the locality and the various habitats which can be found.
We also discussed the need to look after these habitats in assembly. Then we had great fun finding sites around the school grounds to place our bug hotels to provide a cosy retreat for a variety of creatures. We will have a look at them after half term to see what creatures have taken up residence.
Four staff have attended Enhanced Cycling Proficiency Officers and pupils from Y5-6 have worked with The local council on completion of cycling skills.
Our task during the half term was to create bird feeders to attract birds to the local area. We then hung them in key areas and are now going to monitor how much seed is being eaten by the birds (hopefully not squirrels!)
As part of our TSPC work on Emergency First Aid, (Heartstart) we have been learning about what to do if you discover a conscious or unconscious casualty. We learned how to perform the recovery position and have discovered that we can phone 999 or 112 in European countries for the Emergency Services. All helpful survival skills!
Update Term 3
This term we have applied for our updated GREEN FLAG, this means everyone should be helping us to achieve this. We are still reducing litter and keeping our litter picking rota going. This term P6 and P7 will be in charge of this.
Hopefully many of our parents are viewing our newsletters and letters online as this has helped us dramatically reduce all paper usage in the school.
Saving energy in school is very important to us – we need to remember to switch off all our lights and computers when they are not being used.
Update April 2015
As we are in the process of trying to renew our GREEN FLAG this year, we have looked at reducing litter and waste, reducing energy and water, and at ways to travel to school (Walk to School Week covered this).
In Jones Memorial Primary School, we aim to follow the Eco-Schools programme. This makes environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of our school for both pupils and for staff and engages the wider community.
The Eco-Schools programme helps schools to:
– Improve the school’s environment
– Reduce litter and waste
– Reduce energy and water use
– Devise efficient ways of travelling to and from school
– Promote healthy lifestyles
– Encourage active citizenship
– Build strong partnerships with a variety of community groups
– Develop international and global links
Our Eco Committe is made up of 1/2 members from each class and helped by Miss Sheerin as well as Mrs Isherwood and our Caretaker, Mr Graydon.
Milo Wong, Kasey Johnston,
Lisa Balfour, Elijah Wright, Jack Corrigan, Ben Corrigan
Ezra Wright, Nicole Stronge, Olivia Beavis, Riley Donaghy
Tristan Johnston, Madeline Hamill, Paris Mc Veigh
Walk to school:
Plants and the natural world:
Walk to school: