Sustainability: Preshil Arlington Passes the Core Module Smart Schools Program

By March 10, 2015 Blogs, Sustainability

The Pines Project and Biodiversity at Arlington
Preshil Arlington has passed the Core Module of the AUSSI-VIC Resource Smart Schools program and are now embarking on the Biodiversity module.

A big part of this is the Pines Project. Some children raised the point at our whole school gathering that it was time to make The Pines a more beautiful place to play. With some great ideas from the children about what this play space would look like, we asked Pat to have a look.

This is Pat Bourke, of PJB landscapes. Pat has been working wonders in the Pines through the implementation of his original concept sketch, which includes a dry creek bed, outdoor teaching and learning space and an indigenous garden.

We are at least half way through the process and looking forward to opening the Pines around Winter Solstice time.

‘Phase One’ (detailed below) included: weeding, earth moving, hard construction of service area and roughing out the creek bed. Thanks to all who have helped so far.

We will be putting out a ‘call to arms’ in the near future regarding a working bee and fundraising to finish this exciting project.

Many thanks to Rob (Ford) who gave up his time to drive the Bobcat! He is an alumni and came to Preshil when he was young. He came back to dig up the past and help us build our future.

Pat and Rob worked hard to dig out the creek bed and move the rocks into position.

Thanks to Simon Marriott for providing the rocks, sleepers and crushed rock! We are looking forward to another delivery around Easter time.

This is the view from the top of the Pines.

The next phase will include placing more rocks into the creek bed and setting up a water tank system so that the children can create a waterway. This will also be planted with indigenous plants and there is talk of a ‘bush food garden’.

The bridge to the outdoor teaching and learning space (ceremonial fire pit area) is a real highlight of the design.

An important part of the project is preserving the native vegetation in the area.

Here is the sitting circle.

View from the back of the Pines looking toward Borland Hall.

Another aspect of the Pines Project is weed control and native re-vegetation. The children have been helping with the weeding during kitchen/garden classes.

Biodiversity is a hot topic at Preshil. The garden beds are growing heartily and the children are able to harvest and use the produce from the veggie gardens in the kitchen.

The 6s and 7s have Stampy the tortoise and blue tongue lizards to look after. They like to eat insects.

Their curriculum journey in Biodiversity has taken them to the Zoo and they have studied the diet of various animals. They have also been studying, counting and categorising the insect life around the school grounds.

The 10s and 11s are exploring endangered and extinct animals as part of their project work.

The thylacine is an animal that has fascinated them. Many of the children in the 10s and 11s have been involved in animal welfare programs and organisations to help native animals like the Bilby and the Tasmanian Devil.

The ducks, chickens and rabbits are a key part of life in the Nursery School. The children are able to interact, learn about and look after the animals.

Josh, also a past student, has been building a wonderful ‘rainforest fernery’ in the nursery school and the insect and life this has attracted has been a wonderful learning platform for the children to learn about nature.

The Nursery School is looking better than ever, there has been a wonderful transformation and this natural play and learning space is a beautiful place for the children to connect with their environment.

Here are some of the displays that children interact with in the Nursery School.

Interactive and play based learning is key to the philosophy of learning in the early years at Preshil Arlington.

Inspiration from the natural world is tangible and meaningful for children. Recycling and reusing is what worms do best.

The 8s and 9s have been busy in the greenhouse adding to the school’s edible gardens. It has been wonderful that parents have been helping in the kitchen and the garden and this creates a community atmosphere in which experience and expertise is shared. Here is the greenhouse that the 8s and 9s raised the funds to purchase.

The 5s are very focussed on their garden project and have created terrarium style gardens so that they can see what happens underground as well as above.

Art inspired by ‘garden shapes’ by the 5s.

Collections from the outdoors help us them to explore the designs of the natural world.

They did some research at the botanic gardens and took photos of some things they would like in the school gardens.

They have been looking at birds-eye view maps of gardens and cityscapes.

The children from the 5s have also been designing their own gardens.

They have been comparing the urban environment and the natural environment.

And looking at some creatures that are found in both environments.

Thanks for reading our blog about the Pines Project and Biodiversity at Preshil.