Saving the World (2010)
1. Lowering the consumption of water and electricity at our school.
We aimed to reduce our water and energy consumption by taking a number of approaches. Our first step was to appoint 2 children from each of our classes, from Foundation 1 through to Year 6, as Eco-Warriors. We were unanimous in our decision to include our youngest pupils, as this gave us an opportunity to embed Eco principles into our school, and build on them each new academic year.
Once elected, these pupils are responsible for ensuring the lights in their classroom are turned off when their classroom is not in use, and closing doors to maximise the effects of the air conditioning in each classroom. In addition, they are also responsible for checking all washrooms for running taps, and reporting any environmental issues e.g. water leaks to be investigated. Our Eco-Warriors are actively encouraged to think of new ways we can further reduce our energy and water consumption. The idea that our garden plants should only be watered in the early morning and evening to avoid water evaporation, has already been suggested and put forward.
There are currently 90 Eco-Warriors at Royal Dubai School. Competition for the coveted roles is fierce, and as a result we are now electing new Warriors each half term to ensure maximum pupil participation. We have been very fortunate in this particular area to have had guidance and support from the pupils of our link school Chorley New Road Primary School in Horwich, England. www.3rsrds.blogspot.com.
Each class also has an Eco checklist displayed in their classrooms to remind them of their duties.
2. Innovative and creative ideas to help in the growth and spread of conservation awareness at our school.
Having implemented small measures to save energy and water consumption in school, we wanted to focus on more global issues to further raise awareness within the school and the wider community. We launched our school campaign under the slogan ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, with an assembly, prepared by one of our Year 3 classes, addressing these issues, and outlining their visions for the future. We chose ‘Reduce, Reuse Recycle’, as by adopting the 3R’s, energy consumption can be drastically reduced.
To find out the current level of awareness of these issues, we formulated a questionnaire and conducted a survey of our parents.
We also ran a whole school poster competition, again, under the slogan ‘Reduce, Reuse Recycle’.
Our Music teacher, has been instrumental in raising awareness of these issues through the medium of song.
In addition, our school has adopted the phrase of ‘Everyday Superheroes.’
In the children’s weekly S.E.A.L. sessions, key stage two children have been introduced to issues of environmental concern by reading books such as ‘Whaddya Mean’, by John Burningham and ‘The Iron Man’, by Ted Hughes. They have also seen and discussed video clips of ‘The Wombles’, the litter picking pioneers of recycling, from Wimbledon Common in London.
In their Art lessons, pupils have been working to create works of art from reusable materials.
To support our campaign, ALL classes at Royal Dubai School now have a separate waste basket for paper. This is collected and taken to be recycled.
Children are also encouraged to bring their own drinking water bottle to school, to reduce the usage of drinking cups.
To further reduce our usage of paper and the energy it takes to produce it, we have begun trialling a form of electronic communication between the school and our parents. Every year group now has blogspots. Here, parents can view online the work their children have produced, and read about exciting upcoming events without the need for paper. This method of communication has proved to be very successful.
We have been amazed and delighted at the response our campaign has received, from both pupils and parents. Our parents have been very vocal with their thoughts on our efforts so far. We are hearing that most of our parents are now making small changes in their own homes, mainly due to the watchful eye of their children. This is what we on the Conservation Council, and all the staff in school are most proud of, our children have developed into articulate and effective communicators, who are taking their message forward, leading by example, to protect their future.
- 3. Organising an exhibition or a hall/gathering place to spread conservation awareness.
We temporarily turned our parent café into an Eco-Area. We chose this area as it has the most ‘through traffic’ throughout the day. Here, we situated recycling paper boxes and created an informative and eye catching display to raise awareness of our campaign. The display included lots of energy and water saving tips from our own pupils as well as images of our Eco-Warriors.
Throughout the parent café we left leaflets and books that cover local and global issues, for visitors to read.
Secondly, to create a more permanent statement of our commitment to raising awareness of conservation issues, ALL of our key stage two pupils and staff members throughout the school, have worked together to produce a ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’, mural in our key stage two corridor.
The target audience for both of these exhibitions was and is all of our pupils, staff and parents, as well as visitors to our school.
- 4. Field trips to communities and neighbourhoods to spread conservation culture.
As part of our Eco Science Investigation week, our Year 3 pupils took part in a Beach Clean Up. Accompanied by their teachers, the purpose of the day was to visit a public and private beach, to see the differences between the two, in terms of cleanliness and safety. During the morning we met a lady from Emirates Diving Association who taught us all how to be Beach Data Detectives. Before moving onto the beach, the children were given a number of questions to answer that they later discussed in school. On the beach we were given an environmental lesson from Mr Saunders on the ‘symptoms of pollution’, before heading off to put our newly acquired knowledge into action.
We were very careful to protect ourselves with the correct hand wear before we started our ‘clean up’ of the public beach. All of the staff were impressed with how much of the advice the children had taken on board during their ‘lectures’. Not only could they differentiate between the different types of waste that could be collected, they also knew the natural defences that Mother Nature employs to protect her shorelines.
Although there was no formal audience planned for this trip, the very nature of the location we chose ensured we were highly visible to an indirect audience of holidaymakers and day trippers on the beach.
- 5. Designing and production of conservation awareness material/publications.
www.3rsrds.blogspot.com is the web address for the blogspot which provides a new media outlet that showcases all of the work we have been doing to raise awareness of the environmental issues the world is facing today. It has been designed to include helpful web links to conservation organisations such as the Sparky and Splashy Club, the latest news on events we are participating in, as well as details on future events we may be hosting e.g. our planned Fashion Show using only reusable materials. It is also a platform for pupils to raise their own environmental concerns, such as the plight of the South China Tiger raised by one of our Year 4 pupils.
This form of new media was chosen to target as wide an audience as possible. Our pupils were keen to spread their message globally as well as locally, and they have succeeded in doing so.
- 6. Spreading conservation awareness through media outlets.
We are very excited to announce that we have managed to grab the attention of 7 days Newspaper, Khaleej Times and Gulf News here in Dubai. The children at our school have been on various radio stations letting people know their thoughts on eco living. We have won the conservation award for a better tomorrow.
- 7. Participation in various activities and community events.
In addition to our planned participation in the ‘Can Collection Drive’ organised by the Emirates Environmental Group.
Every year the whole school takes part in ESI (Eco Science Investigation week) whereby each year group learns about a different environmental issue and then shares it with the rest of the school at the end of the week.
During this week the children also participate in the Eco fashion show where outfits are made at home from plastic, used paper etc.
- 8. Spreading conservation culture and awareness through performances.
To further spread awareness throughout our school our children perform in assemblies relating to environmental issues to help spread the word and motivate and encourage children to continue recycling and protecting the environment.
Year 1 performed the song ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’, a story about global warming, and gave a speech on ‘Outside Our Window’. They also made a display of the work they had done.
Year 2 performed ‘The Recycle Rap’ and showed us all the things they had made using recycled materials, like their globes and glow sticks.
Year 3 reported on their ‘Beach Clean Up’
Year 4 reported their research findings on Endangered Animals. They also spoke about the different ways they had found out their information, such as designing their own ‘Endangered Species’ card game and completing crossword puzzles. They also came up with a huge list of exciting websites that we have put on our blogspot.
Year 5 showed the work they had done on Pollution and Climate Change and talked of how we can make a difference by making small changes to our lifestyles
Year 6 reported on how they made it rain! Using an experiment based on the water cycle, and demonstrated just what a big difference we can make to our energy consumption by making very little changes.
The target audience for this assembly was our pupils and their parents. It was wonderful to see all of the hard work that the pupils had put in to their topic. More importantly, it gave each of the individual classes the opportunity to share their work with the rest of the school, everyone learning 7 topics, not just their own.
Or newest venture is the ‘Eco film Festival’ whereby children will have the opportunity to make and produce their own miniclip based on the theme of eco sustainable living.
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