Year 2 Boys Demanding Sustainable Change

The young boys at The Scots College Junior Preparatory Campus are taking positive steps to ensure that their school is sustainable. Year 2 students from the College, along with their teachers, are working on converting their courtyard into a garden, creating a space where boys can learn more about composting and grow their own plants and vegetables.

In Term 3 2014, Year 2 Scots Boys studied sustainability concepts. Discussions centred around the waste generated at the Junior Prep Campus and what the boys could personally do to minimise the amount of waste they were responsible for generating. The boys and their teachers audited the playground bins and the boys were shocked to discover the volume of food waste the bins held. From here, the idea of composting food scraps came about and slowly the garden started to grow.

With limited open spaces and grass areas, the College had to be creative about what they could do to add some plant life and composting to a space that the boys could take ownership of. What started with a number of wine barrel plants, a wall garden and a couple of purpose built planter boxes, has expanded to include a free standing tumbler composter for boys to deposit their fruit and vegetable scraps, a worm farm, recycled plastic rugs and old benches that have been given a new lease on life. All aspects of the garden are flexible allowing the area to adapt to changing future needs.

The garden has become a campus-wide project with the boys collecting worm juice to add to water to feed the plants and adding their fruit and vegetable scraps to the compost bins two lunchtimes per week. After School Care students, who used to spend the time between 5:30pm and 6:00pm as a waiting game, now head to the garden in the afternoons to water plants and add the fallen jacaranda flowers to the compost.

Ms Stephanie Stelter, Teacher's Assistant and Chair of the Sustainability Committee at The Scots College said "It has been a very exciting time for both boys and teachers. It is always great to see students take to what they are learning and our Year 2 boys have certainly done that. The changes to the courtyard have paid off and the boys have been most excited to see seedlings sprout, plants grow and change and vegetables taking shape as well as the visiting frogs, butterflies, birds and other insects. The garden is a great place for the boys to learn about life cycles, seasons and the need for all living things to be nurtured and respected."

Dr Ian Lambert, Principal of the Scots College is proud of the boys aim to take what they have learnt and create a more sustainable campus. "A boy's willingness to learn is instrumental to his success. At Scots, teachers encourage a spirit of willingness and focus on building a culture of empowerment in the classroom in which boys can thrive. The Prep School garden is a clear indicator of how a mix of the boys' willingness, teacher encouragement and empowerment leads to positive change"

Located in the courtyard at Mansion Road, the garden has livened up the once barren home of the campus' beautiful jacaranda tree. From the street, passers by can see the planter barrels and wall garden while visitors to the campus can appreciate the recycled benches and outdoor rugs. Most importantly, the garden provides the boys with an area where they can sit and eat, sketch, read or relax in peaceful surrounds.