PlanetSavers come to Kew Primary School

planetsavers-4As part of our $10,000 Energy Efficiency Grant for Victorian Schools, Mark Smith from PlanetSavers Australia came to Kew Primary School to complete an audit. This audit is the first step in identifying energy waste and it also provided a list of costed recommendations that could see our school reduce energy waste by over 25%.
Sounds like a good idea? Well even better was the way PlanetSavers engaged with student leaders to first assist with the audit itself and then develop strategies and processes for the school to act. Continue reading

Let’s talk ovals – Part two (the grassy edition)

The open forum on the ‘School Oval Redevelopment Master Plan’ is just a week away (Wednesday 11th June at 7pm, at the school) – hopefully you’ve had an opportunity to look at the discussion paper or the information posted on the notice boards next to the library.

The Buildings & Grounds sub-committee (B&G) have investigated a range of options for the management of the school oval and will present research undertaken for the three most relevant options at this stage (ranging from ‘do nothing’ to new synthetic or grass surfaces). B&G are open to other options which may end up warranting a similar level of investigation and all options are being considered in relation to broader school priorities, fundraising and a long-term, holistic plan for the oval.

Last week, convener of the Buildings & Grounds sub-committee (B&G), Stewart Waters, gave us his thoughts on synthetic surfaces. This week, I welcome Kath Phelan, a parent member of the B&G sub-committee and mother of Oskar in grade three and Moritz in grade one, to provide some information on grass ovals.   Continue reading

Let’s talk ovals

Testing the track at a Doncaster primary school

Testing the track at a Doncaster primary school

Last week you would have received a notice about an open forum to discuss the ‘School Oval Redevelopment Master Plan’ on Wednesday 11th June at 7pm, at the school.

The Buildings & Grounds sub-committee (B&G) have investigated a range of options for the management of the school oval and will present research undertaken for the three most relevant options at this stage (ranging from ‘do nothing’ to new synthetic or grass surfaces). B&G are open to other options which may end up warranting a similar level of investigation and all options are being considered in relation to broader school priorities, fundraising and a long-term, holistic plan for the oval

I asked the B&G sub-committee to give us a little more information about some of the options being considered for the oval. This week, Stewart Waters, convener of the B&G sub-committee and dad to Tom in grade three and Freddy in grade two, gives us his thoughts on synthetic surfaces. Continue reading

I’ve got a new name for Voluntary Contributions and I’m sure it will catch on

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Right about now, you’ll be a receiving a reminder letter about Voluntary Contributions. It’s well timed (because June 30*, people).

I’d quite like to rebrand ‘Voluntary Contributions’. Yes, they are ‘voluntary’. Yes, they ‘contribute’ to the school’s budget. But what the name doesn’t reveal is this: that State Government funding does not provide all the funds needed to run a school. That the things that make a school a comfortable and fun place to be (such as new library books, cooling in the junior school building and the whiz-bang Apple TVs) rely on Voluntary Contributions.

So I’m thinking of an alternative name for Voluntary Contributions, something along the lines of ‘A Really Important Contribution That’s Put Toward Really Good Stuff for Your Kids and Although it’s Voluntary, it Would Be Really Good if You Paid it Promptly, Please’. I think it has a nice ring to it but accept it may require some editing… Continue reading

Wish Lists (usually long and expensive but very important)

http://exploringtheoutdoorclassroom.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/science-lab.html

During the time that I was involved with the committee that managed kindergartens in Kew, we made a change to the meeting structure. Instead of holding meetings at the Association President’s kindergarten, we rotated them between the five Kew kinders – because everyone likes a sticky-beak. It was great to see what other kinders were doing with their space and pinch the odd idea. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I was reminded of this ‘approach to flattery’ during the holidays when my family visited Whittfield, a tiny town in Victoria’s King Valley. Whittfield Primary School was next door to where we were staying and the kids headed there to make use of the school’s extremely lush oval (“With goal posts at both ends, Mum!”). While the kids kicked the footy, I took in my surrounds. Wow! As well as a superb kitchen garden, the school had what appeared to be an outdoor science lab – a compact but well set up undercover area, secured by clear plastic roller doors on each side and complete with taps, sinks and benches at the right height for children to stand at. It was a simple, accessible space and one that would be enormously useful for all sorts of messy activities.

I was a bit jealous – I’d like something like that for KPS. That thought, combined with the appeal from the Building & Grounds sub-committee in last week’s newsletter for parents and carers to help with some specific projects, got me thinking about wish lists.

Wish lists are rarely realistic and are usually long and filled with wildly expensive items (which is why they are fun to write). However, wish lists are also useful tools for driving planning, seeking grants, fundraising and thinking about new or different opportunities. They really help you to ‘think big’. With this in mind, I asked Patricia Incerti’s Grade 3 class to create a wish list for the school. No idea was a ‘bad idea’ and the list that they gave me is brilliant (I couldn’t leave any of their fabulous suggestions out) – Continue reading