Wicklow Montessori is a primary school serving the Wicklow area. Children may begin the school at age three in pre-school and continue on through to sixth class. The school has approximately eighty students.
Members of the Green-Schools Committee were selected from each class from first through to sixth via a competition of why they wished to sit on the committee. They also had to write a speech on recycling, and then the children voted for their favoured class representative. The school principal and three parents make up the remainder of the committee. Meetings take place when issues arise that can be addressed. Minutes of the meetings are kept by one of the parents with help from the children.
Some of the measures implemented by Wicklow Montessori School from their action to reduce waste include:
Each class having a bin for shredded paper, pencil parings and leftover fruit which is emptied into the compost bin outside everday.
Separate recycling bins located in the hall for plastic bottles; tetrapak; yoghurt drinks; paper and cardboard.
School rule that children only bring reusable drink containers to school.
Using the back of photocopied sheets for drawing and waste pieces of paper for collage and other art work.
Pupils visited the recycling centre at Murrough over a three-week period. They learned what items can be recycled and the benefits of recycling.
For their day of action, Wicklow Montessori cleared Murrough beach of litter. The children collected litter for 2 ½ hours on the lower and upper beach. East Coast Radio was informed of the event and, while the clean-up was in progress, Declan Meehan spoke live to seven of the children about the purpose of the clean-up and what they had found. The children’s photograph appeared in the Wicklow People and in the Wicklow Times.
Parents take turns to provide healthy food for break time, which is then prepared by one class (‘Dara’s Class’) for the younger children. The idea was introduced to encourage good eating habits in the children at an early age and to drink less sugary drinks and more milk and water. Generally, the children enjoy hot buttered toast, bread or rice cakes with cheese or ham and vegetables such as red peppers, cucumber, celery or carrot sticks. Lately, they have sampled free range eggs from one of the children’s hens, home grown fruits such as tomatoes, pears and apples, lots of home baking – apple tarts, muffins, scones and banana bread; and home made dips such as cheese dips and guacamole.
This initiative has been a great success as it has encouraged the children to broaden their eating habits and learn more about food that is nutritious, colourful and tasty. It has also helped in the school’s ‘green’ effort by reducing packaging and encouraging recycling.