This school in Dublin City started work on the Travel theme in September 2008. They had a great start, undertaking a wide variety of activities and initiatives to encourage travelling to and from school in a sustainable manner. As they are a Junior Primary school they decided to concentrate on encouraging in walking, Park ‘n’ Stride and Car Pooling...to great success!
The Green‐Schools Coordinator and the school caretaker attended An Taisce’s Teacher Training Seminar; a good starting point to kick off the travel theme. The coordinator then appointed a Junior Committee who assists her in spreading the Green School messages throughout the school.
They invited the Travel Officer to deliver workshops to all classes in school. All classes did an introduction to travel which incorporated messages on sustainable travel and the environment, road safety and health and fitness. Most classes made posters or poems which were displayed all over the school walls encouraging sustainable travel to school. They also created a very colourful and informative Green‐Schools notice board complete with graphs, poetry, posters, green tree and a beautiful walk to school mural o one of the school walls.
The school has completed all monitoring and review information i.e. ongoing travel surveys. The baseline Travel Survey (Oct 08) showed a lot of pupils coming to and from school by car (57%) and 40% walk. It takes the majority of these people less than 10 minutes to get to school, meaning that that distance to school is walkable and the school therefore decided to concentrate on encouraging walking and Park ‘n’ Stride to school.
The follow on survey undertaken in May ’09, after a lot of hard work on encouraging sustainable travel, showed lots of improvement in walking and car journeys decreased dramatically! Only 37% were driven to school, 57% walked and 6% used Park ‘n’ Stride. The survey also showed that some pupils regularly car pool.
They wasted no time in starting WOW days from February 2009 onwards and designed their own banner which hangs outside the school encouraging students to Walk on Wednesdays (WOW)! They also use the Golden Boot and Green Tree initiatives to encourage competition between classes to get the most students walking.
Informing and Involving
The school and An Taisce organised Parent’s Meeting to give an overview of what’s involved in Green‐Schools Travel and asked for support. Good parental involvement in any school is a great support for Green‐Schools Travel but particularly so for junior schools as parents are the ones who choose how the children get to school being the ones who bring them! The Parents Association at St Paul’s JNS have made a big difference; they host a parents coffee morning whenever there is an action day, also they bake delicious cakes! They designed a beautiful Green Tree and one of the parents even wrote a Transport Rap which the children performed at their assessment. Parents always walk or Park ‘n’ Stride on a WOW day and the travel assemblies are always well attended by parents showing their support.
The Green Schools Coordinator also keeps the wider community informed via letters home, intercom announcements and articles in the school newsletter.
Monitoring and Evaluation
As well as completing An Taisce’s ongoing travel surveys the school also keeps a record on pupils taking part in WOW days. They have up to 93% of the school population taking part in the WOW days, a brilliant achievement!
The school took part in National Walk to School Week 2009. On National WOW day 204 pupils (out of 224) walked or did Park ‘n’ Stride. The Green Schools Coordinator also ran various activities as well as encouraging everybody everyone to walk every day of National Walk to School week, she also awarded the golden boot, ran a colouring competition and a slogan competition on the benefits of walking and finally a spring clean around the school grounds.
The school undertook an early assessment on their WOW action day in October 2009 as they have already completed so much work on the Travel theme. The format of the assessment was as follows:
Introduction and welcome: Sile Chuinneagain (Principal)
Speech: Kathryn Poxon (An Taisce, Green Schools)
Dublin Bus: Talk on safety and behaviour on the bus
Introduction to the children: Marian McDonagh (GS Coordinator)
Safe Cross Code (Sung by children)
Poetry recital (of prize winning travel poems)
Jnr Infants song (Stop look Listen)
Green Team: Transport Rap
Walk to School song (All school)
Community Gardai: Talk on bike safety
Breakfast for visitors: Parents Association
Tour of school: to look at work on notice boards, green tree etc
The assessment was a pleasure and it was great to see the culmination of all of the hard work the school has put in.
They continue to run WOW days each Wednesday they have undertook a whole raft of activities and there is great support from the Parents association. The school looks forward to receiving their 4th Green Flag in March 2010.
Well done St Paul’s JNS!