Tasmanian school looks at sustainable learning beyond the classroom

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Synopsis

At Youngtown Primary School, sustainability and environmental education are an integral part of the curriculum. Lessons in sustainability practices revolve around the school's outdoor learning centre, where students establish and maintain various gardens to gain a practical understanding of natural cycles and environmental issues.

For example, plant life cycles are taught using the school's hothouse, and water efficiency is taught through drought tolerant gardening. This outdoor learning centre is utilised in a variety of ways. Mathematics classes sort, weigh and classify student grown vegetables, which are then cooked and eaten in class to promote healthy food choices, while history classes learn about hybrid varieties of plants. Through using the garden's designated water tank, students learn about, and put into practice, the concept of rainwater harvesting. Using educational water efficiency kits, students measure water flow and roof area for water catchment.

Students are also involved in hands on learning through engaging in community partnerships with a sustainability focus. Students have revegetated the neighbouring retirement village's gardens and built swan nesting boxes to attract birdlife, with support from local hardware and nursery businesses.

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