Marlo Primary School, situated on the coast in Far East Gippsland, joined the Achievement Program in 2021 and have been making fantastic progress to date. The primary school of 37 students are proud of their wellbeing and sustainability focus and have been recognised for Sun Protection, Mental Health and Wellbeing and, most recently, Climate and Health.
What did they do?
Since joining the program, students, staff and the wider community have embraced several organisational changes that align with the values and ethos of the school and community. As part of undertaking the Climate and Health pathway, Marlo Primary School has introduced several initiatives including:
- A weekly walk/ride to school day. Each Wednesday students and families are encouraged to make their way to school in the most carbon-neutral way they can, be that riding, walking, carpooling, or taking the bus.
- Utilising their large vegetable garden and orchard where the students spend 45 timetabled minutes growing and exploring together. “The veggie garden is a chance for us to have a bit of responsibility, looking after the plants and deciding on what we would like to cook with” – Amira Year 3. This year saw the senior students decide to grow kale, which has been recently harvested and enjoyed by students making kale smoothies together.
- A community gardening club that runs weekly with staff, students, and volunteers. The group have built an indigenous nature garden outdoor classroom. This outdoor garden allows students to connect with nature as well as using less energy than a regular classroom. “I like the variety of foods we grow. I like learning in the outdoor classroom as it’s great to be out in nature.” – Liam Year 5
- Taking action to reduce waste by installing a cardboard recycling bin, giving all food scraps go to the chooks, worm farm or compost bin – Marlo Primary School has reduced four waste bins to just one!
Karen, a teacher at Marlo Primary School says: “I love seeing students thrive in the natural setting at Marlo Primary School. From the outdoor learning space/indigenous garden, the chicken pen, orchard, veggie garden and coastal environment, students are immersed in nature, which enhances their learning and compliments the curriculum.”
“I love that there are a lot of plants, the carrots are the best.”
Grace Year 1
Since commencing their Achievement Program journey, the school has observed changes in student behaviour regarding willingness to try new foods that they grow and cook themselves in their gardens, and families enthusiastically engaging with stalls selling fruit, vegetables and produce grown on school grounds.
“I feel so inspired when we work in our indigenous nature garden learning space, it’s the best”
Oskar Year 3.
Reflecting on their journey, Marlo Primary School’s tips for others wanting to engage and progress through the Achievement Program include committing to the program as priority, having a dedicated staff member who is passionate about making change take the lead, and break the program into bite-sized actions – you will be surprised by how much you are already doing!
To get involved, find out about the Achievement’ Program’s Climate and Health pathway here.