Hoorah for Hartford College Primary School

| September 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

By Nicola Forbes

There can be no denying that the future of our planet rests in our children’s hands.

As such, sustainable development and environmental education can no longer be classified as extracurricular activities, but should be viewed as vital components of their daily learning programmes. At Hartford College Primary School, a small independent school established in 2009, our key emphasis is on these issues – and in response to 12 eco-projects submitted to the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) Eco-Schools Programme1 in 2012, we were awarded a Gold Certificate.

In the heart of a nature reserve Surrounded by parkland and bordering the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, the school’s tranquil, natural location in the quiet southern suburb of Mondeor, Johannesburg, provides the perfect environment for hands-on eco-learning. The area’s abundance of fauna and flora has also been the inspiration for the school’s ethos: to provide children with a nurturing environment that will stimulate their natural curiosity.

To enhance their learning further, the children are taken on weekly trips into the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve (the largest nature reserve in Gauteng). Here, together with a field guide and their teacher, they are allowed to observe first-hand what they have been learning about in natural science classes – ranging from the life cycle of the frog to indigenous plants, and even the habitat of a mammal such as the rock dassie.

WESSA and Eco-Schools

WESSA’s Eco-Schools Programme is part of an international programme run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 52 countries worldwide, and includes 1 100 South African member schools. The programme’s focus is awakening children to their environmental responsibilities, and it supports and enhances the teaching of natural science, as laid out in the national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).2

Each year since inception, Hartford College has submitted to WESSA a variety of environmental projects completed by our children and dealing with resource use, nature and biodiversity, healthy living and community and heritage issues. Each topic is tackled with three main objectives in mind: a teacherguided lesson, an activity in which the children get involved, and a community ‘give-back’ action, such as a river clean-up, plastic collection or recycling project. To be awarded a WESSA Green Flag, a school needs to complete nine projects during the year and submit them to WESSA for evaluation. To date, Hartford College has been awarded three Green Flags for its environmental activities, all of which fly proudly outside the school’s front entrance! And now we’re pleased to add our Gold Certificate to that collection.

Profound respect for the environment

At Hartford College, not only do we endeavour to produce young people who benefit from the knowledge, skills, morals and values that a quality education has to offer, but also look to equip them with a deep sense of respect and love for the natural environment that surrounds them.

References:

1. See, for example, www.wessa.org.za. 2

. See, for example, http://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/ CurriculumAssessmentPolicyStatements/tabid/419/Default.aspx.

Category: Featured Articles, Spring 2013

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