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Primary Teacher Dennis Hollywood from Charlton Manor Primary School in Greenwich shares his school’s strategy to engage pupils to get passionate about recycling. From compost heaps to arts and crafts, Dennis shares how the WRAP Action Pack has helped bring sustainability into the classroom…
There is a need for schools, now more than ever, to prepare students for their future and the challenges that come with it.
As pupils return to school this September, it can’t be denied that recycling and sustainability are set to be huge topics in reaction to the ever-changing climate crisis and with Recycle Week taking place next week, the topic is very much at the forefront.
As a primary school teacher, I know that encouraging pupils to think about issues around recycling at an early age is essential as it gives them the skills they need to guarantee a future for themselves.
It’s the young people of today who will inherit the planet and at Charlton Manor Primary School we want to support students in learning good habits for sustainable living and to be a part of the education that creates the scientists of tomorrow who will make a difference in our attitudes towards food and sustainability.
One of the most important aspects of how we teach recycling is to first ensure that the materials we use in school can be recycled.
By educating pupils and families on the less-traditional products that can be recycled, eg pens and ink cartridges, we can ensure that these good habits continue in and out of school.
In our school, we have various recycling bins for different items and we not only teach students how to recycle but also how to reuse products.
Using the WRAP Action Pack, we’ve organised arts and crafts competitions for our pupils and have seen so many inventive entries made from recyclable materials such as bottles and paper cups.
The recycling programme at Charlton Manor comes directly from our teachers. Recycling is at the centre of our school ethos and this has really helped us to attract staff that understand the importance of sustainability and want to find new ways of introducing it into our school.
I’m always on the lookout for new ways to teach pupils about recycling and how I can help them to take more significant action.
Resources such as the WRAP Action Pack really help students to understand the importance of recycling in a fun and interactive way.
Using these types of resources can really help students to be more action-driven and it helps them understand how the small changes they make can have an impact on a global scale.
Our school chef, Joe, teaches the importance of recycling in the kitchen by showing our pupils the benefits of reusing food they would otherwise throw away. Anything that can’t be used such as egg shells and bones are all recycled.
In the UK, we throw away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year and so Joe teaches them how older fruits and vegetables can be used to make soups and chutneys as well as how to compost foods and fertilise the school gardens.
The amount of fresh food the UK wastes could be used to create 15 billion meals each year and so by taking what they’ve learned from school and putting it into practice in their own family kitchens, pupils have the opportunity to develop long term habits that can last them the rest of their lives.
By offering pre-made classroom presentations, the Action Pack offers a way for teachers to effortlessly bring recycling into the classroom at any stage.
The Action Pack makes recycling an exciting and engaging topic for pupils and equips teachers with the information and confidence they need to teach on the topic.
I hope that classroom discussions around sustainability and recycling become the norm and that more schools across England and Ireland use the Action Pack to show pupils that it’s the small things that can really make a difference.
To mark Recycle Week, the Action Pack is launching a brand new Recycling Challenge that gives your school the chance to win some exciting eco-prizes!
With the chance to win an eco school trip for your class and lots of other eco goodies, Recycle Week is the perfect opportunity to showcase your creativity and show pupils how their actions can make a difference.
You can start with the PSHE and Science PowerPoint lesson to guide pupils through what recycling means, then take on one (or two) of our creative missions to enter into the competition prize draw.
To submit your own inspiration and ideas for The Action Pack page, you can share your creations to us by using this form, tweeting @RecycleNow using #RecycleNowActionPack or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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