Two women stand with a young student in the middle of them in front of raised garden beds full of plants and flowers.

Majura Primary School sustainability teacher Melissa Chiles with former year six student Clodagh O’Connell, and school garden specialist Philippa Lawrence.

15 February 2023

Majura Primary School sets the standard for school sustainability practices in action.

From preschool through to year 6, students participate in learning programs about water, biodiversity, waste, energy, and transport. These programs have encouraged students, staff and the community to implement sustainability practices in their day-to-day lives.

Building on its already established sustainability program, Majura Primary was awarded the 2022 Climate Choices ‘School of the Year’ award for its participation, promotion, and excellence in environmental projects.

Melissa Chiles is one of two sustainability teachers at Majura Primary School and a driving force behind the school’s environmental success.

“We try to get our students as involved as much as we can. From an early age the students develop great environmental understandings, and they love it.  You can ask them ‘What is a habitat? What is endangered?’ And they have great ideas,” Melissa said.

“It means a lot. I know that the award is a highly coveted prize and to be named as Climate Choices School of the Year is a huge honour."

Now graduated, year 6 student Clodagh O’Connell is a passionate young environmentalist and was one of the school’s ‘Parliament Environment Ministers’.

“My favourite part about being an Environment Minister was getting involved with the year 3 environment group and listening to them come up with new ideas,” Clodagh said.

“Sometimes they come up to me in the playground and share their ideas, then I can provide them with some feedback.”

In 2022 the Majura Primary School:

  • implemented a whole-school sustainability curriculum
  • maintained and operated their on-site kitchen garden, growing produce for their school kitchen
  • participated in the National Birdlife Gang Gang Education program, planting 16 native trees to develop a habitat for endangered birds
  • established ‘Waste Warrior Kits’ supplying long and short handled tongs for all students to use in their classes to clean and maintain the playground spaces
  • continued partnership with Global Worming which see classes regularly visit the school’s worm farm to learn about the benefits of composting all usable food scraps
  • participated in sustainability and climate events including Earth Hour, Clean Up Australia Day, National Ride to School Day, World Bee Day, World Environment Day, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, National Recycling week and more.

Majura Primary School has a longstanding involvement with the ACT Government’s Sustainable Schools Program which supports all ACT school communities to improve sustainability, reduce emissions and take climate action.

Through the program, schools can access:

  • site visits and advice from specialist staff
  • learning opportunities for teachers, students and leaders
  • interactive and curriculum-linked resources
  • regular newsletters to keep connected
  • links between schools, school communities and other service providers.

The Sustainable Schools Program is open to all schools in the ACT. Talk to your school or visit to learn more.

Raised white garden beds with vegetables and flowers
Side of shed with wooden sign that reads
Chicken in garden. It has black and white feathers and a red head
Large green house
Young trees in small fenced off area. Planted as part of the National Bird Life Gang Gang Education program.
Childrens bikes stacked under shed structure

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