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Infant School's Eco Focus

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In a recent press release, Bucks County Council was 'banging the gong' for the way it is encouraging schools across Buckinghamshire to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and make financial economies. We invited the village schools in Haddenham to comment on their 'Green Credentials' more generally, and the following response was gratefully received from Lucy McNeil and Justine Mitchener, Co-Head Teachers at Haddenham Community Infant School School.

Green Credentials at Haddenham Community Infant School

HCIS has always been heavily involved in all things ECO. We strongly believe that the children should be at one with the nature that surrounds them, and we are lucky to have many varied habitats within our grounds and make use of them on a daily basis.

It is our belief that the children should have the freedom to explore and discover the natural world around them. There are a range of natural resources in our outside areas that the pupils can enjoy and they are often to be seen den building in the log pile or making potions from the fallen leaves.

In the Summer if you look closely amongst our trees you will see clay figures of woodland creatures hiding amongst the branches or small fairy doors at the base of the trunks. We have an outside classroom where the children, with the help of an artist, made large wooden sculptures, designed and made the mosaic floor. The tables and benches are open to the elements but its great fun working out there especially when we are all wrapped up.

Looking after our environment is very much a whole school approach with our Eco reps at the helm. Although there is always an adult present the reps chair their own meeting and discuss and take minutes about the issues that the pupils would like us to focus on. We have had initiatives to turn off the lights to save water and to provide more food for our wildlife.

One of the current concerns we are working on is litter, the children discussed how litter is dangerous to wildlife and how we can prevent litter in our own environment. The children recycle their waste every day which includes paper, plastic and of course fruit. The fruit waste is composted and reused to grow our vegetables. The children have noticed that there was still a problem with litter and worked out that it was blown in from the adjoining park. Because of this they have set up litter picking teams who will be litter picking the children's play area so the whole community can benefit from their efforts.

There is great excitement amongst the children as the growing season will soon be upon us. Our gardening club has gone from strength to strength over the years and we are lucky enough to have the help of two expert gardeners who give up their time to teach the children. We have eaten our own produce at break times for a few years now and the lettuce has proved to be a firm favourite.

This year we are hoping that we may be able to source a greenhouse so that we can extend our growing season. We have also grown sunflowers for the seeds to see our resident bird population through the winter. The pupils learnt how important bees are to our environment and to the world as a whole and because of this we decided to grow our own bee friendly wildflower patch. This has worked very well and is now self-seeding much to the delight of our stripy visitors.

So HCIS is most definitely a hive of activity and in more ways than one we really do sow the seeds of success.

Lucy McNeil & Justine Mitchener
Co-Head teachers
Haddenham Community Infant School

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