Scotsburn Elementary School, located in the rural community of Scotsburn, northwest of New Glasgow, has 80 students in Grades Primary through Five. The school might be small, but the students are full of enthusiasm and are motivated to protect our planet.
Sarah Grant’s grade four/five students had a video class with Green Schools on the 10th of December to help students find ways to be green over the holidays. This time of year we often get caught up in the festivities and forget to keep the Earth in mind. Students learned to make their own Gift of Time coupons for loved ones using old calendars and magazines instead of new paper. Some students were familiar with giving a “gift of time” while others hadn't thought of it, so it was great to share ideas together. When asked about their favourite part of the holidays, answers included visiting grandparents and family and doing things together with loved ones, like watching a special Christmas movie, baking Christmas cookies, and going sledding. In our discussion, none of the students mentioned gifts that come packaged in shiny paper and bows (which usually aren’t recyclable). The holiday season can create a feeling of pressure to get the “perfect gift” for our loved ones, but what many of us really want is simply to spend time together, making memories.
Check out this heartwarming video, The Other Letter, from Ikea that emphasizes what kids really want for Christmas.
After Ms Grant’s students made their Gift of Time coupons for loved ones, they used more upcycled paper to fold into envelopes for their coupon. If you cut a sheet of paper into a square, you can fold the corners into the centre to make an envelope instead of buying a new one! These envelopes look great with the different pictures and colours on them. The students were excited to learn that as long as the recipient's address is clearly written, a well-crafted homemade envelope can be sent by mail! It's a great idea for pen pals, or when sending holiday greeting cards.
After they made their envelopes, students still had time to make some origami Christmas Trees! They used another piece of paper, from an old flyer/magazine/etc. These trees can be strung together to make a lovely garland decoration, or they can be used as gift tags or even ornaments for the tree. Once they learned the pattern for this craft, the students were excited to make more and to use discarded paper for holiday decor instead of buying new decorations that are often imported, get broken, and end up in the landfill.
I had a great time virtually visiting Ms Grant’s class. I brought the Green Schools program to this school in person back in November to help students learn about energy efficiency and how we can all make choices to help protect the environment. Ms Grant and her students have been working hard to ensure their school is green every day! Back in the spring, some of the keenest students started their very own Green Team. They now get together as volunteers during their lunch break to help pick up litter around the schoolyard. What a great way to help care for the Earth!
While the students of Scotsburn Elementary are excited to have green celebrations for the many different winter holidays, recently they worked hard to ensure the entire school had a green Halloween! The students organized a Halloween Costume Swap where students brought in a costume they’ve used before to exchange for a different one. Swaps like these keep those old costumes in use instead of being in the back of a closet, never to be used again, or even worse, bagged up to be taken to the dump. Those costumes can be used again by someone else, creating less waste for the Earth, and also helping families to save money instead of buying a new costume every year!
Check out the school’s November Newsletter to see the students and their costume haul! Scotsburn Elementary School might be small, but they are mighty, constantly impressing the community with their green ideas and initiatives! Great green work Scotsburn!
~Pamela Chandler, Engagement Officer