For this year’s Outdoor Learning Day, St Mary’s Prepatory School turned their attention to the global problem of plastic pollution. On Thursday (17 May), the primary school on St Andrews Road abandoned their timetable for a special syllabus focused on reducing, reusing and recycling plastic. This ‘Collapsed Curriculum’ day falls in line with the school’s mission to become a single use plastic free school.
The pupils took part in a range of plastic-inspired activities both within the school grounds and at their Swiss Farm outdoor classroom. They were split into six groups (three for each key stage) with the year 6 children spread amongst them to guide the younger children. Balancing creativity with education, there was a vast range of topics and tasks to cover. Children learnt about the process of creating and recycling plastic bottles before turning them into terrariums and decorative pots. Transforming trash into treasure, the students experimented with fusing red, white and blue plastics to be sewn into a celebratory Royal Wedding flag. Plastic was even utilised in their PE lesson, where students had to tackle an obstacle course carrying plastic cups full of water.
Year 2 teachers Mrs Yeulet described the inspiration behind the plastic-themed event. “It began with all the children coming back and saying that they’d watched the Blue Planet II with David Attenborough,” she related. “Over one week we asked them to collect bring in all their plastic waste from home, and we had a mountain. So we thought that we had to do something about it.” The school’s spotlight on plastic began long before Thursday’s Collapsed Curriculum day. For the past few months, the St Mary’s students have been investigating the role of plastic and the consequences of its disposal. Keen to preserve the environment, they have been reaching out to the local community in an attempt to reduce our plastic waste. The children have taken part in litter picks, spoken to retailers such as Tesco, and interviewed local people for their plastic magazine. They have even held a jingle competition to raise awareness for the issue, reminding people to only use plastic when it is essential. The jingle will soon be available to listen to on the school website. Mrs Yeulet explained, “We’re trying to do something within the school, within the family and within the community.
Plastic use has been a topic of great concern lately, and rightly so — as the students’ magazine states, its consequences can be drastic. However, with schools like St Mary’s leading the charge, the future looks promising for the war on plastic waste.