Getting Plants and Nature into Classrooms
During the pandemic (2020 and 2021), many changes happened in our community. Chelmsford Public School was amalgamated with Chelmsford Valley District Composite School (CVDCS). Before the students arrived, however, CVDCS was extensively renovated and redesigned. The new design and classrooms were welcomed by some, but described as ‘too white and clean’ by others. Also, because of the pandemic and all the social-distancing and cohorting involved, there wasn’t a chance to establish a strong sense of school spirit amongst the students or staff. Everything felt a bit flat.
The environment club, the Eco Flyers, decided to step in.
We set ourselves the challenge of getting a plant into every classroom in the school with the view of adding a sense of nature, purifying air, and creating some community at the same time. Students researched sturdy and resilient plants that would stand the test of time of being in a classroom, and were low maintenance.
The humble spider plant was chosen as the main plant, as well as the sunflower.
Initially, pots, soil and seeds were purchased, but once word got out, many teachers were donating cuttings and plants of their own (mainly spider plants) to supplement the project. This made building momentum a lot easier. Consequently, teachers and students would visit the plants on a daily basis to see the progress being made.
Once the plants looked strong enough to withstand the rigours of an education setting, announcements were made, plants were delivered, and many happy and excited students and teachers finally had their own classroom greenery to enjoy! The Spider plants grew well, but not so the sunflowers.
Due to the generosity of some teachers, there was money left-over to purchase some more established and beautiful plants. These were placed within the school in some high-traffic areas (library, office, foyer) for everyone to enjoy!
Reflection & Celebration
An interesting consequence of this project is that many students, especially the Grade 1-6s, seem to be more careful with their footsteps and their sports balls in the playing fields. Many of the surrounding gardens are doing well (compared to the old school) and this is possibly a result of being them being more aware of the fragility of nature. This may or may not be due to this project. The hope is that this attitude continues into the real world.
A successful project all around!
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