St Damien’s Catholic Primary School showcases its exceptional Environmental Program to the parents and local community every day via the three garden centres on the school grounds. Each garden centre has a chicken run filled with either Silkie Bantam chickens or ISA Brown chickens, an aquaponics set-up with a minimum of one tank filled with Silver Perch, dual worm composting containers, and a number of garden beds. Within the Northern Garden Centre is a seemingly secluded area that contains a spectacular seating area overlooking three ponds that provide functional habitats for the coy, frogs and the goldfish in the area.
Students at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School are exposed to a variety of living things within the garden centres that present exciting and unique learning experiences. These experiences reinforce the learning that takes place in the classroom and within the community.
With systems in mind, the school’s numerous aquaponics setups help the students at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School to identify and understand the relationships that exist between living things, particularly their dependence upon one another for survival. By understanding how the aquaponics setups work, students recognise that the concept of dependence extends to all living things and that systems exist within nature and society. These systems provide structure and function to all things within them. The Silver Perch, which currently face a high risk of extinction in the wild, live comfortably within the tanks in great numbers, further reinforcing the idea that when systems work, living things thrive.
All produce from the grow beds is sold at the Monday Markets or repurposed as feed for the living things in the garden centres, with both outcomes upholding the various systems present within the school.
Cooking is among the many educational programs running at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School that develops basic skills in the vein of life-long learning. The Cooking Program utilises the fresh organic produce that is harvested from the school’s garden centres and delivers tasty treats to the participants. This process emphasises the fundamental, yet often misunderstood, link between initially locating or unearthing the ingredients and later cooking them to create an appetizing meal.
The understandings generated by the Cooking Program encourage students to identify and harvest the right ingredients, to prepare accordingly, to follow a plan or recipe, and to explore the vast cooking options available as they learn for life.
St Damien’s Catholic Primary School is located in the setting of Dawesville; a hub of native wildlife. Interestingly, the school is situated in the flight path of Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo which can be seen passing over the area from time to time after the breeding season concludes. Among the many animals indigenous to the area, the school is witness to the appearance of Western Grey Kangaroos early in the mornings on a daily basis.
This program develops understandings about these animals and more, including, but not limited to, Quendas, Brush-tailed Possums, Ring-tailed Possums, Western Grey Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Pink and Grey Galahs and Red Capped Parrots. Furthermore, understanding the importance of habitat conservation to assist in the continued survival of native animals is paramount within this program.
The chickens are a popular attraction at the school with students quickly becoming attached to the hens. Our hens are contained in a free range enclosure and monitored daily to ensure good health and comfort. The Monday Markets owe its ongoing success to the eggs produced by the chickens at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School. The ISA Brown chicken is hybrid, not a true breed, developed by breeding unrelated ‘dam’ and ‘sire’ lines together. As a result the ISA Brown is selected within the poultry industry primarily for its high egg laying capacity of approximately 300 eggs per hen in their first year of laying.
This program educates students about the ISA Brown chickens with a focus on their origins, their anatomy, their life cycle and process of reproduction, and notions for their proper care and protection. As ongoing residents at the school, each and every chicken is considered a part of the St Damien’s Catholic Primary School family.
As part of the school’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, each class participates in the Recycling Program and is assessed against established criteria. This weekly process encourages students and their teachers to be proactive about the correct disposal of their waste products. The Recycling Program is also purposed with the education of students around the ideas of reducing and reusing waste items before considering the items for recycling.
Finding alternate uses for waste items offers form and functionality to otherwise useless items and demonstrates respect for the environment in the process. St Damien’s Catholic Primary School is proud of its efforts in sustainability education and, like all programs offered, has strong curriculum links to each learning area.
A vast system exists within the school that relies upon all component parts working in unison. Without the propagation and planting of seeds to produce seedlings, the system would cease to operate smoothly. This program supports various other programs that run in the school under the scope of the Environmental Program, by ensuring that there are sufficient plants of all varieties to be planted out at any given time over the course of the year.
Students are educated about the plants being propagated, with a focus on the common and scientific name of the plant, the plants life cycle and the process of reproduction, growth and maintenance via water and fertilizer, the ideal time for planting and harvesting, and the various culinary or practical uses for the plants. Like other programs offered under the Environmental Program, the Propagation Program reinforces the ideas of ‘systems’ and ‘cycles’ while working in the school’s Greenhouse and Hot House.
As a major component of the larger Sustainability Program, the Environmental Program at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School creates opportunities for students to develop understandings about the natural world.
By utilising the existing infrastructure, and further developing the garden centres as the school moves ahead, the students at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School are afforded the best resources available while they learn about the environment on local and global scales. The Environmental Program is inextricably linked to all areas of the school’s curriculum to demonstrate the relevance and merit of environmental education within the global setting. This reinforces the learning that takes place and enhances the outcomes for students via constant exposure and the real world links that are made inside and outside of the classroom.
Atop the Steve Dowie Hall sits a weather monitoring device better known as the St Damien’s Science Station. As part of a global initiative to monitor, track and record the weather around the world, St Damien’s Catholic Primary School is contributing its part.
Our weather station is the sole data provider for the Dawesville area and enables weather researchers to access accurate and reliable data. By extension, the students at St Damien’s have access to this hub of weather knowledge via our unique weather station web page that can be found at the link below. This web page is a valuable teaching and learning tool within the school with a multitude of applications for environmental education.
Each year St Damien’s Catholic Primary School renews its commitment to sustainability with its membership in the Waste Wise Schools Program. St Damien’s Catholic Primary School demonstrates its dedication to waste reduction in the local and global environment through various initiatives run by the school, including, but not limited to, plastic free lunch boxes, participation in the school’s Clean Up Australia Day event, the school’s Recycling Program, Chook Champs, Worm Warriors, Green Team, and more.
Much of the existing environmental infrastructure within the school was funded by grants provided by the Waste Authority of Western Australia, a government initiative aimed at implementing and maintaining waste minimising projects within schools. St Damien’s Catholic Primary School has achieved the highest level of acknowledgement by attaining all available grants offered to date.
At St Damien’s Catholic Primary School we run 2 Enrichment programs for Year 5-6 students to take part in Robotics. These programs are FIRST Lego and Robocup. This page is a resource page for all information that students and families may require for the Program.
LEGO ROBOTICS CODE OF EXPECTATIONS
- If I am selected for a program, I will give my best (and expected) efforts in attendance and participation, including showing resilience when faced with challenges.
- There may be expectations or conditions of the event organisers, I will accept these as part of the conditions.
- I will respect the equipment and other participants. I may have been selected over other students and for this reason I will show that I value the program and the opportunity provided to me.
- When required, I will attend all training / competition sessions. This may include commitments above weekend club sports (e.g. if a competition is held on a Saturday)
- I am expected to stay on schedule with expected tasks, my classwork and behaviour. If I do not maintain these, I may be removed from the group and replaced.