St. Brigid’s Girls National School, Palmerstown

St. Brigid’s GNS is based in Palmerstown and was awarded the Green Flag for Global Citizenship – Energy in 2016. The school presently has 20 teachers and 360 pupils in attendance.

Step 1: Green-Schools Committee

The committee consists of pupils from third to sixth class, teacher reps, the school secretary, caretaker and the principal. Some new members join the committee in September but they always keep a few students from the previous year to help with consistency. They work in pairs and each of the pairs are in charge of a junior class so that everyone in the school is kept up to date. They meet every fortnight and give updates at the end of the month in assembly.

Step 2: Environmental Review

The committee completed their global awareness survey and energy audits in October 2014, November 2016 and again in June 2016. The results in 2014 showed that the levels of awareness surrounding global citizenship issues and energy saving were still quite high. All their hard work in previous years had paid off; however they still managed to increase on their results in most questions asked over the two year period.  On their energy consumption their figures per person has increase so they put that as an action to try to reduce their energy usage. There has been an increase in the school population and the building was being used more frequently in the evening too.

20 nationalities are represented in the school and they displayed the word “Hello” in all 20 languages to welcome those joining mid-year.

Step 3: Action Plan

Here are just some of the actions the school carried out:

  • Reduce Energy Consumption by a further 5%
  • To regularly communicate with parents and guardians about green issues
  • To increase awareness of interdependence by 5%
  • Building of raised beds
  • Cycle safety lessons

Step 4: Monitoring and Evaluation

Here are just some of the ways that the school tracked their progress:

  • The global awareness survey was completed three times
  • They did two energy audits
  • They monitored fruit wastage by using a token system, 20 fruit stickers were stuck on each classroom door. If a full piece of fruit was found in the bin then they lost a sticker. The classroom with the most stickers left was awarded the Compost Green Bear and a night off homework!
  • They created a map of “energy hot spots” in the schools and made people aware to remember to switch off the lights etc.
  • They continued to track their green travel each week and award the silver boot award every Wednesday.

Step 5: Curriculum Work

A few examples:

  • Junior and Senior Infants : Green Travel , Our journey to school. Where does our water come from? My Home and homes around the world, How are they different and how are they the same? Making energy guzzling monsters . Learning “Hello” in other languages . Rodi – A girl from Africa’s story
  • First to third class: Where does electricity come from?, Energy audits for home and school, The solar system and energy from the sun. The importance of recycling and why. What is pollution. Home around the world. Fossil Fuels vs Renewable energy.
  • Fourth to sixth class: Nature is powerful-The forces of Nature. How nature helps us-, forests and quarries. Weather and Climate. –weather lore, Ireland’s climate, six different climate types, Ireland’s seasons. Climate Change- Why is it happening? Simple explanation of UN climate change goals. UN Global Goals-What are the goals? How can they be achieved? How can we help? Large display of goals for school notice boards.

Step 6: Informing and Involving

  • St. Brigid’s Green Day has been part of the school year for the last 15 years. On this day, which is usually held around St. Patrick’s Day, children, teachers, members of staff and parents are invited to come to school dressed in Green. This can mean literally in green or with an environmental twist. They have had recycled costumes made to represent trees, a bus, a solar powered car, a litter bin, a nest box, mother earth to name but a few. The classes parade through Palmerstown so as to inform the local community of their activities and then we have a concert in the school hall with invited guests. We invited children of other nations to dress in their national costumes and to perform a dance/poem/song in their native language.
  • At assemblies each month, the green schools-coordinator or a member of the Green Schools Committee will address the classes to report any decisions, problems or information relating to the Green-Schools programme. The Green-Schools Coordinator also addresses staff meetings.

Step 7: Green Code

Switch off those lights,

Turn off those screens,

because saving energy is a great way to be green

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