Sustainability in schools – a broader view.

This week as part of Masters Leadership course we visited Collingwood College looking at the broad theme of sustainability.

Collingwood College was the first center for the now nation wide Stephanie Alexander’s school kitchen gardens. These photos show the gardens and the produce harvested and cooked by students in the kitchen.

In talking with Stanley, a former principal of the school, we heard about the boarder school sustainability issues and the blending of a Steiner school with a Reggio Emilio school on site. We heard about partnerships with Fitzroy High School to broaden the range of VCE subjects offered to senior students.

In working in smaller schools where student enrolments are a factor in sustainability we often look at innovative programs to attract a steady intake of students and then slowly build these into an ongoing feature. I remember looking at a rural school classrooms project in a city school where students from prep to year 2 are grouped together to promote a country community feel.

Once the school with the rural grouping was re-established a new clientele came along with in my opinion  scant regard for the initiative or recent history then proceeded to break down this structure to form a more traditional school. Of course there’s always more to it than this but my point is that that has not happened to Collingwood College – its sustained and even grown in its unique ways of structuring learning.

I think that successive principals and parents seem to have embraced the culture and traditions. I really liked the way the school showcased its strengths when you walked into the foyer and there some tips there for me as we debate our images in new school front entrances.

I have created a slide show [in lower right column] of other images taken on what was a valuable tour on school sustainability.