Dolphin School committed to becoming a sustainable school following the screening of the inspirational film ‘Demain’ in May 2017.
As a first phase, a group of committed pupils, staff and parents set about creating an Incredible Edible garden in the grounds of Dolphin School. Keeping to the idea of turning otherwise wasted spaces into food production an area was identified around the Modern Languages and Geography block.
The first big element was the construction of a full size greenhouse from 2 litre plastic bottles which might otherwise have been thrown away. After six months of collecting, fundraising and threading bottles onto bamboo canes, the greenhouse began to take shape and was finally finished after a marathon weekend workshop involving parents, staff and pupils.
Part of the former sensory garden has been cleared to make way for raised beds where it is hoped vegetables can be grown for use by the community and at school lunches. Another wasted corner was identified and after the removal of a number of old shrubs a fruit corner was created where strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and even tayberries are now growing. All gardening is organic and we produce our own compost in a variety of different types of bins.
Involvement with both the Wokingham and Hurst Horticultural Associations has seen potatoes grown in buckets and various prizes won at shows for the fruit and onions grown by the children.
The children have also been able to help out at the Hurst Allotments growing pumpkins and laying hedges. This has been a very rewarding project for the children, staff and parents involved and it is hoped that in raising awareness amongst children about where their food comes from and how it is grown that the next generation of gardeners will be keen to share their experiences too.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
But sustainability is more than gardening and so we have encouraged better recycling by joining the Terracycle crisp packet recycling scheme and are proud to be a local public drop-off point. We have also begun recycling felt tip pens via Crayola and have introduced a food waste collection system at lunchtime. We hope to further develop our recycling and waste reduction and there are more plans afoot for playground waste.
Next on our project list is reduction of energy use, by ensuring more consistent switching off of lights, doors being closed in the winter and the installation of more energy efficient lights throughout the school. The children have also been taught an energy efficient way of washing their hands and then drying them which involves singing to regulate the amount of water used! We are also able to monitor the production of energy from our own solar panels on this website.
Use of water is another priority and we have already installed 5 water butts to water our gardens.
The school welcomes any offers of assistance with materials and can be contacted via Facebook, Twitter or the website.