As a Montessori school we have a commitment to engendering in our students a joy and a passion for life-long learning. In my personal opinion our Upper Primary program goes well above and beyond this call and creates citizens of our world and custodians of our environment who take real action and understand the real work involved in making our world a better and more peaceful place to live.
How can a school really do this, you might ask? I had the privilege to witness it in action first hand when I was invited by our UP Class to participate in a planting and weed identification and mapping expedition along the Yalgardup Brook.
During Term Two as part of our commitment to working with Nature Conservation, (formerly known as Cape to Cape Catchment Group), our Upper Primary students joined with Rick Ensley and Tracey Muir for a full day of planting and identifying areas at risk along the Yalgardup Brook. Rick is a Bush Regeneration specialist and assisted with instructing the students to plant along the Yalgardup Brook with the aim to push out weeds and bring back the native indigenous species growing along the brook and to benefit the native species of aquatic life, animals and birds in the ecosystem there.
Afterwards Rick commented on what was achieved by our Montessori students after their mammoth effort in neatly and carefully planting 600 plants and trees in just one hour,
“I’ve come to various plantings and it’s usually a big mess afterwards. This is brilliant. I’ve planted 1 250 000 trees and plants so I know what I’m looking at, and this is good work. Thank you VERY much. You’ve done a great job for this creek line, the Shire and the people around here. You guys are doing the work of real Botanists. This is awesome. You’ve set the bar really high.”
Tracey then led the students, staff and a record number of parent volunteers along the Yalgardup Brook by foot for the rest of the day to identify and map out the prevalence of non-native plants and weeds. Thank you to Emma Beumer for her impeccable organisation of the resources and groupings for the day. This enabled the mapping of all weed species to be precise and effective to the point where Nature Conservation is using this scientific work for their data collection and research. Thank you also to Emma and Jacob Horsey (our two Upper Primary Teachers), for leading the students in the research and preparation of information on each weed and non-native species prior to the event so that all students were fully prepped to carry out their work as Botanists on this project.
This absolutely magic day finished at the Kevill Road waterfalls with the children all sitting, contemplating the massive contribution they made the whole process of this project – from problem, through to research, analysis, planning, and finally to action and solution. Nature Conservations Education Officer Tracey Muir further commented,
“Really, really excellent work. Thank you. You should feel so proud! And how lucky are we? This is the Margaret River, our river, that we look after and that we care for. The actual Margaret River. How special are we to be here right now? Think how long it has flowed through here. 60km it’s gone, from right up the top at the headwaters and then it’s flowed all the way out to the ocean. Think of the lampreys that come up right through here right past where you are sitting right now. And you’ve done all of this today for all of those creatures and all of those animals, pretty cool huh!”
It’s an absolute pleasure to share this with you and I guess it is needless to say how proud I am of our Upper Primary students’ conduct when out of school, their ongoing passion for the environment and their diligence in seeing things through.
Learning something from books or sitting at your desk is one thing, but getting out of the classroom and taking real action and doing real work – that’s education in harmony with life!
Lisa Fenton, Principal
Margaret River Montessori School