A school with sustainability at its heart
Located on the western side of Castlemaine on a spacious 5-acre site, Winters Flat Primary School is setting the standard in sustainability education. An active participant in the Victorian Government’s ResourceSmart Schools program, it is one of only a handful of schools across the state to have been accredited as a 5 Star Leadership school.
“One of the things that attracted me to Winters Flat was how seriously they take sustainability’” says Principal Suzanne Kinnersly who joined the school in late 2017.
“The desire to live a sustainable life is one of the key driving forces within the school and the students take a leadership role in all sustainability programs.”
Sustainability is woven into every aspect of curriculum and school life: from the bin-free schoolyard (children bring nude food or zero wrappings), to the bathroom paper that’s shredded for the worm farm, right through to the learning theme for each semester. Students take action to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Winters Flat was the Victorian Government’s 2015 ResourceSmart School of the year and the winner of the Premier’s Sustainability Award in 2016. It was also a runner-up in the ResourceSmart Schools Sustainable School of the Decade in 2017.
As a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden School, Winters Flat also explores the connection between the environment, our plates and our health.
The school garden groans with the harvest of each season. Children tend the garden, learn the cycles, and what it takes to grow food successfully, reconnecting with food at its source. Each week, the children harvest, prepare and share the produce in the large kitchen dining area. Learning valuable life and social skills while being introduced to great tasting food (that just happens to be good for them!).
“We have a very committed team of parents, staff and school councillors who are looking at a master plan of how we can best use this wonderful 5-acre site,” says Suzanne. “We’re also looking at how we can further enhance our curriculum and continue to evolve our sustainability practices.”
“I’m incredibly proud of our fabulous team,” she says. “They work well together and they’re very open to new thinking.”