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Roots and Shoots Community Learning Week

St. Michael’s Primary School, Bournemouth

Hello, We are a primary school of about four hundred 4-11 year olds in the centre of town, and last July the whole school took a week away from the normal timetable to run a project. This was so that the messages of Roots and Shoots would have a big impact and the whole school community would learn about the issues.

What happened?

The week began with a special visit from Jane Goodall who talked about her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania. This helped the children to understand why we had become involved with Roots and Shoots and the importance of animal conservation in the future.

Each class was asked to complete activities based on the three elements of the Roots and Shoots Foundation – human community, environment and animal welfare. The year groups all approached the week in a different way but all had either a visitor to address them or went on a visit – some were lucky enough to have both opportunities.

The children in Reception went to visit Bournemouth Oceanarium to learn about conservation of the species in the seas. Afterwards they made beautiful fish pictures. They made handprints displayed as ‘The Hands of The Future’.

Children in Year 1 learnt about the community of people who are important to hep us locally such as doctors, nurses and vets. They had a visit from the Police and Fire Service. The children were very excited to see inside the fire engine and to try out using the hoses! They made model fire engines and posters as well as role playing the people they learnt about by dressing up.

Fire Service Visit
Fire Service Visit

Year 2 learnt about endangered species around the World. They also focused on recycling and even made their own recycled paper! They took part in an African music and storytelling workshop, and made a book about ways to save the planet.

Year 3 also worked on endangered species and made a class factfile about them. They went out of school to visit the Cherry Tree Nursery which is run by, and to support, people who have mental health problems. They learnt how new plants are propagated and each child took and planted Sedum cuttings to take home. They found out how the people who work at Cherry Tree have helped to raise money for clean water supplies in Bolivia even though they have difficult lives themselves.

The Year 4 children has several areas to focus on. They examined Fairtrade issues and a speaker from Action Aid came into school to talk to the children about Chembakolli in India. Following this they compared the life of children in Chembakolli to their own in this country and made hand patterns based on designs. Recycling is an everyday activity at St. Michael’s and Year 4 thought about the damage done by plastic bags. As part of this study they used plastic carrier bags to make a collage.

Our promises to the planet.
Our promises to the planet.

Years 5 and 6 had a visit from an expert at the Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall. They made a puzzle for the monkeys to find a treat in a parcel. They also created sensory butterfly gardens and played a Fairtrade game. They also worked with Year 3 to design ways of using alternative sources of power such as a wind up mobile phone and a lorry powered by a bear in a running wheel.

Year 6 concentrated on learning about Fairtrade food and how the organisation helps the farmers to make a good living in many countries. They even tried some of the foods! As well as this, Years 5 and 6 used a website which helped them to calculate their own carbon footprint and thought of ways they could reduce this. As well as all this every child in the school made a ‘Promise To The Planet’ which they wrote on a leaf. We made a huge rainforest in our school hall complete with sound effects and all the promises were put onto the trees.

We made a rainforest.
We made a rainforest.

At the end of the next week we held an open afternoon displaying all the work from the week. Families could also make their own pledge to the planet. It was an amazing project and one which we hope has changed the way the whole school community thinks about how we treat our world.

Remarks from the students

“There are many endangered species all around the world. They need protecting and saving.”

“I have learnt that animals are like us. They have needs and want our support. We shouldn’t treat animals badly.”

“I’ve learnt lots of facts about Fairtrade. It is much better when money goes to the poor people who have worked hard to make products than the people who sell them in the shops.”

“We have learnt about how paper gets recycled and why this is important. We must save the trees in the forest.”

“We have learnt that generating electricity creates lots of pollution. This damages the ozone layer and is causing global warming. We must all try and find ways to save electricity.”

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