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A Big Push On Our Composting

Since coming back from the lovely long break over the summer, the new Year 6 Class have been working hard to promote composting within school. In their Science and Topic lessons, they have been studying how natural materials break down in to compost and the importance of how the many different decomposers help in this process: slugs, snails, worms, woodlice, beetles, fruit flies, centipedes, fungi and bacteria (to name but a few).

To start off this project, the children helped to clear the composting area for this year’s Compost Monitors, enabling them easy access to the space – it had become very overgrown over the Summer holidays. They then sent out letters to all the classes, the school office and our kitchen staff requesting they keep all their compostable waste: shredded paper, fruit and vegetable leftovers, grass cuttings and leaf litter. It is planned that each day, the monitors will go round and collect the waste from everyone and take it up to the compost area.

The cleared Composting Area

 

Compost Monitors collecting compostable waste

We have also been looking at our ‘Leaf Litter Only’ compost piles and, in particular, studying how quick the leaves break down in to workable compost compared to the time taken for the ‘Brown and Green’ waste to do the same. We found that by adding a small amount of green waste to the leaf litter – like grass cuttings – this speed up the heating process which aided the decomposition. We also discovered, the leaf litter gave us a finer compost. Some of the children then took it in turns to sieve through both of the different compost heaps, filling up the storage unit with our wonderful, newly made compost. It was such fantastic a success; the children were amazed at what had been produced from just the leaves breaking down. Last year, the previous Year 6 children used some of the compost they had made to pot up our new plants in our Quiet Area. The area looked beautiful at the end and the plants have grown into really big healthy specimens thanks to the rich compost – the children thoroughly loved the whole process.

   

           Sieving the compost                          Our lovely compost

The compost was used in the flower pots in our Quiet Area

To further study the decomposers up close and personal, Year 6 split into groups and made their own mini compostariums out of cardboard boxes. Each group filled them with grass cuttings, fruit and vegetable peelings, shredded paper and leaf litter. After giving them a quick water, we left them to allow nature to get to work. The following week, the groups revisited their mini compost boxes to see what they could find. It was amazing how much they had changed after only a week. We took photos and listed our findings; they were alive with many different creatures busily working away.  This will be done once a week so we can watch as the materials break down and log the many different decomposers at the different stages of decomposition.

   

 

The children really enjoyed gently exploring their boxes, looking to see how many different creatures they could find. Some were so keen, they went home to make their own mini compost bins.

We would like to the the opportunity to say, being able to share our projects and work with the Roots & Shoots Community over the past two and a half years, is something we enjoy greatly. The Roots & Shoots team have always been so supportive of all we do here at Goat Lees Primary, and we are constantly reminded by the wonderful Jasmina and Tara that it does not matter how big or small our projects are, they all add up towards doing the best for our planet. With that in mind, we would like to say a huge thank you to Jasmina and Tara for their continued support, positive words and constant encouragement as, I am sure everyone agrees, they do an amazing job.

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