Living and Learning
Living and Learning at West Rise is one very magical experience.
At West Rise, it is our aim to help develop confident, positive and compassionate children who are well equipped to live and explore the global community in which we live. To do this, children need to achieve excellence in all areas of their personal and social, spiritual and emotional lives. They need to learn about the environment they live in and why we need to protect it, become creative thinkers who are resilient enough to overcome challenges, see reward in effort and feel value in making mistakes in order to develop and grow as lifelong learners.
It is for these reasons that we encourage children to work within what we like to call, ‘The Wise Old Owl Philosophy’.
Our key purpose is to develop human potential in its fullest sense by ensuring children’s all round wellbeing. We believe that the best education secures the full holistic development of every child and this belief sits at the heart of our curriculum. We do this by:
- Teaching children that they can have a growth mindset approach to learning which means knowing how and when you can learn from your mistakes, that you can always learn something new no matter how old you are!
- Teaching children mindful ways to help them increase focus in learning, manage their emotions appropriately and learn about their brains in order for optimum learning.
- Teaching children that gratitude is the best attitude and with a kind, caring and optimistic approach to life we can all achieve and be the best we can be.
All classes enjoy yoga sessions both indoors and outdoors.
One child commented “Yoga helps me to feel calm when I feel worried about something”.
Another child commented “Yoga helps me to feel really strong because I use all my muscles”.
Yoga and mindfulness are closely connected and the children are encouraged to explore the different ways to use their breath to self-regulate; to calm, focus or energise themselves.
ECO SCHOOLS PROGRAMMES AND OUR ENVIRONMENT
The environment we live in is under threat as we all know and to help the children understand more about their environment and what we can all do to protect it we have joined the Eco-Schools Programme. The Eco-Schools programme provides a unique opportunity to power pupils to lead change within their school and to have a positive impact on their wider community. The programme encourages pupils to work together to develop their knowledge and environmental awareness. Independent research in to the Eco-Schools programme in England found evidence of positive impact on pupils, including increased confidence, development of leadership skills, improved pupil wellbeing and behaviour and greater motivation at school.
Our children at West Rise are lucky enough to enjoy a real outdoor environment and all that nature provides. At an early age, they make mud pies, lay on the grass and look at the shapes of the clouds and generally learn the wonder and value of being outside. At this crucial stage in their development, they learn that their environment has so much to offer.
Children from the whole school and Nursery are actively involved with Eco-Schools activities, building upon their existing knowledge and learning new skills. They understand that they have a voice and that they have a safe platform to use it. They become minute makers, organisers, planners and influencers. The projects we are working on are inspired from children’s own ideas and imagination, success is seen in a non-academic form, things get done and they can see, live and breathe the benefits.
As well as pupil benefits, which have a hugely positive effect on the whole school community, our school benefits from reducing our environmental impact.
We hold regular committee meetings with children from school and nursery who have been nominated as ‘Planet Protectors’. They are encouraged to tell the committee about what they and their classmates have been doing, what they have been learning and any actions they plan to take. The children write the notes from the meeting and list any actions. These are shared with their classes and then put up on the School Eco-board for everyone to see.
We recently achieved our Eco-Schools Bronze Award and are now working towards our Silver Award. These are some of the areas we are currently working on:
- Collection of fruit and vegetable peel/cores/pips from fruit and drink time, collecting it in a tub and children from Nursery and each class empty the contents into one of the compost bins outside near the reception classes. Any fruit and vegetables that are left over from fruit and drink are put into a fruit bowl in the staff room for anyone to enjoy.
- We continually work with our kitchen staff to reduce the amount of food waste from the school kitchen. Unfortunately, we do have too much raw waste on a daily basis for us to be able to compost ourselves, however the food waste is saved and collected by a recycling waste team from East Sussex.
- We continue to recycle all crisp packets, batteries and used pens through the Terra-Cycle recycling programme.
- We continue to recycle all of our used paper and cardboard.
BIO - DIVERSITY
We are currently looking at implementing the following:
- Creating a bug hotel to encourage mini-beasts.
- Leaving some long grassy areas and planting some wild flowers in the Honeybee garden and in the Nursery garden to encourage butterflies/bees.
- Making some bird-feeders to encourage the birds.
Our main priority is to reduce the volume of plastic we use to reduce the amount of plastic that flows into our rivers and oceans.
- We are aiming for some of our Year 2 children to join in a beach clean organised by Plastic-Free Eastbourne.
- We are looking at eliminating the use of the 'cool milk cartons and straws' as these cannot be recycled and instead we will be using bottles of milk, which we will recycle. Cool Milk will also supply us with measured beakers, these beakers can be washed and re-used.
- We are collecting the plastic bags that the fruit and veg comes in and putting them in a year group bag and taking them to a local supermarket with a specific plastic recycling area.
- We are reducing the amount of laminating we do in school by using card as an alternative wherever appropriate.
If you would like to get involved in any aspect of our Eco-Schools programme please do get in touch either via email: email@example.com or speak to Sally in the office, she would be pleased to hear from you.