Sustainability @ St Joseph's

​Guardians of the Earth

On the first pupil free day, a number of years ago, the St Joseph's staff participated in a Spirituality Day, facilitated by Catholic Earth Care Australia. The day was an opportunity to continue and clarify our sustainability journey. We had the occasion to look at Our relationship with God’s Creation together with critically reflecting on our personal spiritual journey. We also had time to contemplate the signs of the times. With this grounding, as a whole staff, we then explored our collective ‘Sustainability’ vision for our school.

From this day a Steering Group was formed (Adult Guardians of the Earth – Adult GOTE’s for short) consisting of staff, parent and parish representatives. This group met and together with the vision outlined by the whole staff, created a set of goals statements.

Sustainability Goal Statements

  1. Cultivate students to become ‘Guardians of the Earth’, inspired by a deeper spiritual connectedness
  2. Our goal is to have a commitment to sustainability embedded into the school culture and reflected in attitudes and community leadership.
  3. Education for sustainability is embedded across the P-7 curriculum
  4. Our intent is to create, not just an awareness of sustainability, but to enable an ecological conversion across the 6 dimensions – whole school planning, ethical resource use, community relationships, teaching and learning, cultivating grounds and community relationships.
  5. Develop practises and procedures that support long term viability of sustainability efforts.
  6. That our sustainability efforts engage not just students but parents, parish and the wider community

A second group, Kid GOTE’s, was also formed due to the high interests of the children. Approximately 40 students from years five, six and seven are actively assisting the school. Similarly to the Adult GOTE’s the Kid GOTE’s created a set of goal statements.

Kid GOTE’s Sustainability Goal Statements

  1. Our aim is to encourage other students, parents and people in our community to become ‘Guardians of the Earth’.
  2. We want to raise awareness about environmental sustainability.
  3. Our group aims to keep our environment clean.
  4. Plan and fundraise to support environmental projects.
  5. Our goal is to support the school and teachers in current sustainable practices.
  6. We aim to encourage students from P-7 to be involved.
  7. Our intent is to be hands on at school but also within our community.
  8. Develop procedures that will make sure our group achieves its goals and continues to function and succeed into the future.

This wonderful group of children are dedicated to environmental sustainability within the school and the wider community and are very excited about what they are doing. They have been happily giving up their lunch times to work out what everyone is doing and to generate new sustainability ideas. They have been divided into four groups and are responsible for different areas. Throughout the year the students will have an opportunity to participate in each role.

With the support of the staff, the Adult GOTE’s will be responsible for establishing guiding strategies and initiatives and will be responsible for the ongoing monitoring and reporting on all relevant initiatives to the Principal and parish.

To actually achieve lasting change it is vital that a combined approach is utilised. A combined effort and community approach ie, staff, parents, parish and wider community will ensure ongoing and successful management.

Following is a basic chart outlining the structure of the group.

Guiding Committee Adult GOTES
Curriculum Integration Sustainability Awareness Cause Supporters Community Activities Activity Guardians
A group tasked with ultimately integrating  sustainability awareness across the P-7 curriculum. A group tasked with communicating sustainability activities within the school as well as raising sustainability awareness within the school, staff, parents, parish and community. A group tasked with identifying causes to be supported (these may be activities of other groups within the school) and looking at ways of raising funds.  This may include appropriate grant applications. This group is tasked with identifying activities that interested persons/the school may like to engage with (for example Clean up Australia Day or Plant a Tree) and then are responsible for actually arranging for the activity to take place. This group is charged with ensuring that all of the sustainability activities that the school engages in are done well.  This role will see students training other classes to take on responsibility for certain initiatives.

We are very excited about the prospect of change and are very fortunate to be supported by our wonderful students and parish. If you would like to discuss any of the above please contact the school office and someone from the Adult GOTE’s will be in touch with you.

Recycling at St Joseph's: We are very proud to announce that through the government initiative, ‘Do the Right Thing, Use the Right Bin’, we have introduced a new waste minimisation system. This has allowed us to reduce our overall waste generation, educate on proper waste reduction practices and instil a sense of leadership and responsibility in our students. Click on the document 'Recycling at St Joseph's' to read more about this initiative and to find out which bin to use.


Recycling at St Joseph's