Ali thinks it is unacceptable that parents aren’t always interested in the education of their children, and as a result, schools are not benefitting from the rich fabric of the community they’re made up of. Unfortunately, at the start of the year, many parents weren’t contacting Ali’s school unless they had a complaint to make, and they had no idea about the sorts of things their kids were up to when they were at school. Ali believes in a school where parents work alongside their children to achieve the best learning outcomes, and she set about to make that a reality.
The key to Ali’s initiative was the involvement of parents in their children’s learning. She’s working to a 2 year plan, so the project is still in progress, but Ali’s got big plans!
With the help of colleagues, Ali established class gardens in the primary area at her school, and her school employed a ‘gardener’ to support the kids and teachers. They’re now planning to move the gardens out into the general yard where parents walk to drop their children off at school. The hope is that these gardens provide opportunities for parent engagement as they become established and students are excited about the growth they can see taking place.
They’ve also started to make some physical changes to buildings at Ali’s school with the hope that these changes might encourage community use of the space, too. They now have a canteen servery, an outside ‘cafe’, lovely seating areas, and gardens for reflective space. The school’s in the progress of building a new senior block, too.
So far Ali’s initiatives have positively impacted 126 students.
“Our kitchen gardener was a volunteer parent. We encouraged her to register as an SSO and this allowed us to employ her. We have valued her knowledge and expertise and our students and teachers have learnt about sustainability, recycling, reuse, and living lightly on the planet with her help. She has grown in confidence and she and her family are now leaving for Tasmania where they will live an alternative lifestyle as self-producers. We lose a great resource, but she and her family are winners!”
Like the idea?
Ali would love your support for Planting Connections, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Ali and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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