In 2014 Sunnyside Primary and LCR took the decision to enhance their curriculum through the theme of conservation. The school is delighted at just how much the pupils, parents/carers, staff and the local community have embraced the concept. The idea came from the original Ocean Defenders in 2014 who had embarked upon several different conservation projects. Upon realising that none of these would be concluded before they left for High School, they devised a plan whereby they could pass on the mantle to the younger pupils. The result was the creation of Seven Steps whereby each year group/step takes on a campaign ranging from work in their own playground to more global conservation issues.
Step One - The 'One’der of Our World
The youngest pupils are encouraged to explore and appreciate nature. They are involved in activities such as beach cleans and campaigning for the freedom of circus animals.
Step Two - Stepping 'Two' it
Exploring the mini-beasts and flora of the playground, as well as thinking of ways to protect the school environment.
Step Three - Flying 'Three'
Investigating and observing Scotland's bird life and campaigning to protect them and their environment. Their focus ranges from the visiting robin to the wonderful raptors of the sky.
Step Four - Step Up 'Four' Cardowan Moss
Adopting and looking after the local moss including being official ambassadors for the water vole. Using motion sensor cameras they monitor the wildlife in the moss and look at re-wilding at a national level.
Step Five – A High ‘Five’ for Nature
Our Wildlife Warriors take on the global issue of poaching and canned hunting as well as making our school environment more animal friendly.
Step Six - 'Six' Degrees Below
Our Polar Explorers investigate climate change and the polar regions. Being pro-active in encouraging a more sustainable approach to our life at school and at home by spreading their ‘Bear Aware’ campaign and Hygge afternoons.
Step Seven - 'Seven' the Planet
The oldest age group are our Ocean Defenders, campaigning against cetacean captivity and protecting our oceans through innovative social media projects such as their #NaeStrawAtAw campaign.
Each theme is used to improve achievement across all curricular areas and pupils have gained support and inspiration from groups including MCSUK, Living Seas, Seven Lochs, John Muir Award, Forestry Commission, Countryside Park Rangers, RSPB and the Big Lottery Fund.
Our pupils are citizens who live for and love the world they live in. Each class in the school campaigns to make their world a better place to live in. The Ocean Defenders in P7 inspire all other classes in their endeavours – the pupils are effecting change in our world through their campaigns for climate change, saving our endangered animals, reducing pollution, and the most important for our school at the moment – aiming to reduce the amount of single use plastic in the world.
The Ocean Defenders recently travelled to Ullapool to carry the #NaeStrawAtAw campaign to the village. Ullapool is now a plastic straw free village, and has featured in the news. Our pupils like to believe that this campaign seemed to spark our politicians into action as they launched their Final Straw campaign soon after. The Ocean Defenders and Primary 3 Ornithologists featured in the Evening Times, where their campaign was highlighted. Having won the Keep Scotland Beautiful award for anti-drinks litter their papier mache gannet with straws in its stomach got the message across.
Our children have already convinced Cal Mac, Best Bar None and Glasgow City Council to replace single use plastic straws. They are aware that some people may require a straw to drink independently or just prefer one and this is an important part of their message. So far they have brought in the communities of Arran, Oban and the Cairngorms to their campaign with more destinations and companies keen to hear their #NaeStrawAtAw message.
The #NaeStrawAtAw campaign has been trending nationwide. Check us out at @SunnysidePri on Twitter.
Everyone in school has played a part in this campaign but it would be remiss not to highlight the efforts and dedication of Lisa Perrie (PT) who has led this campaign with a passion which has proved infectious amongst out children!