St Francis College lives up to its Silver Eco-School Flag status
St Francis College lived up to its Silver Eco-School Flag status this weekend with a ‘Glam up our Garden’ event. Children, teachers and parents gave up their usual Saturday morning beach time and armed themselves with spades, wheelbarrows, plants and a healthy disregard for dirt and hard work. The aim of the event was to spruce up the school’s neglected veggie garden and to create a space to enjoy nature, learn how to live sustainably and, by selling the garden’s produce in the future, foster all important entrepreneurial skills.
The first ‘seeds’ of development were sown by generous donations of a truck load (12 cubic metres) of organic compost, by Andre Bonnet from Reliance, an endless amount of horse manure from Tess Strzelecki, An establishment of four worm farms by Andrew Morris and materials to build new vegetable beds and a shaded seed area, by Tanton Dace of Dace Construction.
A huge thank you to these sponsors, and to all of the parents, scholars and teachers who have so far donated their time, skills, materials and much needed enthusiasm.
If anyone would like to get involved, or join in the regular Garden Glamming days, please contact St Francis College on 042294139
Article and photos by Vicki Holder
At a full assembly on Tuesday 12th March, the staff and learners of Sea Vista Primary School in St Francis Bay bade a fitting farewell to two of their long serving teachers who are retiring from active service.
Mr Mentoor Leander taught at the school for 13 years and Ms Daline Felix for 10 years. Each of these veterans has clocked up 36 years of teaching experience and their contribution to the school over the years, both academically and in extra mural activities is going to be sorely missed
In his address to the school, headmaster Charles Coenraad said, “Sea Vista Primary was extremely fortunate to have had teachers of the calibre of Mr Leander and Ms Felix who are both highly respected by their colleagues, learners and in the community. They will certainly not be easily replaced. We all wish them both every happiness in their retirement and may God grace them both with good health and many happy memories.”
Press Release & Photo – Lyn Aitken
Kabeljous Estuary Adventure with Harry
St Francis College Grade 3’s were treated to a very special outing on 14th February. They walked through the Kabeljous Estuary with Aweigh Adventures Eco-Ed Specialist Harry Bateman, enjoying swimming and playing while learning all about this sensitive and pristine environment.
Harry teaches those who join one of his outings to the salt water estuarine environment that we live on a planet with limited resources and an ever increasing demand on natural environments and habitats. It is critical for us to understand the sensitivities and intricacies of estuaries, considered some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world and where all rivers meet the sea.
Estuarine environments have come under threat from development, as space around these natural gems is scenic and filled with wildlife but also perfect for development. What is not commonly understood is that the estuarine environment is very sensitive and hosts so many interconnected species and processes that rely on each other for food and habitat, that any development can permanently destroy the habitat for millions of creatures.
The visit to the Kabeljouws Estuary is an exercise in connecting with the estuary on many different levels, sensory as well as intellectually. To take care of something you have to love it and think it is special… To know more about it and everything that lives and functions within it, creates an understanding and a caring that will one day become the responsibility of young decision makers whom will have to decide the fate of these natural habitats.
From the high and low water mark closest to the waves of the sea, to where the fresh river comes into the system, the effect of the tides, the hydrological cycle, the movement of nutrients within the cycle and the effect of heat, the shallow nature of the estuary and so many interesting facts about this environment makes it one of the most exciting ecosystems in the world to explore. In fact, it can be considered the most productive ecosystems in the world and very easily out-produce environs like forests.
Harry’s groups enjoy the estuary, learn how it functions and explore the inter-connected relationships between organisms in the system so that we can relate to the environment in a caring loving way. Not many people know that it actually is our best organic waste disposal and recycling unit on the planet, while providing home to birds, fish, mammals, crustaceans and ultimately the enjoyment of man as a place to connect with mother nature in a special way.
An Estuary is one of the most productive Ecosystems in the world. From where the fresh water enters the system the organisms are working hard to control the salinity. Organic materials transported by the fresh rain, end up settling in the river mouth or estuary. Here it starts to decompose providing food for whatever is living in the sand which in turn provides food for whatever lives in the water and then provides food for birds and wildlife that rely on the fish.
This interconnected system can have very large connections with man ultimately reaping the rewards of this finely tuned waste disposal unit. But do not litter because there are some forms of waste that take forever to break down, so be responsible and take care of this wonderful gift from nature because if we alter it, we lose all its diversity and its function within the system and are left with a stinking mess… but for now Kabeljouws is healthy and we hope it stays that way through caring and sharing of how wonderful this system is.
St Francis College are very excited to report that we earned our Eco Schools “Green Flag decade” in 2018.
It was our thirteenth year involved with Eco-Schools and the thirteenth year we have received an award. This year we are entering our “Gold Decade”. There are eleven themes, from which we need to choose four to focus on for the year. We look forward to revealing our focus themes soon!
The Eco–Schools programme is an international programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that was developed to support environmental learning in the classroom. The programme is active in 67 countries around the world and has been implemented in South Africa since 2003 by WESSA.
Eco–Schools is about improving environmental management at the school, as well as environmental learning. This means that teachers, learners, community members and/or partner organisations get together and undertake a project to improve some aspect of environmental management at their school.
Here are the College Grade 1 class busy making Eco-Bricks made by filling 2 litre plastic cold drink bottles with plastic packets. The bricks can then be used to build almost any structure.
In 2009 at the launch of the Children’s edition of ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’ at the READ (Read, Educate And Develop) Trust in Ormonde, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Ziyande, eight years old at the time, was asked by her famous grandfather to read a message to those assembled.
“Our granddad believes that education and reading are two of the most important things for children. He has asked me to read you this message: ‘Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. The system of apartheid robbed many children of their right to a decent education and of the joy of reading. This joy is one that I have treasured all my life, and it is one I wish for all South Africans.
“‘We are happy that all children are now able to read, in the language of their choice, the story of the long road we travelled for freedom in South Africa. The children of South Africa need to know this history. Everyone should try to read for at least an hour every day. Parents can read to their children and older children can read for themselves.’”
Many children are compromised in their efforts for without light to read by, particularly in the winter months how can anyone be motivated into doing under candlelight?
St Francis Links residents Chris and Di Kelway recently contacted St Francis Today to attend a function at Sea Vista Primary School to witness their Light to Read Project. Not too sure what it was all about we arrived as Jeff Clause was sort of playing Santa again even though he wasn’t wearing the mandatory red suit. The St Francis Links combi had arrived with literally hundreds of brown paper bags packed with goodies supplied by First Choice, Spar and St Francis Links who also packed the some 600 packets.
The occasion was the handing out of almost 600 Solar Panel Lights as part of Chris and Di’s ‘Light to Read’ project where every child was given a solar light panel.
“We launched, in 2016, a Light to Read Project, whereby we provide every Learner in a low to no income environment a solar light. Every learner is permitted to take the solar light home and allows them to read and do homework after dark. We have already influenced 3000 learners in Gauteng and KZN and wanted to pick a School in the Eastern Cape.. hence Sea Vista Primary and we concluded that this was a good fit considering my relationship with St Francis.
We tracked improvements with the Learners and some very quick wins were as follows:
Homework completion rate improved from 20% to 65% within a matter of weeks and literacy improvement for the Learners had improved over 400% in a 6 month period.
For a Learner with limited energy source at home, this is an incredible benefit as the Learner can use a proper source of light to read and learn after darkness descends.
The School owns the solar right and the Learner is able to utilise the solar light at home, based on a continued code of good conduct.
Normally we would also donate a reading book to each Learner, but with the Rotary Club of St Francis Bay driving the Sea Vista Community Library Centre, the School will link our Solar Light to Read program with the Library Project.
The funds raised for the Light to Read program come from individual and private company donations and the program has no involvement from anyone in the Department of Education or Government. It is aimed at the Primary School Learner to provide this Light To Read assistance at as early an age as possible.”
Should you wish be part of the Light to Read Project Light to Read Project Pledge Form….