Assemble a Team
The first step is to get a small team together. The most successful projects are a collaborative effort, plus, it's far more fun if you’ve got support and can share the workload!
If your school has a Green Team be sure to link in with them - they might be the key to finding other interested people in your school to help you and they will most likely be those that contribute to different PLastic Free projects you decide to take on. There's no point in having multiple committees in your school doing similar work - much better to pool your energy and talents! You'll need a team of 5 people (staff, parents etc), and also buy-in from the school principal. Assign different roles to each person, including internal communication in the school, designing a workshop, and linking with the wider community.
Plan and deliver the lessons
Each lesson is approx. 10 mins long and the playlist can be accessed on the Change by Degrees YouTube channel here. Every lesson has a different theme with follow-on activities and opportunities to be creative. You can find more details about the follow-up activities in the Lesson Overview document on the resources section.
Plastic Free Ambassadors
History of Plastic
Sustainable Development Goals and Waste
Refuse, reduce, re-use, recycle
Plastic in our communities
Plastic and our food
A plastic free life
This is an SESE and SPHE programme that is fully aligned with curriculum objectives for 3rd to 6th class, mainly in the areas of Environmental Awareness and Care, Materials in Science and Developing Citizenship in SPHE. Each lesson is made up of a 10 min video with a variety of follow on activities. You can assign it daily or as a 2 week project. Please adapt it to suits your needs and the ability of your pupils.
When the lessons are completed you can give your students a certificate to show they are now Plastic Free Ambassadors!! (the certificate can be found in the resources section).
Communicate with the wider school community
This project will only be a success if it has support from the wider school community, particularly parents and guardians, as they will be involved, for example, in reducing plastic in lunch boxes, and in supporting the children as they spread the message in the wider community. Communicate through any and all mediums that the school usually uses, for example the newsletter, website, Whatsapp and Facebook groups. In these communications you could include a link to the Change by Degrees YouTube channel (so parents can watch the videos with kids at home), any plans the school has to take action, updates on what has happened so far e.g posters the kids have made, and any results achieved e.g. a reduction the volume of plastics in the bins.
Choose plastic-free projects to get started on
Here are some Project Inspiration Ideas:
School workshops with experts, artists, facilitators, scientists etc.
Bins & Signage for proper waste disposal
Install a water fountain or drinking water tap in the school and register it on refill.ie.
Buy Pollutoys for workshops on plastic pollution
Build a composting area in your school garden.
Once you have completed the lessons and the school community is engaged, you can take this programme to the next level by deciding on one or more inspiring plastic-free projects you can take on as a school community! This box shows some suggestions of potential projects, but there is a more detailed list called Project Inspiration Ideas for Plastic Free 4 Kids in the resources section. You will know which projects will be the best fit for your school community.
Become Plastic Free Ambassadors in the community
Once your school is up and running on its path to becoming a Plastic Free School, it's time for you all to become ambassadors in the community! There are lots of ways to do this, some ideas are:
Connect with your Tidy Towns group or take the lead to run a plastic clean up in your area. Buy litter pickers, reusable gloves and reusable bags and crates to collect the rubbish.
Link with other schools to encourage them to get involved too
Collaborate with a local shop to reduce plastic packaging.
Support those in 6th class to come up with ways to bring the Plastic Free 4
Schools actions into their new secondary school
Replicate the actions in local sports clubs that students are involved with
If you want help from Tara and Madeleine in getting your community involved or you would like them to come to your community for a visit, get in touch with them here: [email protected] to discuss further and work out what costs would be involved.