As a Live Simply accredited school, we are passionate about providing opportunities to develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the importance of nature, sustainability and climate change. We teach our children how to translate this knowledge and understanding into positive actions and solutions by living simplysustainably and in solidarity with those in need. Our children are curious about the environment they live in and we increase opportunities for them to spend time in nature, learning more about it, so that they become actively involved in improving their local environment.

Sustainability and Climate Change Education News

Our Leslie Sell Project 

We were lucky enough to be awarded a £2000 grant by The Leslie Sell Trust which we have used to continue our mission to Live Simply, sustainability and educate our children on bio-diversity and the effects of climate change. Please read her to find out about how this grant has been used.

Mrs Ward on the Radio! 

At St Joseph’s, we are constantly striving to find new ways to to fulfil our Live Simply promise in both our school grounds and across the community. Since winning our Live Simply Award from CAFOD in 2019, we have continued to work on our ‘Live Simply’ mission, and we have been very busy these last few months working on our most ambitious whole school Eco Project to date. Sharing, exploring and being proactive, we have met the challenge of the 3 Rs head on: reduce, reuse and recycle were the key themes in our project alongside our  ‘Live Simply’ promise, and we really have gone above and beyond!

Every class from Reception to Year 6 has taken part in custom workshops designed just for them, by Zoe Phillips of ‘By Deckle and Hide’, making items to benefit the wildlife in their own school environment and to share beyond their own school gates within their community. Each session has been supported with discussions about environment, sustainability and how every single item they make can make a make a direct difference to wildlife, not just today but over time to come.

To see more information about our Live Simply projects this year, keep reading as below we go into detail about each class workshop!

Mrs Ward and Mrs Phillips recently featured on the radio on Thursday 23rd February 2023 on BBC Radio York Live to talk more about our very special ‘Live Simply’ Eco Projects. If you missed this, don’t worry, you can listen below!  To listen to Mrs Ward and Mrs Phillips on the radio, watch the video below.

FS2 – Wild Flower Seeds Project

Some of our youngest pupils in school have taken part of a project. The children have been learning about the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The children used old scrap paper to make seeded paper which can be used sustainably to help wildlife and the environment. Year 6 stuck instructions to the back of the card which was all cut out from old cardboard due to go into the recycling bins. FS2 and Y6 planet protectors went to the local hardware shop who were pleased to give out to customers for free during the festive season.  Let’s hope we get more wild flowers in the community next year as a result of this project.

Y1 – Bird Feeder Project

In Year 1, to support our local community,  the children have been taking part of a project to support local birds by creating bird feeders. During this project, the children learnt about the different types of bird seed and what birds like at certain times of the year and their importance in seed growth. We wanted to have wider impact in the community so the children took some of the bird feeders beyond our school gates and into the children’s back gardens. Some of them were placed in our school woodland too.  Over 30 bird feeders are now in place to feed the birds in winter, all made from materials that were going into the recycle bins at home!

Y2 – Minibeast Habitats Project

To help the local environment, Year 2 have been working on an exciting project of creating mini beast habitat boxes to ensure that our local school environment would have suitable habitats for a range of minibeasts to call their home. 

The children first began to think and consider why insects are so important to our environment. They then applied some of their previous science learning about habitats and thought about what features insects would need to have in a habitat box to be attracted to live there and survive. Year 2 were great at thinking about the four R’s when scavenging and collecting their materials to fill their boxes to Reduce, Refuse, Reuse and Recycle. They collected an abundance of found materials from home, outside and even on their way to school!

The children showed fantastic teamwork, concentration, and resilience to complete their habitat boxes and finally they thoroughly enjoyed selecting just the right spot outside for them to be placed in the school grounds!

Y3 – Bat Boxes Project

The Year 3 children spent a day working with Mrs Philips to build bat boxes for our local community. As this was part of a Live Simply project, the wood was being recycled from old pallets to give it a second life. The children worked in pairs to construct the bat boxes. This involved hammering in pin nails, drilling holes and using the drill to add in the screws. All to help our furry friends! The result was amazing; our children had successfully built bat boxes, which will provide a fantastic shelter for bats in our area! A huge thank you to Mrs Philips who patiently guided us through our DIY experience.

Year 3 were delighted and proud to hand over the bat boxes that they made in their Live Simply DT lessons. Councillor Connor Mulhall has kindly offered to arrange to have these located at Scurr Bank near the Ings in Wetherby. The area has been selected as it has a rich food source for the bats, and they can be placed high in the trees, south facing and in a relative quiet location. Watch out for our bat boxes when you go for a walk down there. We hope the bats love their new homes! Well done Year 3 – your bat boxes will help the local eco-system to thrive!
We are delighted to see that the bat boxes have now been placed in their new home. We are so proud of our pupils contributing to the looking after the wildlife in our local area!

Y4 Live Simply Eco Project: Hedgehog Houses

As part of our whole school ecology project Year 4 had the fantastic opportunity to make large wooden hedgehog houses to be used within the school grounds and the local community. Y4 had an amazing practical hands-on project, working with pre-cut pieces of wood and up-cycled materials, which fits with our Live Simply mission. They made hedgehog houses linked to our Eco schools mission as one of our goals in helping the planet is to protect our local wildlife and habitats and encourage biodiversity. The children learnt how important it is to help reverse the decline of hedgehogs in the wild, improve their welfare and safeguard the future of this much-loved animal.

The DT skills which the children have developed to be able to achieve this task included using a drill, changing drill bits, screwing and how to problem-solve and change where wooden panels are screwed together to ensure a great fit of the roof of the houses. Learning how to strengthen a structure and follow instructions were other key skills. The children also covered their hedgehog houses with felt to make them weatherproof. Well done Y4 and thank you to Zoe for all her hard work and inspiration.

Y5- Bird Boxes Project

Before beginning their projects, Year 5 spent time exploring the uses of birdhouses and why they are important, particularly to protect our common British garden birds. This gave us a real purpose for this project! The children worked in pairs to construct their birdhouse. They had to learn a range of new skills, and new knowledge too! This included what the tools were they were going to use, how to use them as well as the names of the equipment and skills they were using. The children worked to construct their birdhouse: they had to choose the right tool, swap the tools in the drill, pick up the right length screw to join the different pieces of wood, as well as ensuring that the birdhouse was assembled and joined together correctly. Once the children had constructed their birdhouses, they were able to decorate them and paint them with some paint that had been kindly donated to us from Touchwood, a hardware store in Wetherby. All of the materials used for the birdhouses has been either recycled or reused as this is an eco-friendly project! We will be placing these birdhouses in our woodland area in school and around our local community to support the birds in our area.

Y6 – Bird Tables Project

Year 6 had the fantastic opportunity to make large wooden bird tables to be used within the school grounds and the local community. Zoe Phillips of Deckle and Hide ran the workshop where Year 6 children had an amazing practical hands-on project, working with pre-cut pieces of wood and up-cycled materials, which fits with our Live Simply mission. They made bird tables linked to our Eco schools mission as one of our goals in helping the planet is to protect our local wildlife and habitats. The children learnt how important it is to help local birds because they are key pollinators of plants, they disperse seeds and also keep insect populations under control.

The children also learnt about what kinds of birds might visit their bird tables in the local area and what sorts of food we should put out for them at different times of the year.

Planet Protector Live Simply Water Sources for Birds Project

Our planet protectors from FS2 to Y6 (14 in total) worked on a project to provide a water source for birds during the winter months. They worked together and made 5 water sources in total which are located around our school grounds in the woodland area. They made their water sources from old, discarded tyres. They made sure the sides had a shallow approach to the water to allow different species to access. Extra rocks were placed in the water so that the birds have something rough to cling to and can get comfortable. The planet protectors will check these during the cold months and make sure they are topped up with water, crack the ice during cold days so that water is accessible, and top up with water in the summer months too. Well done to our planet protectors who really enjoyed making these and were not afraid to get their hands dirty!