PHOTOS: Presentation Pupils Get Creative And Care For The Environment

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Presentation pupils modelling their Junk Couture designs. Photo: Dermot Crean

PUPILS at Presentation Primary School are once again getting a chance to show their artistic side by taking part in Year 2 of the Creative Schools Initiative.

The theme is “Shape and Space”, so they decided to look at the space we occupy predominantly in our lives and what kind of shape this space is in. Teacher Helena Hennessy outlines the many aspects to this year’s programme below…

“For us here in Presentation Primary School, the ‘Shape and Space’ means our school, our homes and the environment around us. We discussed how we would incorporate this into the curriculum to make it more creative.  Our main aim is to encourage the children to develop their creative skills, critical thinking skills, higher order and problem-solving skills.”

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“With a S.T.E.M. focus in mind, we linked with a group called Voice. This is a group of people who are very passionate and knowledgeable about environmental issues and who spend time campaigning to have these issues resolved.

“We are zoning in on plastic and we are doing a programme in conjunction with Voice called ‘No Home for Plastic’.  We have been creative in our quest to reduce plastic in school and at home.

Young scientists at Presentation Primary. Photo: Dermot Crean

Over the past few weeks our 3rd and 4th class children have donned their  scientist hats and have been busy conducting surveys and audits in school and at home, while 6th class—our mathematicians will be analysing the results of these audits.”

“This will help us make a valid plan to actively reduce plastic in our environment.  Our 6th Class girls are using discarded once off plastics and other materials to make maths equipment.  In school we have already dispensed with water bottles and we had water fountains installed which we use to refill our own bottles that we bring to school each day.”

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Presentation pupils made maths equipment from recycled material. Photo: Dermot Crean

We have teamed up with Deirdre Enright and Kerry ETB to take part in Kerry LCYP, a Local Creative Youth Partnership.  Every Monday afternoon, Andrew Scattergood and Donnchadha O Connor work with our fifth class to build an orchestra out of reusable plastics and other materials.  The children from 3rd to 6th class will also help to design and build a garden and outdoor creative space  as part of this project.”

Presentation pupils with instruments made out of recycled material. Photo: Dermot Crean

Our Junior school from infants to second class are engaging  in Drama workshops based on the theme “Save Our Planet”, with Sharon Costello, while second class are working on the same theme with Martin Schärer, creating all kinds of wonderful percussion sounds.

Presentation pupils who are doing drama and percussion workshops. Photo: Dermot Crean

“We hope to tackle marine issues with Martha Farrell from Tralee I.T. and Climate Change with Caitriona Fallon of Siamsa Tíre.  Our Third Class will engage in a Beach Clean up while our other fifth class will use our discarded plastic bottles and bottle caps to create a mosaic with a sea theme.  This will be permanently displayed in the school.

One of the key elements lf our project this year is Tralee Town Park. We decided to look at the Town Park as we are very close to it and we use the park for walks, nature trails,                picnics, play and many other events.

Members of ‘Save The Green’ with Presentation pupils who took part in a competition about the Town Park. Included at back are teacher Helena Hennessy, Lily Tangney, Tommy Collins and Jim Griffin of Save The Green and Principal John Hickey. Photo: Dermot Crean

We did some research and discovered that the Save the Green Committee have been very proactive for the past 50 years in maintaining the beauty of the park.  We were saddened and disappointed when we discovered that our beautiful park had received some negative media attention recently, due to a backlog of work that needed to be carried out.

We began thinking about how we could help make a difference and help “save our park”.  We saw a competition in the school entitled “Save Our Green”. They thought about how they might make a difference regarding the upkeep of the park and they had to express this in any creative form they chose.

They painted pictures, made posters, composed songs, poems, drama and dance.  We asked Tommy Collins and his committee if they would mind coming to the school  to judge the competition, which they did.

They spoke to the children about the history of the park and the various initiatives they undertook to ensure it remained a place of beauty and serenity over the past 50 years.  They showed us pictures and presented the winners with their prizes.

This was a great honour for us and form now on, Presentation Primary School will be involved in the upkeep of the park.  Every month one class will be seen in a different section of the park with their bags and gloves, donated to us by Kerry County Council, picking up discarded litter and plastic.  We are very excited about this and honoured to do something proactive for our beautiful town park.

On the 24th October we have a fashion show fundraiser in  the Rose Hotel.  Our fourth class girls have been busy creating junk couture from a variety of reusable materials which they will model on the night.

We have children and teachers from Junior Infants to sixth class modelling and  entertaining on the night.   Everybody is very excited and preparations are well under way.  We would like to thank our Parents Association. for all their hard work in helping  to organise this event.”

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