Home' Teacher : May 2011 Contents FEATURE -- SCHOOL DESIGN & SUPPLY 47
The second integral component of this pro -
ject is that the building and its surrounds
were consistent with the principles of sus-
tainability, which, it's worth pointing out,
connect intimately with the principles of
a habitat for 21st- century learning we've
As Jane Sayers and Jose Roberto Guevara
explain, education for sustainability 'empha-
sises active learning and focuses on the
future. Education for sustainability is an
approach to education that seeks to give
learners the skills, confidence and mindset to
effect meaningful change in their own lives.'
This is critical to any educational endeavour.
According to Debbie Dunwoody in 'It's easy
being green,' sustainability in schools is no
longer confined to curriculum; these days it
shapes everything from the way schools go
about their business to the way they use their
Of course, there are these days many
regulations to ensure that new buildings
meet or surpass minimum sustainability
requirements. Addressing those in this pro -
ject, Meaden's design includes automatic
louvres to align airflow and temperature.
The heating and cooling system automati-
cally adjusts to a preset temperature. Roof-
harvested rainwater is used for the toilets as
well as in the gardens where a drip system is
connected to the water tank, while the stor-
age shed overflow tops up the yabby and fish
pond. The edible gardens provide food for
cooking in the new kitchen, while the out-
door area provides a place for the prepared
food to be shared.
As the CEO's Learning- centred Schools:
Teaching and lear ning framework and
strategy explains, 'In a learning- centred
school, learning environments . . . strengthen
a culture of community within and beyond
Our 17.5 acre parish site has been rec-
ognised by the City of Greater Dandenong
council as a significant site for the local
community. In 2000, a local heritage over-
lay was placed on the site. Today our site
still serves the local com munity -- we're an
outward-looking school community that
reaches out to the wider community.
While the new building and surrounds
are predominantly for school purposes,
there are many opportunities for ou r wider
community to share in the use of this won-
derful facility. The notion that schools are
core social centres has developed in Catho -
lic schools in Melbourne over the past 10
years. Schools are more than just places
where children come to learn. In some
communities, schools are located where
the com munity gathers. Andrew Bunting,
speaking at the Australian Council of
Educational Leaders 'Future of schooling'
conference in 2006, pointed out that this
is a viable option for new schools. 'In my
suburb,' he noted, 'the local primary school
is buried in the residential precinct, but the
heart of the local community is located in
the main retail precinct. It would be great
to have a school above the shops and to be
a part of the "centre of the community"
rather than isolated and so often deserted
as soon as the bell rings.' It's not practical
to move an existing school into the cen-
tre of the community, but it is practical
for those schools to provide facilities for
community wellbeing, in essence shifting
the centre of gravity closer to the school's
Besides the gardens and outdoor social
spaces, we wanted the new development to
include outdoor seating and tables, creat-
ing a gathering space for adult art classes,
say, or where people can use wireless tech-
nologies operating as part of the program
of the adult learning centre, which is adja-
cent to the school site. The out-of-school-
hours program also uses the facilities each
day, providing children with a wide variety
of activities. Littlies from our preschool
program and other local kindergartens
can use the maze and other parts of the
The BER initiative has given all schools
an opportunity to provide 21- century
facilities, but we all know that resources by
themselves won't change learning if policies,
planning and a clear vision are not articu-
lated. The focus must continue to be on the
learning and achievement we intend for our
Fr Brian Collins is the parish priest
of Resurrection Catholic Church in
Keysborough, Melbourne. Dr Steve
Bellesini is the principal of Resurrection
School in Keysborough, Melbourne.
Photos by David McArthur of Parralax
Bunting, A. (2006). Schools of the
future: Andrew Bunting answers some
key questions. Australian Council of
Educational Leaders 'Future of school-
ing' confere nce. Available at ww w.
Catholic Education Offic e (2008).
Learning-centred Schools: Teaching
and lear ning framework and strategy.
Melbourne: CEO. Available at http://
Dunwoody, D. (2007). It's easy being
green. Sustain ability in schools. Teache r.
Featherstone. M. (2006). The 'Inside-
Out' project: Can the physical environ -
ment be a 'teacher' in itself? Available at
Helm, J.H. Turckes, S.F. & Hinton,
K. (2010). A habitat for 21st-century
learning. Educational Leadership. 67(7):
Ministerial Council on Education,
Employment, Training and Youth Affairs.
(2008). Learning Spaces Framework.
Melbourne: Curriculum Corporation.
Sayers, J. & Guevara, J.R. (2007).
Education for sustainability.
Independent Education. 37(3): 16 -20.
Wilks, S. (2010). Building pedagogy.
Teacher. 210: 38-42.
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