School Cases: Pine Village Preschool Goes Green

By Brid Martin, Jan 2020 – 

How a Newton preschool started a Green program with the help of School Connections

I am one of the founders of Pine Village Preschool, a Spanish immersion preschool for toddler and preschool-age children. We have ten schools located throughout Greater Boston, with two locations in Newton. I am enrolled in the Mindfulness Studies Master’s Degree Program at Lesley University, where I am currently taking my internship class, Mindfulness as Social Engagement. I have long been passionate about environmental issues and now have both the opportunity and dedicated time to develop a more environmentally friendly setting at each of our schools. I discovered the Green Newton School Connections group through an online search, and as a member since October 2019, I have already learned a lot. Most recently, I enrolled our West Newton School in the MassDEP The Green Team, an excellent resource I discovered through the group.

We have identified a list of goals to help us get a Green School program started. They include:

  • placing recycling and composting containers at each school;
  • educating directors and teachers on what gets recycled, composted, and logistics such as pick-up dates and times, etc.;
  • creating developmentally appropriate curriculum in English and Spanish centered on the concepts of sustainability and mindfulness for toddlers and preschoolers;
  • replacing paper and one-time use utensils with reusable options;
  • utilizing recycle centers as potential resources for writing and art/curriculum materials;
  • involving parents in our efforts and offering suggestions and tools that extended the learning and practices at home.

Implementing environmentally friendly practices and focusing our education on environmental issues at the West Newton School will help inform future rollouts at our other school locations. We also plan on sharing what we learn and the curriculum we develop with other preschool programs that are interested in starting a sustainability initiative.

We are running out of time to do something that halts and reverses the effects of climate change. The time is now, and we all bear the responsibility to save this planet for future generations. We have an opportunity to do something meaningful starting where we live, with our families, our workplaces, and our communities.

I am enthusiastically committed to creating Green Schools, one school at a time, while teaching our littlest citizens that they have the power to make change happen. I am optimistic about the future, and failure is not an option. I invite you to join an environmental group in your neighborhood. If you live or work in Newton, I highly recommend that you check out Green Newton. I have met many people who are already doing so much, and I have unearthed a treasure trove of resources to help me in my mission.

Brid Martin
Cofounder, Pine Village Preschool

pinevillagepreschool.com

NPS Superintendent Addresses Sustainability in his January Update

In his periodic update to the Newton school community sent out on January 21st, David Fleishman talked about sustainability in our schools.  “Many of our students are at the forefront of this issue, as evidenced by their powerful speeches to our School Committee last week.” (See the Jan 13th meeting minutes here, and one of the speeches here). 

Read the full newsletter here:  News from the Superintendent (January 2020)

Together with Dr. Fleishman, we look forward to “strengthening our own sustainable practices as a district while continuing to provide our students with multiple opportunities to learn about, engage in, model, and actively support a more sustainable planet.” 

Green Newton School Connections has been working with the district and the city as a member of the School Sustainability Working Group. We are thankful for the partnership in helping to engage with families,  propose policy, and support sustainable practices and more environmental literacy and climate education. 

Please take a look at our  initiatives here. And join us! All are invited to attend our meetings

GreenExpo was a Great Day to Connect Students and Adults

The booth School Connections shared with Students for a Greener World was busy at the 2019 GreenEXPO on Sunday, October 20. Thank you to all who stopped by and especially to our student volunteers who helped to spread the word about Green Teams and actions everyone can take every day for the environment.

  • Children added leaves to our tree of ideas about how to fight climate change and  made pine cone bird feeders. 
  • We were lucky to have the Newton South Farm as our neighbors.  The high school runs a robust farm program, with enthusiastic students. They were selling beautiful vegetables at the fair.
  • We learned about gardens that we didn’t know about at Lincoln-Eliot and Franklin. 
  • Bike Newton expressed interest in connecting the Newton South and Newton North bike clubs to do activities together.
  • We heard that the Climate Action group at Newton North (who promoted the March 15th March) is planning another climate action in Boston the Friday after Thanksgiving. They are set to connect with Newton South so both schools collaborate.

It was a great day to connect and confirm that together we are building a more sustainable school community in Newton.

GreenExpo-2019

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School Cases: Zervas encourages families to walk, bike, ride the bus or carpool to school

Original post from Zervas Walks – 

Zervas is celebrating international walk to school day on Friday, October 4.

GETTING TO SCHOOL

WALKWalking is the best way to get to school! Kids love to walk, especially with friends, and it gives them time to wake-up, socialize and expend a little energy so they arrive at school ready to learn. Walking home is a great way to wind down. We encourage all families to walk whenever possible. Zervas is designed as a walkable school.

BIKE – Biking is another great way to get to school! Children in grades K through 3 should bike with an adult. There are bike racks by the front door of the school and at the back playground.  The Newton Police will host bike safety training for Zervas 5th graders again this year.

BUSSchool buses help reduce traffic! If you live more than a mile from school you may be eligible for bus service. Go to the Newton Public Schools transportation website for more information and Zervas bus schedules.

CARParking is extremely limited. Drivers must use the Blue Zone (a “live” drop-off/pick-up zone) or park legally on the street. If you choose to drive, please read this guide and review the map carefully.

SCHOOL ZONE SAFETY

  • Slow down, hang up, and be patient!
  • Kids must always use the crosswalk even with an adult!
  • Never drop off or pick up from a traffic lane or a No Parking or No Standing area – only from the Blue Zone or a legal parking space. There are no parking spaces in front of the Blue Zone.
  • Beethoven Ave is Do Not Enter at drop-off and pick-up headed north. Stay on the east side of the street to allow for emergency vehicles.
  • No turning in driveways — kids are running down the sidewalk that you are crossing!
  • If the Blue Zone is full you cannot wait for spaces to open – it creates dangerous gridlock. Either circle the block or park legally.
  • Don’t back up to exit the Blue Zone – a child might step off the curb behind you!
  • Park legally. Observe all signs.
  • Do not enter the school bus loop or staff parking lot on Beacon St.
  • Never block (or park within 5ft. of, or park in) a private driveway.
  • Never pass a school bus with flashing red lights! It’s the law.

More on the Zervas Walks website

Tip of the Week: Reduce and Reuse Your School Supplies

-Original post from Green Newton

The Bigelow PTO has suggested great ideas for families to reduce school shopping lists during the summer by keeping items from this school year that are still in good condition. This can save money, will reduce waste and it can be a great opportunity to embrace our sustainable values for students. There’s a reason reduce & reuse come before recycle– not just because it sounds good, but it’s the order in which we should approach sustainability.

After the school year is over, take the following steps:

  • Empty backpacks, pencil cases, binders, folders.
  • Clean everything (a swipe of rubbing alcohol can remove marker and make things look like new).
  • Organize pens, pencils, markers, scissors, calculators, etc.
  • Take out the used pages of notebooks and evaluate if the notebook can be reused in school or at home.

When the school supply list arrives during the summer, compare the list with what you have organized and cleaned. You might find out that there’s very little to buy!

Sustainable Back-to-School Supplies at Bigelow

Newton Schools were honored for their environmental efforts during the 2018-2019 school year

Three Newton schools were awarded with the 25th Annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education.

  • Mason-Rice Elementary School – “Green Team Kids,” Grades, 3, 4 & 5
  • Bowen Elementary School – “Newton Environmental Science Program,” Newton Conservation Commission, David Backer, Executive Director – Grades 5-8
  • Mt. Alvernia Academy (Chestnut Hill) – “STEM FUN FAIR,” Grades K-5

Winners competed for $5,000 in awards, funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust with the intention to fund further environmental education initiatives at the schools. EEA solicited Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Award nominations in early 2019. Schools and organizations that voluntarily incorporate environmental education into public or private school curricula are given priority. Read more…

Trash and Recycling Bins in Newton Schools

Please find below the number of trash and recycling bins that each Newton Public School has, according to Walk-Through Assessment done in May-July 2018 by the Newton Sustainable Materials Management office and GN School Connection volunteers.

If your school needs more bins, please contact us at [email protected], and we will help you to get them.
If you need to print signage to fix above the bins, please look at your school to see how many you will need. We can also help you figure out how to order and pay for the signage.

Angier – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 53
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 72
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Bowen – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 46
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Burr – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 40
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 47
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Carr – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 48
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Countryside – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 37
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Franklin – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 44
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 45
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Horace Mann – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 42
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 4
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Lincoln-Eliot – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 56
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 60
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 5

Mason-Rice – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 34
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 41
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Memorial Spaulding – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 37
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 40
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Peirce – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 30
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 26
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Underwood – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 22
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 37
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 1

Ward – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 54
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 48
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Williams – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 27
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 29
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Zervas – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 59
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 53
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Aquinas Preschool – Pre-K (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 15
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 35
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Oak Hill – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 73
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 95
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Bigelow – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 54
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 60
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 3
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Charles E. Brown – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 74
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 104
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 2
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

FA Day – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 105
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 131
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Newton North – High (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 158
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 8
Total Trash Bins Indoors 186
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 13
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Newton South – High (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 0
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 0
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0