Richard Thomas Environmental Centre
In the 1990's, members of the school community noticed that many of the Hoop Pines, in the “Forestry Plot" were dying. Several attempts were made to identify the problem, and save the trees. These were not successful, and the decision was made to harvest the remaining healthy trees, and reconsider how this area would be used.
After considerable community debate, it was decided to regenerate the area. Since 2002, over 5000 trees have been planted, the area has been reshaped to include a learning circle, and a natural water course, and extensive areas of weed and lantana have been cleared. The dam is stocked with fingerlings, in the ongoing development of this beautiful area of the school.
Currently Richard Thomas is home to a colony of flying foxes. Our school has been working closely with the Moreton Bay Regional Council to ensure the wellbeing of this native animal in our care.
Designed with the intention as ongoing project for prep / year 1 and year 5 /6 buddies, this environment has developed into a secluded garden perfect for imaginative play. The contributions of the Mount Mee Garden Club and the Woodford Mens Shed have helped to enhance this little garden.
Herb and vegetable gardens
Forming an important part of our environmental sustainability education is our herb and vegetable gardens. These gardens were purpose built in 2011 and have seen continuous cycles of crops. The crops from these gardens are generally eaten from the pants as fast as they can be grown with broad beans being a firm favourite with lunchtime snackers.
Playgrounds and ovals
The school has a range of natural and constructed play areas for students to enjoy. Within the prep and year 1 area of the school, students can enjoy a putting green, playground, natural play area with many trees to explore, cubby house, sandpit, swings and woodwork construction. The year 3 to year 6 students also have the benefit of their own playground, sandpit and swing sets. The entire school has access to a marked out soccer oval, multi-purpose court, cricket nets and cricket oval.
Each of the three teaching classes are located in their own building providing classroom teachers the room to create effective learning environments. Another classroom is allocated for the specialist lessons of Science, Japanese and English. Each room is wirelessly connected and operates electronic whiteboards and a range of ICT devices.
2022 saw the creation of our special place dedicated to a yarning circle. Community members and the school worked together to provide the space, materials and expertise to create this special place for our school.
The use of a yarning circle (or dialogue circle) is an important process within Aboriginal culture and Torres Strait Islander culture. It has been used by Indigenous peoples from around the world for centuries to learn from a collective group, build respectful relationships, and to preserve and pass on cultural knowledge.
By using yarning circles as a teaching and learning strategy, students' understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and ways of working are enhanced. This strategy is suitable for students across all phases of schooling.
Building respectful relationships
A yarning circle is a harmonious, creative and collaborative way of communicating to:
- encourage responsible, respectful and honest interactions between participants, building trusting relationships
- foster accountability and provide a safe place to be heard and to respond
- promote student–student interactions and student–school–community connectedness
- enrich learning experiences for students.