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Our School:

Spearwood Alternative School, 370 Rockingham Road, Spearwood WA 6163
Denise Stone, Principal, Phone: 08 9418 6539 Fax: 08 9434 3874

Our School “Region”:

Spearwood Alternative School is a metropolitan school in the City of Cockburn, WA. The school is set in large grounds in an area that was once a thriving market gardening area. The area has been developed over recent years with housing taking up land that was once dedicated to market gardens. Few market gardens are left in the area.

Our Product:

Italian Style Foods

In the establishment of the garden the assistance and advice of retired market gardeners was sought. They were delighted to be appreciated by the children. The language other than English that our students are taught is Italian, again to reflect the cultural heritage of the area. Links have been made with residents of Villa Dalmacia, a home for senior citizens. The students will seek advice from the residents and other elders in our community in exploring the slow food cooking movement to produce traditional Italian style foods.

Our School Statement:

Our school serves to engage community in education. The program is student-centred and students negotiate curriculum with teachers. The ‘living classroom’ has become an enriching and exciting part of our curriculum. We believe that students are motivated and engaged when learning provides a real-life context and promotes real-life skills.

The school has established a vegetable garden as an attempt to keep the cultural heritage of the area alive. The garden is established using permaculture principles and is maintained by students, parents and staff. Chickens and ducks are also form part of the garden complex. A recycling/composting program and worm farm, complement the garden. Each class rotates through a program that sees them take responsibility for different aspects of the garden and it’s upkeep throughout the year. All are collectively responsible for the garden’s success. Produce from the garden and the chooks is used by students from Kindergarten to year three as part of their weekly cooking program. Students in years 1 – 3 celebrate each week with a shared lunch – their Friday Feast. Students take turns to work with a teacher to prepare lunch for the whole group. Garden produce always contributes to some part of the meal. The senior students are considering implementing a shared lunch as a weekly ritual in 2005.

Olive trees planted early in the twentieth century grow on the edge of the school’s property and have only occasionally been harvested for their produce. An old fig tree produces fruit from which students have made jam [when it has not been raided by locals]. It is our intention that the school’s Spring Fair [a bi-annual event that has become a ‘tradition’] is, in 2005, primarily a Food Fair to celebrate the work of the students.

Our school has no canteen. Parents worked together a number of years ago to create ‘Healthy Food Guidelines’ to assist families in preparing nourishing lunches for school. The school has a ‘no lollies’ policy. These guidelines are also referred to in the preparation of treats for Delicious Dollar Day. In this program students of all classes Kindergarten – year 7 take turns to create a food item for the entire school [population just under 100 students]. With mulberries in season, the most recent treat was mulberry and apple pies. The students have worked to trial and ‘perfect’ systems of marketing, ordering, supply and delivery. The youngest children are very capable with sorting and counting money.

Staff will document the processes of these programs and to articulate the rich learning benefits it affords. With an Administration upgrade assigned to our school this year we plan to, in 2005, create in what has been until now, the staffroom, a dedicated kitchen science room with a commercial oven. A storage room in our grounds is able to be made into a drying room for herbs and other produce.

Our target consumers will be the school population and, for our Spring Fair, the local community. We will seek the partnership of our local high school, Hamilton Hill Senior High School with aspects of the program. HHSHS has a successful hospitality program. An art specialist on our staff is keen to work with the artist teachers of HHSHS in design and marketing.

growing up / cooking food / knowing how / feeling good