Swindon shopping centre helps kids learn about the environment

By Anita Jaynes on 20 June, 2017

Lessons in the Three Rs took on an environmental twist last week when a group of local schoolchildren visited Swindon’s Brunel shopping centre to learn about how the centre manages its waste and its policy of Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

The year 2 children, who are all pupils at Robert Le Kyng Primary School in Westcott Street, Swindon, had their eyes opened to the vast quantity of waste that we all generate in the course of a typical day.  After a talk by Deputy Centre Manger Jane Stewart, and  the presentation of a number of up-cycled items, the children helped to weigh some bags full of cans, plastic bottles and cardboard.  Next they were taken to the centre’s recycling plant on the roof of the building where they learnt about the machinery and processes involved in handling waste materials.  This included why it is important to flatten cardboard destined for recycling and how our waste materials often end up being shipped to countries around the world.

Karen Barnard, Year 2 teacher at Robert Le Kyng Primary School said: “The children really enjoyed learning about rubbish and were fascinated to see the amazing amount of waste that’s generated, and to learn how that’s recycled.  Hearing that waste cardboard is often shipped to China was a revelation for us all.

“The staff from The Brunel were excellent with the children and made the experience fun and interesting for them.  They managed to answer all the Children’s questions, including how ships’ Captains stay awake on the long journey to China!”

After refreshments of juice and fruit, the children received gifts of pencil cases, made from recycled car tyres and a ruler made from old CD cases.  All were courtesy of McDonalds Restaurant who were also involved in helping out with the school visit.

Next was an opportunity to learn about the importance of not dropping litter.  The youngsters learnt how rubbish is collected around the town centre.  Once kitted out with protective gloves, litter pickers and rubbish bags the children set off back to school along the old canal picking up litter as they went.

Jane Stewart said: “This is the second time we have hosted a class from Robert Le Kyng School and, once again, the children have really enjoyed learning about the importance of managing waste and resources and seeing our on-site recycling plant.  Seeing things like this for real helps bring lessons to life and enriches learning for students.  We believe it’s important for all businesses to support their local communities and we are always delighted to work in partnership with schools to put together projects such as this.”

Karen Barnard said: “We’d really like to thank the team at The Brunel Centre.  They are great to work with; they make these events interesting and memorable for the children and always do their best to accommodate the inevitable many requirements we have for school visits.

“The children had great fun seeing a side of the shopping centre they will never have seen before and were intrigued to find that the shopping centre has a road on the roof!  The litter pick on the way back to school was not only good fun; it educates them about the importance of not dropping litter.”

The children will now be set an end of year project to make new items from some of the rubbish they collected.  The items the children make will be on show at an end of year assembly and the year 2 children will share their experiences with the other children in the school.