Around each corner inside Rosemount PS is a reminder of the school’s focus on the environment.
From the small wildlife pond near the school’s entrance to the display of home-grown vegetables to their amazing ‘Centenary Garden’, when it comes to looking after the environment, Rosemount P.S. are leading the way.
Towards the end of the academic year in 2013 the school finished runners-up in a wind energy competition run by SSE Airtricity.
Primary school teacher and organiser of the school’s ‘Eco-Club’, Mrs. Ashling McMenamin explained how the award came about.
“Rosemount Primary School leads the way when it comes to the school children looking after the environment.
“As far as I know we are one of the only schools in Derry where every pupil at the school is offered the chance to take part in gardening lessons every single week,” she said.
In 2013, Mrs. Teresa McKeever, a nursery assistant at the school, came up with the idea of hosting a school wide eco-day in celebration of all of the positive things the school had been doing to fulfil the aims of a green flag school.
“It was all of Mrs. McKeever’s idea,” said Ashling.
“Each class, from nursery to primary seven adopted a theme and set up a stall. Visitors from the local area were invited to come and view each class’ topic and ask questions about what they had been doing.”
The nursery children made a bug hotel which helped to encourage insect life in the school’s garden; primary one children made a wormery; primary two pupils grew strawberries from seed; primary three children constructed a water management system and visited the Norbec recycling centre in Ballymena; primary four students compiled a wind energy project; the primary five year group looked at composting; primary six youngsters made bird boxes to encourage more birds to visit the garden whilst primary seven children made scarecrows to protect young seedlings.
Around the same time, the school had entered into the SSE Airtricty Global Wind Awards.
The competition was open to over 900 schools across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and Rosemount P.S. was the only school from Derry to win an award last June.
“It was a massive honour for the school to just be short listed but for us to finish the competition as runners-up is just brilliant.
“As a result of winning the award we were contacted by SSE Airtricity to take part in their advertising campaign on UTV weather.
“The filming team came to the school last month and videoed some of the children working in the garden and some of them working with wind energy in the classroom - it was a great experience for the children.”
The short clips of the Rosemount P.S. children appears just before the weather on UTV and one of the children who took part on the day is primary five pupil and ‘Eco-Committee’ member, Finn Hegarty.
“I was in the classroom when the filming team started recording us at work.
“My mammy and daddy saw me on the television and thought what we did was amazing.”
Mrs. Teresa McKeever, who manages the school’s gardening lessons every Wednesday and Thursday described the environmental work at the school as top class and said the children are great to work alongside.
“I’m not just saying it but the children at this school are a pleasure to work with,” she said .
“Thankfully, our principal Mr. Grant recognises what’s to be gained by letting the children take part in gardening - it’s been such a positive story for the school.
“We have parents and children taking part and when the P7s leave every year they always talk about how they want to come back and visit.
“It’s a magic wee school and it’s one that I am so delighted to be part of.
“The children deserve all of their recognition and hopefully you’ll see them on the television soon.”