Positive News – September 15, 2008
Head teacher, Laura Daniels, has many reasons to be very proud of her school – joint winners of this year’s Peace Mala Junior Youth Awards. Laura and her staff have consistently led the way in enriching their pupils’ learning by uniting the issues of nature and sustainability, with aspects of spirituality, peace and multicultural education.
According to the panel of judges’ report: “the ethic of Peace Mala is lived entirely throughout the school, which is a shining example of joyful living without harm.”
Woodheys Primary, in Sale, Cheshire, is known nationally and internationally for its pioneering environmental work. The school has an exemplary Outdoor Classroom with a Wild Area and pond, where the BBC CBeebies channel filmed Springwatch and Autumnwatch.
In 2007, Woodheys also received an Ashden Award by Al Gore for being the country’s number one school for Energy Conservation. Green innovations include solar panels, which the children monitor to record how much energy is used and how much they have saved.
Over the past three years, Woodheys has linked with two contrasting schools in Durban, South Africa – one independent girls’ school and another in a township – to create a triangle of mutual support and understanding. In September, two South African members of staff will be visiting Woodheys to work with the pupils on Peace projects, training them in mediating skills, setting up a ‘Peace Council’ and teaching conflict resolution.
The children also created a labyrinth in the school grounds last spring, which leads to a prayer tree in the centre. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is designed to ‘find yourself’. The project culminated in a Rainbow Day celebration of diversity.