Mosta primary project connects maths teaching and recycling

Linking Mathematics with Education for Sustainable Development: Plastic water bottles turned into numbered bowling pins.Linking Mathematics with Education for Sustainable Development: Plastic water bottles turned into numbered bowling pins.

Parents and educators at Maria Regina College Mosta Primary A Kindergarten Annexe have created a mathematics outdoor exploration area using recycled materials as part of a project during European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) 2017 that linked Mathematics and Education for Sustainable Development.

The project was a follow-up of the award-winning project ‘Creating Maths Resources from Packaging Waste’ conducted during last year’s EWWR in collaboration with Wasteserv. Encouraged by the success of the project, educators raised the bar by seeking to develop a Maths outdoor area in the school grounds.

Together with the Maths Support teacher they planned outdoor Maths activities, designed a Maths garden shed and developed a Maths teaching ideas handbook. In addition, professional development sessions were organised to empower school staff to extend the boundaries of their classrooms.

Circulars about the project were sent to over 400 parents forming part of the Mosta Kindergarten Annexe community. Parents who volunteered to work on the project joined forces with workmen from the Education Directorate for five days dissambling recycled pellets to reuse the wood to construct the Maths garden shed. Other parents embellished the school’s garden with recycled learning resources to create Ġnien Naqra Qatra.

Some of the parent volunteers working with teachers to create recycled learning resources for the children.Some of the parent volunteers working with teachers to create recycled learning resources for the children.

Mathematics in the early years should be a fun and exciting time where children can explore, actively learn and critically think. The outdoor space created by the project is aimed at stimulating the pupils’ exploration of early mathematical concepts. The pupils are now making use of natural resources and experiencing the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development. Out-of-the-classroom learn­ing facilitates an authentic and experiential educational process.

The project was also used to promote Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and encourage waste management by developing these ideas in line with this year’s EWWR theme – ‘All it needs is a fresh new look! Giving a second life to products’. The aim was to reach out to educators, children and parents alike, and explore how waste can be re-used to create things we use on a day-to-day basis. Thus plastic water bottles became numbered bowling pins, egg cartons turned into numbered target boards and old cloth hangers improvised as weighing balances.

One of the participating parents, Maria Grech, commented that “the kids love it when they see us parents busy at school, working with their teachers to create useful stuff for them. It was lovely witnessing our kids’ faces light up as they caught up with us working in their garden”.

“Apart from the Maths resources and spaces developed, the educational impact includes the cultivation of a school-home partnership that can really benefit the child’s development. Reaching out to the community alongside the parents’ positive response maximised the environmental awareness created.”

“Our school is managing to create a necessary, vital link between the school’s administration, teachers, learning support assistants and us as parents. We all have one aim at heart: our children’s well-being as they develop and learn in a protected, serene and loving environment.”

Cynthia Genovese, another parent who took an active part in the project, said: “Taking an active part in this project has taught me that the little we do to reuse and recycle can make such a huge difference in the long run. I am already saving my used cracker tins for next year’s project. It’s not only about my kids anymore... I can’t wait to experience it once again.”

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