The staff and students of Portlaoise Educate Together National School had a “No Energy Day” on Thursday the 27th September. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a low energy day meant that the staff and students lounged around all day, doing little or no work, but the opposite was actually true. It was part of their campaign to raise awareness of how much energy we consume on a daily basis and to encourage the school community to reduce their energy consumption.
On the day lights were left switched off, photocopiers were out of bounds, and lessons were taught without the use of ICT or interactive whiteboards. The staff also brought in lunches that didn’t need to be heated in the microwave and tea and coffee consumption was seriously curtailed!
Green Schools Committee planned Low Energy Day for Portlaoise Educate Together N.S.
The children learned lessons about energy use and climate change in geography, and for history got to experience what school was like long ago with no electricity or computers. Elaine’s Senior Infant class even did their work on a traditional blackboard and chalk, something that the children had never seen before. The intercom was also switched off, so the school resorted to using an old hand held school bell brought in by one of the Senior Infant students to announce breaks and home time.
Staff and pupils were very impressed with how effectively the day brought home the message about being more mindful of energy consumption. “Low energy day highlights to us as teachers and children the amount of energy we consume unnecessarily on a daily basis. Today has shown how easy it is for us to reduce the amount we use and help the environment” said Therese a 6th class teacher. The students also pointed out the benefits of the day in reducing the amount of screen time and giving their eyes a rest from technology “I think it’s good because too many people are on devices” said Saoirse in 3rd class.
No Energy Day for Portlaoise Educate Together N.S.
Portlaoise Educate Together participates in An Taisce’s Green Schools Programme and was awarded its first Green Flag for reducing litter and waste in the school in 2016. They are hoping to get their second Green Flag for reducing energy and raising awareness about climate change in 2019.