5 stars

Monbulk Primary School has been on a Sustainability missions for since 2015; with the aims of helping the environment, educating our students on environmental issues and solutions, and involving the parent and wider community.

Since signing up to ResourceSmart Schools, Monbulk Primary School has become certified in all five modules: Core, Energy, Waste, Water and Biodiversity. At the end of 2023, Sustainability Victoria officially awarded us a 5 star rating for sustainability!

The staff, students and families at Monbulk Primary School are committed to making a difference to the environment. Our students are proactive and enthusiastic, and our staff model and work to foster and support this enthusiasm.


The Core Module is the first module completed by any school starting as a ResourceSmart School. It ‘sets up for success’ by having the school complete an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), collect baseline data for the school, developing a SEMP (School Environmental Management Plan), undertaking a curriculum review, and devising a strategy plan to involve students, families and the wider community in the sustainability journey.

The Core Module also involved our school appointing staff as Sustainability Leaders and senior school students as a Sustainability Team. The sustainability leaders and team take their roles very seriously, and are instrumental in helping our school stay on track with our environmental goals. Every year, the Sustainability Leaders present an annual report to School Council, detailing our achievements and where improvements need to be made. Every week, our Sustainability Team speaks at assembly to update the school community on current initiatives, to remind everyone of appropriate sustainable practices, and to award the junior and senior classes with the highest percentage of rubbish free lunch.

Monbulk Primary School was certified for the Core module in September 2016.



Biodiversity Module focuses on the school’s balance of plant life as well as animals, insects and birds. Completing the Biodiversity module involves undertaking biodiversity audits and using the information gathered to create a HQAS (Habitat Quality Assessment Score). To certify our biodiversity module, Monbulk Primary School had to show Sustainability Victoria an increase in our HQAS since the first biodiversity audit. Our staff and students have implemented the following to ensure we meet our Biodiversity goals:

  • Enlisting the help of a parent with knowledge of native fauna to assist our student Sustainability Team to complete the audits
  • Increasing our plant numbers after major building works by planting a substantial amount of native grasses in our nature play area.
  • Visiting other schools to gain inspiration for native garden planting
  • Monitoring and replacing possum and bird boxes which are placed amongst the trees in our playground
  • Installing two motion-sensing night vision cameras to monitor the wildlife entering our school grounds
  • Implementing a ‘Rubbish Free Lunch’ policy for students and staff, to ensure that litter is not dropped outside
  • Grades 3-6 participate in a kitchen garden program to improve and develop our kitchen garden
  • Installing a ‘Chook Nook’ where we house our chickens. The chickens provide eggs for students to use during fortnightly Kitchen Classes;
  • Including pieces in our fortnightly newsletter or on Facebook to update the school community on current initiatives

Monbulk Primary is well on its way to achieving a Habitat Quality Assessment Score of 100! Especially once we get out native planting project underway.



Energy Module focusses on the school’s power use, including electricity and gas usage. This involves monitoring lighting, heating, air conditioning, portable device use and the usage of hot water and ovens in our Stephanie Alexander Kitchen. To certify our energy module, Monbulk Primary School was required to provide evidence to show a marked decrease in electricity and gas usage over at least two years. Our staff and students have implemented the following to ensure we meet and maintain low energy use:

  • ‘Switch Off’ policies for when appliances and classrooms are not in use. This includes lighting, heating, air conditioning, interactive whiteboards and televisions, netbooks and computers;
  • Signage made by our students in the classrooms and community areas (such as the staff room) to remind staff and students to switch off;
  • Registering and taking part in Earth Hour Schools Day each year
  • Installing solar panels on our kitchen roof and gate entrance
  • Including pieces in our fortnightly Monny Mag giving tips on how to save energy at home.

Since we started on our Sustainability Journey, Monbulk Primary has reduced our power use by 62,751 kWh. That’s equal to powering 11 houses per year!

Monbulk Primary School was certified for the Energy module in May 2018.



Waste Module focusses on the school’s waste production and disposal, including landfill, recycling and composting. Completing the Waste module involves undertaking waste audits and litter assessments to determine how much waste is being produced. To certify our waste module, Monbulk Primary School was required to show marked decreases in waste going to landfill over at least two years. Our staff and students have implemented the following to ensure we meet our Waste goals:

  • Smaller landfill bins in every classroom
  • Larger recycling bins in every classroom
  • Implementing ‘Rubbish Free Lunches’ and our ‘Bring It In, Take It Home’ policy
  • Investing in an electric composter for our Kitchen
  • Reducing the number of times our landfill skip is emptied
  • Reducing our paper usage by having our fortnightly newsletter go digital
  • Including pieces in our newsletter detailing tips for packing Rubbish Free Lunches
  • Reducing the number of bins in our playgrounds to two, with the aim of having none
  • Installing a worm farm
  • Appointing student compost monitors who divide compostable waste to the chicken coup, the worm farm and our composter
  • Recycling our printer and copier cartridges through Planet Ark
  • Recycling household items such as oral health, dish washing products and air fresheners through Terracycle

Since we started on our Sustainability Journey, Monbulk Primary has saved over 600 reams of paper. This is equal to over 30 trees!

Monbulk Primary School was certified for the Waste module in June 2018.



Water Module focusses on the school’s water usage, including drinking taps, toilets, hand washing taps, dishwashers and washing machines, and water tanks. Completing the Water module involves undertaking water audits and collecting data on water usage for at least two years. To certify our water module, Monbulk Primary School was required to show a marked decrease in water usage over at least two years. Our staff and students have implemented the following to ensure we meet our Water goals:

  • Becoming a SWEP (Schools Water Efficiency Program) school. SWEP monitors our water usage and notifies us within twenty-four hours of unusual activity such as pipe or tap leaks to avoid unnecessary water wastage
  • Installing buckets under drinking taps to catch runoff water. This water is then used on our garden beds. As part of our school building works, bubble taps with automatic shut off were installed
  • Educating students on turning taps off while soaping up hands
  • Putting up student-produced reminder signs about saving water in toilet blocks and above sinks and drinking taps
  • Connecting our vegetable garden’s sprinkler system to our water tanks and having the sprinklers on a timer
  • Including pieces in our fortnightly newsletter, giving tips on how to save water at home.

Since we started on our Sustainability Journey, Monbulk Primary has saved over 5 million litres of water. This is equal to over 8 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

Monbulk Primary School was certified for the Water module in April 2019.


Five Star Certification

Monbulk Primary School is a Five Star Sustainable School. The stars are achieved as modules are completed and sustainable behaviour across the school is evident. The star certifications each last for four years, with schools resubmitting for certification after this time. Our stars are as follows:

Our school values are:

1st Star: ‘Awakening’
2nd Star: ‘Discovering’
3rd Star: ‘Transforming’
4th Star: ‘Sustaining

5th Star:Leadership’

Becoming a Five Star Sustainable School is a huge achievement, and takes years of hard work and dedication from students, staff, families and the wider community. We at Monbulk Primary School are extremely excited to see what the future holds for us, and to keep ensuring that we make every effort to make our planet a more beautiful and healthy place to live.

Community Involvement

Engaging the parent and wider community is vital to becoming a Five Star School. Luckily for Monbulk Primary School, we are situated in a small, close-knit community where people are environmentally-minded and always happy to lend a hand. Being in close proximity to some of the most beautiful national parks doesn’t hurt, either!

Here are just some of the ways we have engaged the community in our sustainability efforts:

  • National Tree Planting Day. Parent involvement, as well as assistance from Bunnings Warehouse and Home Hardware in Monbulk;
  • Earth Hour Schools Day; a day where we turn of electricity for one hour and minimize its usage throughout the day. We encouraged our families to try Earth Hour for themselves through our newsletter
  • Girl Guides Monbulk have been wonderful in helping us meet our Biodiversity goals. The girls made a number of bird feeders for us to hang around our school
  • Grandview Nursery and Fleming’s offered donations of native plants for our school grounds
  • Senior students at Monbulk Primary have visited CERES Environmental Park, Resourcesmart School Awards and Eastwood Primary School as part of a sustainability-related excursions
  • Monbulk Primary School hosted the ResourceSmart Schools Term 3 Progress Workshop for the Eastern Region in 2019 and 2024. The workshop saw staff members from schools in the region attend our school to work on their own modules, and time was taken throughout the day for our student leaders to give our visitors a tour of our school, detailing our sustainable efforts
  • James Merlino, the former Minister for Education in Victoria, and now, Daniela DeMartino have visited Monbulk Primary School each time we have achieved a star from Sustainability Victoria
  • Monbulk Primary School has partnered up with EASL (Eastern Alliance for Sustainable Learning) Yarra Ranges to enhance both our staff and students’ environmental knowledge and opportunities for development. EASL was formed to assist member councils in delivering joint sustainable learning initiatives. Our student Sustainability Team attend EASL Student Conferences and workshops whenever possible, and our teacher sustainability leaders attend and present at conferences run by EASL each year


Part of being a Sustainable School is sharing your school’s story with others. Monbulk has posted a range of Learning Stories on the CERES Sustainability Hub, which members of the public are able to view.


Each year level in Monbulk Primary School undertakes a Sustainability-related unit of work in Term 1 of every year. The units last a whole term and students are often required to make a presentation on what they have learnt at the conclusion of the unit. The Sustainability units for Monbulk Primary are taught on a two-year rotation and are as follows:


Foundation (Prep): Weather

Students study the changes which occur in the sky and in the landscape as well as the seasonal changes which occur throughout the year. Students study the changes in daily weather and how we modify our behaviour to suit these conditions. Finally, lessons focus on the affect changes in weather have on animals in the wild, such as hibernation, and the affect on our domestic pets.


Grade 1/2: Plastic in our environment/Saving Water

Students understand that objects are made of materials that have observable properties. Students complete observations and hands-on activities where they sort and group materials based on colour, texture and flexibility. Students compare materials used for clothing and explore how suitable certain materials are for building.

Students explore how water, as a resource, is used and how it can be conserved. Students spend time identifying the Earth’s resources such as water, soil and minerals and describe how they use them in their everyday home and at school. Students consider what might happen if a resource such as water was not so readily available. Next, students identify actions we can take, as a school, to conserve water.


Grade 3/4: War on Waste /Renewable Energies

Students learn about the Earth’s surface and how it changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity. They investigate the use and management of natural resources and waste, and different views on how to do this sustainably. Students develop awareness and understanding of the effects of people’s interactions with their environment and the ways in which this can impact their lives. They learn about the different groups in the community and their responsibilities in caring for the local environment, and the ways individuals, families, groups and communities can work together to care for and improve their environment.


Grade 5/6: Natural Disasters /Reef Warriors

Students recognise the influence of environment on the human characteristics of a place, and how scientific knowledge is used to inform personal and community decisions. They learn that sudden geological changes or extreme weather conditions can affect the Earth’s surface and important resources. Students explore and conduct inquiries regarding the impact of bushfires, floods and other natural disasters on environments, communities and natural resources, and the impact human populations have on the oceans. Finally, students examine ways in which we can reduce our impact on various environments, particularly our oceans.


These units all have links to the Victorian Curriculum, including but not limited to:

  • Earth and Space Sciences;
  • Geography;
  • Science Inquiry Skills;
  • Ethical Capability.


2023 Resource Smart school Awards

  • Student Action Team (primary)-Finalists

Marley Warham, Zoe Davis, Money Makaay, Ruby Dean

  • Teacher of the Year (Primary)-Winner

Danielle Lamport