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‘Water’ Lesson for 100,000 Pupils

25 April 2017 10:44

This month marks a decade of delivering what matters to 100,000 pupils learning about the wonderful world of water.

 

Over the past 10 years, a multi-tiered educational programme, with a focus on School Children, delivered a comprehensive series of campaigns, tailored specifically in terms of message, delivery mechanism and language to different audiences - young people, family, businesses, retail and the wider community. 

 

Our programme complements the Northern Ireland School Curriculum covering key elements of the ‘World About Us’ - in particular the Schematic Unit of “Liquid Gold” and the ideas for Connected Learning topic “The Blue Planet”.  At Key Stage 3 the areas of learning are “Environment and Society”.  ”Science and Technology”, the key elements of local citizenship and education for sustainable development.  We also promote the responsible use of water and how it can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

 

Every aspect of the programme is designed to effectively engage children to increase their understanding of water as a precious resource. A number of high quality educational tools have been developed including the Waterbus, which is a mobile exhibition and teaching centre. In addition to this, we also have visitor and education centres at Silent Valley Mountain Park and a Wastewater Heritage Centre in Belfast.  Other educational resources used to reach pupils include cartoon characters ‘Bob, Flo, Soggy’ and ‘H2O’ along with the award winning interactive educational microsite ‘What Are You Doing with Water’.  This is a valued investigative learning experience for pupils and a useful teaching resource in the classroom environment, with supporting materials and teaching aids for teachers along with the provision of information to parents.

 

A key objective of the organisation’s education programme is to promote good water practices amongst customers, and particularly the future generation of water users, that will alter customer behaviours. This represents a long-term awareness strategy for the company; changes in public behaviour cannot be expected overnight, but already we are seeing success in this area with a reduction in our electricity usage year on year for the past three years resulting in a decrease in our carbon footprint, which contributes to a healthier environment for us all to enjoy.

 

Annually NI Water spent £1.5 million unblocking sewers resulting directly from inappropriate items going down the toilet or sink.  Our ‘Bag it and Bin it’ campaign educates young people and their parents on how to dispose of personal waste carefully and responsibly, with the aim of reducing the number of blockages in the sewerage network.

 

The education programme is supported by NI Water’s Environmental Champions who provide a knowledgeable presence at events, exhibitions, site tours, school talks as well as other outreach activities.  Staff provide a reliable, enthusiastic and competent support team. 

 

NI Water focus on a range of subjects of interest to children including; hydration, children/youth’s health, water conservation, Bag it & Bin it, staying safe around water, safety around building sites/public works.

 

The education programme is driven at Board Level and through the organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility committee. NI Water’s Directors’ play an active role in the work of the education programme, frequently participating in school visits, award ceremonies, exhibitions and events.

 

Ronan Larkin, NI Water Finance and Regulations Director, commented, “NI Water leads the way with its education programme and is the only utility in NI to have a mobile exhibition and teaching centre, the Waterbus.

 

“To reach the 100,000 milestone is an amazing achievement, a statistic that we in NI Water are very proud to acknowledge and shout about!

 

“NI Water’s education programme is a priority for the company. We have a moral obligation to promote health whilst safeguarding the environment and our education programme aims to encourage good water practices, which ultimately impacts positively on the environment.

 

“The school children enthusiastically carry home the important messages they learn, thus educating all the other family members.

 

“The success of our education delivery is without doubt a credit to the hard-work, dedication and enthusiasm of our expert educators and volunteers”.

 

Commenting on the success of the education programme NI Water’s Education Outreach Officer Anna Killen, “It is an amazing achievement to say we have educated 100,000 pupils over the last decade. Teaching the next generations about a wide range of subjects including the water cycle, water treatment, sewerage treatment and saving water.

 

“A fact that always goes down well with the children is that they are drinking water that the dinosaurs drank all those years ago thanks to the water cycle.

 

“The children truly enjoy their visit on the waterbus, exploring what is inside and are amazed at the fact there is a cinema on-board!

 

“We too have been on an education journey keeping abreast of educational changes and introducing new technologies to assist and enhance the experience for the children”.

 

The success of the programme continues to grow with a big demand for a visit from our Education Team!

 

For further information or to request a visit, contact us at education@niwater.com

 

Ends

All media enquiries to NI Water press office at press.office@niwater.com or 02890 354757

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