Six years after Pope Francis wrote his encyclical letter on care for the environment, students at St Charles’ Catholic Primary School Waverley are embracing the lessons in it, to make their school more sustainable.

St Charles are leading plans to make their school environment more sustainable with a series of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects.

“The whole school community will benefit as we design and implement projects that empower our students to become environmental advocates in sustainability,” Principal Paul Croker said.


This term, St Charles’ Year 3 students are learning how to support the school ecosystem by growing new vegetables. 

Year 4 students are testing for light and heat, to find out where the plants will thrive. Year 2 students are learning about recycling and will use this knowledge to build a garden bed for the new vegetables.

“We hope for students to gain an increasing understanding about sustainability” – Paul Croker

By December, Kindergarten students will also have discovered how to make a safe place for animals to live at their school. 

Year 1 will identify the features of their environment and what type of animal is best suited to those conditions.


Mr Croker said the STEM projects link well with the school’s Franciscan charism, as they all teach students to care for their surroundings – God’s creation – and are based on real-world problems. 

“They were developed in reference to Pope Francis’ world-changing papal encyclical letter, ‘Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home,” he said.

Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.


Laudato Si Week (16-25 May) is an opportunity for the faithful to celebrate the great progress the global Church has made in its ecological conversion journey during the past six years, offering a clear road map for the decade ahead.