Not just a load of old rubbish - students get creative with junk

Not just a load of old rubbish - students get creative with junk
Aoife O’Sullivan with students, Róisín Killian, Nancy Ekhator and Éabha Keely.

Helen O’Callaghan sees students get creative with junk.

Ireland's primary schoolchildren are invited to get in touch with their inner fashion designer by creating and modelling their own masterpieces made from everyday junk.

Taking in elements of fashion, design, engineering and environmental sustainability, Junk Kouture has been inspiring post-primary students nationwide to embrace their creative side for a decade.

Now Junk Kouture Junior wants to educate younger children on the importance of sustainability. The one rule is that whatever they design must be 100% recycled.

Junk Kouture Junior was launched by former Miss Ireland Aoife O’Sullivan, a primary school teacher at Knocknamanagh NS, Minane Bridge, Cork.

She got involved with Junk Kouture during her Miss Ireland reign when she attended the 2019 grand finale. “I was blown away by the talent and creativity of Irish students”, says Aoife, who believes the primary school initiative will be a big hit.

Children are much more aware of the environment now through initiatives like Climate Change Week and Bio-Diversity Week. Schools are involved in getting their Green School flag and in recycling in the classroom.

"Minane Bridge community is planting 4,000 trees and the children are involved. A speaker will come to the school and there’s a trees and life- themed art exhibition.”

Aoife teaches first and second classes and her 21 pupils are engaging with Junk Kouture Junior. She has said they won’t just be using paper and cardboard but single-use plastic like toothbrushes and straws.

“They’ll be reusing these to make a different creation. Rather than going out and buying a pack of straws, if they’re in McDonald’s and use a straw, they bring it in and we can reuse it. They’re becoming more aware of single use.”

Junk Kouture Junior has a downloadable handbook for primary schools (at junkkouture.com/junior/ where people can register their interest), which includes poster/tickets/invites/scoring sheet templates, to encourage them to run their own competition.

In teams of three,including the model,pupils and teachers can brainstorm together as they discover recycling is far more than just separating cardboard from rubbish, that it might even involve giving a second lease of life to usually single-use products in true ‘trashion’ form.

Children can showcase their masterpieces to family/peers in school. This could also work as a school fundraiser.

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