Smart Schools


Learning through experience is at the foundation of helping children to care for their environment and understand the impact they have. We support schools, pre-schools, daycare centres and other learning institutions through a range of programs and rebates. Browse below for access to our own Council programs as well as a range of other initiatives.

Register for the Smart Schools enews and receive a quarterly update with resources and program ideas on how to bring sustainability into your school

Where to begin?

Community rebates

These are available exclusively for Ku-ring-gai school/pre-school, daycare and community education centres. They enable you to make improvements to reduce your bills, educate the community and improve the local environment. 

  • Claim up to $1000 on Water Smart Rebates and establish your own sustainable garden with rain water tanks, rain gardens and green roofs.
  • Claim rebates on Ku-ring-gai composting and worm farming products through Compost Revolution and start recycling your organic waste for a vibrant garden.

Build a garden

Let the kids get their hands dirty and build your own veggie or flower garden. Attract native wildlife and pollinators and extend their learning into the classroom.

  • Find out what to plant for every month of the year
  • Introduce Habitat Stepping Stones to your garden to provide food and shelter for native wildlife
  • Create a 'Munch_and_Crunch (pdf. 3MB)' Garden to teach kids while they nourish themselves
  • Backyard Buddies will help you build a butterfly box, insect hotel or frog pond 
  • Add a worm farm, native bee hive or bee & insect hotel to engage kids - see below.

Composting and worm farming

View worm farming tips from the experts at Kimbriki House.

Composting is an easy, fun and an important way of reducing the volume of valuable materials going to landfill, cutting down on greenhouse gases and returning nutrients back into the soil. Ku-ring-gai residents receive a 25% discount and free delivery of a compost bin or worm farm (including worms) by joining the Compost Revolution program.

Visit Ku-ring-gai composting and worm farming to register today.

Native bees

Bees are essential members of our ecological communities and their communities are under threat worldwide. These hardworking insects pollinate our gardens and food crops. Australia has over 1,500 species of native bee, and the Sydney region is home to about 200 species. 

In Ku-ring-gai the WildThings Native Bee program has been hugely successful with over 1000 hives distributed to residents. The bees are sting-less and therefore a perfect addition to your garden especially for children to learn about the bee life cycle and pollination.

There are two ways to get a hive

  1. Apply through the annual Environmental Levy Grants in September and if successful receive a hive at no cost; or
  2. Purchase a hive at any time for a reduced rate - stocks allowing.

Frogs of Ku-ring-gai

With its variety of water habitats, Ku-ring-gai is home to many different species of frog.

Download a kid friendly summary of our local frogs (pdf. 922KB) to use in your day care, preschool or classroom.

Visit our Frogs page for a range of information on our local species or the Australian Museum as part of their Frog ID citizen science program.

Native animals

Visit our Wildlife and Fauna pages for more information on local species.

Visit Backyard Buddies for classroom fact sheets on native animals in NSW.

Fauna friends for your classroom

Browse our colourful information brochures below:

Fauna_Friends_Brochure_Birds.pdf (pdf. 3MB)

Fauna_Friends_Brochure_Frogs.pdf (pdf. 3MB)

Fauna_Friends_Brochure_Invertebrates.pdf (pdf. 3MB)

Fauna_Friends_Brochure_Lizards.pdf (pdf. 3MB)

Native plants

Visit our Vegetation and Flora pages to find out more about the unique plants that surround our local areas.

How to build a Pollinator Garden to attract beneficial bugs and insects.

St Ives Wildflower Garden

The Wildflower Garden is a wonderful place for children of all ages to explore and learn. Passionate about experiential learning, the rangers are keen to encourage children to discover and investigate the bush around them. There are half and full day programs to support teachers at all stages of the curriculum. Find out more at Wildflower Garden School excursions.

Walk to school maps

Our Walk to School Maps support safe and sustainable travel for students and their families and have been created for 41 participating schools in our region.

See estimated walking travel times, bus stops, train lines, pedestrian crossings, school pedestrian entrances and much more.

Craft corner

Red Toadlet

Invite your younger students to create their own native animal using origami techniques. Instructions and print out for download below.

Origami_Folding_instructions_Red_Toadlet_Kids_activity.pdf (pdf. 372KB)

Red_Toadlet_Print_on_A3_paper_kids_activity.pdf (pdf. 340KB)

Grass Heads & Boot Pots

Gardening Australia shows us how to create quirky pots out of old boots and a 'Grass Head'.

Bee, Ladybird or Butterfly Hotel

Create a home for your beneficial bugs and insects. A beautiful timber creation for the garden.

Curriculum links

Sustainability in Schools in a fantastic resource to build a case for sustainability in your school and engage kids of all ages and learning abilities in line with the curriculum.

Connect with other schools

Australian Sustainable Schools initiative

AuSSI is a partnership initiative of the Australian Government and states and territories to provide practical support to teachers, students and community members.

Other resources 

Office of Environment and Heritage

Grants and competitions

Find out about relevant funding incentives and support for your school or community.

Create your own environment club

Inspire, motivate and give students the opportunity to build leadership skills.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

Find inspiration, information, professional learning and support for educational institutions to deliver pleasurable food education, in conjunction with educators, partners and the wider community.

Visit Kitchen Garden Foundation to find the tools to get your school's kitchen garden growing.

Sustainable school shop

Click here for an online marketplace for second hand school uniforms, musical instruments, sports gear, textbooks and more.

CSIRO program for school kids

This CSIRO program, combines the latest in climate science with education in sustainability.

Case Study - Thomas Carlyle Children's Centre

The Thomas Carlisle Children's Centre in East Lindfield was the venue for a recent Raingarden Workshop with our residents. The innovative, but simple system uses stormwater run-off, the natural contours of the site and plants and pebbles to create an attractive, fuss free garden. It can also help support water drainage problems. Contact the Sustainability Team if you are interested in building one at your school or centre. Council rebate available for this project.