Opoutere School’s thematic learning topic for Term 2 is Matariki. As a part of this, Puriri class ( Year 3 and 4) have been heading out every Wednesday morning, tramping with Matua Ryan (Te Reo and EOTC teacher) and Mrs Herring (Puriri classroom teacher), in native bush accessible through farmland behind the school.
Their learning journey has been centred around bush survival, traditional foods and native flora and fauna and their uses and properties. Matua Ryan put forward a scenario to the children at the beginning of Term 2: “Your waka has landed at Opoutere Beach and you and your whanau need to learn as much as you can about the local environment, to gauge whether this area would make a suitable Pa site.”
The children have been creating bivouacs, learning how to make a fire in the bush and toasting marshmallows over it, learning about native flora and fauna and edible plants, tramping and sitting quietly writing poems. The children also learned to catch eels with rope made from flax and little pieces of cow kidney which created some interesting discussion and expressions in their writing.
Last week, while out in the bush, the children engaged in some exceptional poetry writing. The high quality of their writing and enthusiasm for their weekly Wednesday adventure, shows the value of children being immersed in experiences and opportunities that connect with nature and engage in learning outside the classroom.
The theme next term is ‘Te Ngahere’ (the Native Forest) and teachers and children are keen to continue their weekly outings to connect with their own local ngahere.