Waikato Waldorf – the journey to Green-Gold

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Waikato Waldorf School became a Green-Gold Enviroschool in November this year – a journey that has been the culmination of much hard work and reflection by the staff, students, parents and everyone in this very special learning community. As their … Continue reading

Waste not, Want not . . . revisiting Zero Waste

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The theme area of Zero Waste is one that many schools embrace in response to an easily identified situation in the school grounds. This often starts with a discussion (staffroom and classroom) about what the issue is and then is … Continue reading

Bringing back the birds to the Hauraki Plains

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Students at Netherton Primary have initiated a vision to ‘bring back the birds’ to the Hauraki Plains. A milestone was realized this year when children planted out the first of the native trees that they had grown themselves in kahikatea … Continue reading

Upskilling teachers in science education

Are you interested in science education? Do you want to engage students in exciting real world science that takes place in your school and your community? Do you want to build your confidence in both of these things?
This 20 minute interview with  Barbara Hay principal of Koraunui School in Stokes Valley, Lower Hutt and teacher Diana Manks discusses their approach  This Enviroschool is committed to engaging its pupils in science in a practical way. Diana Manks, spent the last two terms at Victoria University involved in a programme to upskill teachers to enthuse students and the community in science education. The Science Teaching Leadership Programme, managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand, aims at improving science learning.
 
 
For more about the Royal Society Teaching Leadership programme:

Connecting through Cluster Meetings

By Enviroschools Facilitator, Beccy Dove
A cluster meeting was held recently connecting Northern Waikato and South Auckland Schools at  Pukekohe Hill School.  Fourteen teachers and two Enviroschools facilitators attended and the feedback was to hold these once a term and rotate around the group so they all get to see different schools.
In the past I have experienced clusters as after school for an hour and a half.  Usually this seems quite rushed with not enough time to cover much ground or for teachers to really have time to connect and network. Often people are tired from a full days teaching and it can be hard to raise the energy level.
This meeting went from 1.30 to 4.00 pm which gave teachers a relaxed amount of time to share successes and challenges; help each other solve issues; hear, see and be inspired by the host school and have time to chat over some yummy healthy kai.
The feedback was unanimous to keep this up every term and to keep this same time frame.  It was also suggested that some meetings might involve hands on learning eg: making herbal skin products, learning about Rongoa, compost making etc… sometimes inviting an outside expert to share their knowledge with teachers.
One of the teachers sent me an email to say “what an awesome cluster meeting last week, it was great to meet all the enviro teachers in the area, I came away feeling really inspired and energised!”
Most teachers got around the ‘time’ issue by asking another teacher in their school to take their students for the afternoon.
One of the activities involved sharing challenges and other teachers offering solutions to these challenges by schools that had ‘been there and solved that’.  From this exercise came the following great list:
Challenges faced …. and solutions suggested
 
“How can we create a workable compost bin?”
 
Ideas suggested….
  • Start with kids inquiry using ‘Action Learning Cycle’ from the enviroschools kit – identify current situation
  • Invite a skilled ‘expert’ to help
  • Ask community gardeners
  • Enviroschool facilitator
  • Zero Waste facilitator
  • Botanical Garden Visit/Workshop
  • A class/enviro team responsible for the upkeep and maintenence
  • Feed me, Leave me, Use me signs for the bins
  • 3 bins are good, 4 even better
  • Get caretaker on board
“How do you get and maintain staff buy in?”
  • Put ‘Enviroschools’ into the stategic planning
  • Hold an Enviroschools workshop/staff meeting
  • Put into job description
  • Put it as though staff think it is their own idea
  • Add to inquiry planner
  • School displays – share the load
  • Assembly items from enviroteam
  • Newsletter/Website
  • Ask other teachers to come to a cluster meeting
  • Each teacher having one area to focus on/look after with their class
  • Reflection time with staff leads to more understanding and involvement
  • Ask staff what they are interested in
  • Pick your battles!
“How can we get whole school buy in?”
  • class vs class competition with suitable rewards
  • whole school divided into enviro groups and each fortnight work on projects
  • once a term hold an enviro day – focusing on different things each time
  • newsletter – tip of the week
  • Assembly – greenie given out for litterfree lunch, picking up rubbish etc
  • links to videos on website
  • Enviro group performing/modelling skits to promote the idea that everyone is involved
  • dedicated display area for children’s enviro work
  • buddy class/whanau group time on ‘Me In My Environment’ theme area activities (Theme area CD found in Enviroschools Kit)
“How can we get more community involvement in projects?”
  • Create a video newsletter and add it to the enrollment page on your website
  • Ask for it on community facebook sites/newsletters
  • Inviting people in – open day
  • Whanau involvement – making it a welcoming place for the whole family
  • Create an open door feeling
  • Any help given from a community member is a gift – make sure they leave feeling valued. Make time for a cuppa and debrief at end of the day, always ask a child to personally thank them for coming

The Great Persimmon and Apple Rescue – June 4/5

apples-1004886_960_720The Hamilton Community Harvest group have been invited to rescue as much fruit as they can on the weekend of June 4/5 from an apple and persimmon orchard in Newstead and Matangi.

Backstory:

WasteMINZ were contacted by the owners of a persimmon orchard owned by an older couple who apparently are not well and were planning to let approximately 25tonnes of fruit rot.  They saw the recent pumpkin rescue on Love Food Hate Waste coordinated in Auckland. The apples are from an export orchard but the apples apparently aren’t pink enough!

There are three ways to participate:

  1. Volunteering/or know of people who might be interested in volunteering on one or both days to pick the fruit (registrations close 1 June 2016).
  2. Volunteering the use of a trailer or truck for collecting the fruit and dropping it off at a designated drop-off point
  3. Know of a community group, school, charity, marae, or other place that might benefit from receiving the fruit. They will have 25 tonnes of fruit to distribute!!

If you are interested in supporting, or can put good fruit to use, please email/call Colleen the coordinator to find out more details.

Colleen – Hamilton Community Harvest coordinator
0212531526
pickfruithamilton@gmail.com

Defining whanaungatanga

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At the beginning of our workshops in March we started with an activity that asked participants to talk about a piece of natural material they had brought with them then invited them to weave these together into a collective piece of … Continue reading