At Marotiri School every student in every class contributed to a Vision Map and statement, connecting concepts to a shared purpose with school values, and considering ideas to enhance the school environment.
They are continuing the foundational “Me in My Environment” theme throughout the year. In Term 2, 2022 classes began inquiries in Science – Our Place in Space/ Flight with a focus on Matariki stars, and our place in the solar system.
They had Geologist Tony, Astronomers Sam and Hari, and Ruud the Bugman from Field Based Stem leading teachers through PLD, with a Sustainability lens and with local curriculum in mind.
The students and staff also maintained and continued their projects they had begun in Term 1 and started a reflection process to think about what the Guiding Principles of Enviroschools looked like in their school. Teachers and students built an understanding of these principles and started to gather written evidence. The “Enviro tree” had leaves attached that students had written on showing the extensive sustainability related learning and action that has been happening at their school. On “rocks” they recorded ideas for next steps that emerged from the reflection process.
Jenni, their Enviroschools facilitator, worked with Lisa through potential ways to provide and present evidence that the school has reached Bronze Stage of their Enviroschools journey. Waikato Regional Coordinator, Michelle Daly was invited to participate in the decision-making that coincided with a Matariki celebration.
On June 22nd it was Action Stations! As part of Matariki celebrations and to mark the importance of whanaungatanga the Year 7,8 class served a magnificent cooked breakfast to the rest of the students in the community hall. Parents, BOT members, local newspaper reporter/editor and Michelle the Regional Coordinator for Enviroschools Waikato, arrived at the school for morning tea and a warm welcome from principal, Rose Symes, followed by a karakia delivered by all students. Two senior students introduced us to the purpose and process for the day, before 3 large kōwhai trees were planted in the gathering space (another way of acknowledging Matariki).
“We learned about ourselves, where we come from and what we would like our school to look like in the future. We observed, listened, and thought of everything we love about our school, things that make it special already. Then we brainstormed , “What could we do to enhance and improve our school? What’s not working very well? Where could we be better?” We had lots to think about! Waste, power, wear and tear, plants, bugs, gardens, empty spaces and so on. We created vision maps. The sky was the limit and our ideas were never ending. Finally, a few projects and enhancements stood out and we turned them into projects: growing our own food from seed, building bug houses to attract more critters, keeping our school beautifully maintained and looked after, reducing our food waste, finding an alternative to chucking it away, reducing our power usage, turning native plants into medicinal products. We got busy! Many of these projects are ongoing and we’ll see the results of our efforts later in the year. What a buzz! Our end goal is to work together to shape a rich, living, livid and sustainable environment guided by the five Enviroschools Principles.” – Student speech excerpt
Two students from each class led the guests on a tour of their school to share projects and regular actions they take to sustain a healthy peaceful place. They spoke with pride and knowledge about their recycling centre, vegetable gardens, water catchment off their swimming pool shed roof, native bush walk/learning area, “flowers for bees” project, compost and worm farm by their vegie gardens – the list was extensive! The group returned to the “Enviro Tree display” to add further observations, reflections and insights and possible next directions.
It became clear that the Marotiri students and community were comfortable they were at Bronze Stage of their Enviroschools journey, with evidence of this spread over all Guiding Principles. Everyone proceeded to a school assembly where the parents who were part of the process joined those gathered for a formal decision making process.
Michelle presented a certificate to acknowledge and celebrate the work done, and facilitator Jenni gave the school some gifts – a new hose and hose reel, and a special watering can for the Room 6 junior class, who were so very proud of their own wee vegetable garden by their classroom.
Facilitator Jenni said that she was really inspired by the way the students drove the reflective process. This school is well on their way with their journey of sustainability. Watch this space!