This term our Inquiry has focused on our school environment and how we can be Kaitiaki (guardians) of our special place.
Over the last few weeks we have been practising positive purpose through the Taking Action phase of our Inquiry. Positive purpose is the idea of 'giving back' or 'doing good' (an act of service) for someone or something else.
All of our Inquiry actions are related to making improvements to our Worser Bay school environment:
Looking after and protecting the trees that we have already.
Encouraging more birds to visit our trees.
Building a worm farm so that we can improve the condition of our soil.
Planting flowers that will encourage more pollinators to visit our gardens.
This Inquiry into how we can be Kaitiaki of our environemnt has been valuable in helping our children understand and develop a sense of responsibility to their immediate world (school community).
Engaging in acts of service give us a sense of meaning and purpose which enable us to feel positive emotions which we know are important for our physical and psychological health.
Take a walk around our school grounds to see how we have been taking action to improve our environment for everyone.
Last term everyone in Tautoru wrote letters that were sent to children at two schools - one in Australia and one in Luxembourg.
This week a group of us received our first replies back and boy were we excited to find out about our writing buddies in Australia!
Some of us found we had things in common with our buddies - they liked rugby, were the same age and some had been born in NZ. Their school sounded different to ours...they had FIVE playgrounds and weren't as lucky to have a view as beautiful as ours!
Taking part in the World Writing Buddy programme gives our learners an authentic purpose for writing. It is a unique learning experience and is a great way to practise our writing an communication skills. Our children were motivated and engaged to send a reply. They had many questions they wanted to ask their new friends across the Tasman.
Being involved in a collaborative programme like this also helps our children to continue developing positive relationships. Although we may not meet our writing buddy face to face, (but maybe one day...) sharing information about our culture, interests and finding things we have in common helps us to develop a strong connection.We also learn to practise patience - we have had to wait a long time for our (snail) mail to arrive but it was the best feeling ever receiving a letter that was just for me!
Before heading to swimming on Tuesday we were lucky to have the students from Autahi join us in Tautoru. The students worked through a number of different activities that had a mindfulness focus.
Some of the activities were quite challenging and required a significant amount of focus to complete. Shona worked with a group of students and taught them how to finger knit. You may notice a number of creative bracelets, headbands, or worms around the class or even at home!
Another group followed a very engaging and fun Star Wars yoga routine with Darth Vader breathing and Yoda poses.
There was also a beading group. Our fine motor skills were getting a good work out at this station. We were able to see the students using and developing a number of character strengths along with working independently and in teams to complete activities. As the weather remained wet and wild outside their was a calming focus inside the classroom.
We have introduced chess to Tautoru and it is a hit! It has been fantastic to see a number of students share their knowledge and strategies with others along with building resilience when the game doesn't quite go as planned.
Chess sparks creativity and increases problem-solving skills. A chess match requires fast thinking and problem solving on the fly and we are seeing this in the students. We are still working on understanding the rules as there appears to be some creative moves on the board.
Our Kaitiaki groups have been busy creating prototypes for bird feeders, which will soon be tested in the wet and wild Wellington weather, Team Pollinators have begun preparing the planter boxes, and Team Tree are busy creating signs and posters to inform the community about showing care in our environment.
Team Worm have been researching facts about worms, learning about their needs, and their very important role in our gardens and within the soil.
Fact #1 - The life span of a worm is 4 -5 years.
We have also created designs for our own worm farms. The plan is to create 3 or 4 smaller worm farms for the class in order to understand what we need to do to keep the worms happy, the type of food they need, and how we can use the worm wee; look out Team Trees !
Flow chart for creating a worm farm.
We spent an afternoon this week digging in our school gardens investigating the types of worms we have. It was great to get outside after a week of rain and cold weather.
We are happy to report that our gardens were filled with worms of varying sizes and energy levels. After spending some time observing them in the classroom we returned them home.
We were lucky to have a box of Tiger worms delivered to school this week and we hope to have our worm farms up and running this week.