Monday, 7 November 2016

You may have noticed lots of action around Ashley School at the moment!  Lots of classrooms have begun their action phase of their inquiries into "Me and  my environment" .  

The enviro group have been working hard to complete the School Vision map.  This has taken a long time as we work through the practical steps of creating the visual display.  Here is a sneak preview!  We hope to display this on the wall int he library or hall in the near future for everyone to check out our journey as an enviro school. 

The enviro group also now have  their very own shed to store their tools in!  A huge thank you to  the Fonterra Grassroots Grant for helping us to purchase this and of course to Reg who assembled!  All we need to do now it secure it to the ground in its final placement!  

The gardens are now well underway. It has been great to see a range of children from throughout the school getting involved and helping here! I  have a regular bunch of keen gardens who help to seed new plants, weed and keep up with the mammoth task of watering!   A huge thank you to Di ,who comes in every week to help us plant, weed and clean up!

In the tunnel house, peppers, cucumbers , tomatoes and  basil taking hold.

Our potatoes in a bucket have really begun to shoot off!
The garlic and red onions are also well under way.  

Korimako  have had a range of projects on the go!   They have been busy building their new mud kitchen, making colourful murals out of recycled bottle tops, painting their palings ready for their visual mihi as well as creating a fabulous bee friendly garden in front of their classroom. Well done Korimako!

Harakeke are beginning to work on their projects.   You may have noticed a rather large pile of dirt and a mounting tyre collection appearing on our back field in preparation for their tyre sculptures! 
Keep an eye out for our new school bus also!
A big thank you to the dads and grandad who came along to give them a hand! We really appreciate your help!

 Another  huge thank you to Danny, a local Department of Conservation (DOC) ranger who has given us these wonderful swan plants for our butterfly garden. We can't wait until the butterflies begin to arrive.
The long awaited revamp of the sandpit has also begun this week. We can't wait for this to be complete!

We have also been working on these R.E.A.C.H pencils to display the values of Ashley school over the last term. Last week a group of students finished painting these pencils and they are looking very bright and colourful. They are now just awaiting the words to be put on and their final placement in the school grounds. June and Kent Youngman have been a big part of this process- creating, carving and donating the wood for these awesome pencils. The whole school appreciates this very much. Thank you June, Kent, Ryia and Rydge! They will definitely brighten up our school!

 The Flock project.

One of the inquiry groups in Rakau took on the challenge of creating birds to become part of the flock project.   The Flock project  is an initiative to help spread the message about the threats facing our migratory birds.  Every spring, migratory birds fly to the South Island' braided rivers to breed. Some come from the coast while others fly from the North Island or across the ocean from Australia and Fiji.  They have been making this journey for millions of years but because of predators and habitat loss, some are close to extinctions.

This group of children  organised the  bird templates and worked with the children in Harakeke to create some very colourful birds to add to the growing "flock" of birds around NZ.  

The flock will pop up overnight  in a range of locations around NZ--- keep an eye out around the district... you may even see us at the Canterbury A&P show!

Rakau students are busy preparing for a market day to help fund some of the big projects they have in mind!  More information to come soon about this exciting event.

Keep watching out for more changes coming soon....

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Garden to Plate.

An important part of growing a garden at school is learning how to use what we grow!
During Term 3 members of the enviro group and a gardening group from Rakau were lucky enough to harvest some of our winter produce and work with two of our wonderful parents, Di and Sarah , to create some delicious filo parcels and pesto.

Harvesting silverbeat and parsley.
Cleaning, preparing and chopping!

Yum it all tasted so delicious!
We can't wait to grow (and cook) more !

Reducing our Food Waste- By Keira

One of my goals for our school is to have zero waste.  Food waste is a big item in our school. We have a compost bin and two worm farms to help with this but I am also helping to reduce this waste through the ‘pigs’ bucket.  At the start of the year Mr Mullan suggested that some of our scraps could go to feeding pigs.  He knew of a family just up the road, who had had children come to Ashley in past, that had kune kune pigs. I contacted the family and they were more than happy for our scraps to go to their pigs. This family has three pigs named Peppa, Clover and Patch.


They are so adorable and love to see us once a week and we love to see them.
We have two really big signs saying what they cannot have. They aren’t allowed to have egg shells, red meat and of course rubbish.

This is just another way we are working towards zero waste here at school and there will be many more coming.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Soft Plastic Recycling

On Friday we had Lesley Ottey come to talk to us about a new initiative  aimed at encouraging recycling and reducing our landfill.  

We can now recycle  soft plastic bags including bread bags, frozen food bags, toilet paper packaging, confectionery and biscuit wrap, chip bags, pasta and rice bags, courier envelopes, shopping bags - basically anything made of plastic which can be scrunched into a ball.
soft plastics bin.jpg

Soft Plastic Recycling Bins are now provided at these 4 supermarkets in Rangiora.
New World Rangiora 
Countdown Rangiora East 
Countdown Rangiora Central 
Pak 'N Save Rangiora 

Until there are facilities in New Zealand, these soft plastics will be sent to Australia where they will be made into park benches and fitness circuits for playgrounds. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Zero Waste Challenge

We are the Zero Waste action group from Rakau, Kaitlyn, Keira and Nicole, and our job is to have our school moving towards being totally Zero Waste with school lunches.

This is rather difficult at the moment because many of our students arrive at school with items in their lunch boxes wrapped in Glad Wrap, or with things like potato chips or muesli bars, that are wrapped in cellophane.

We know this because we have begun doing spot checks some mornings, of student lunch boxes. Because we know that cellophane wrappers do not break down at all, we have decided that we want to get rid of them from our school lunches.

This is a really important part of our enviro school status, where we need to think about acting sensibly and sustainably, trying not to add unnecessary waste to our school, or our environment.

In the last three weeks, when we visited each of the classrooms we found that there were many children who had cellophane wrapped food in their lunches. Here are the details of what we found so far. We are rather disappointed that there is no improvement in some classes - can you help us?

chips museli

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Korimako children fundraise for their enviro project!

Korimako had a very  successful market day to help fundraise for their visual mihi fence around the septic tank area and other enviro projects.  
Great to see lots of great preloved  items  now being reused by new families!  
They raised  $950!!! 
Well done Korimako and thank you to everyone who  who helped support the Korimako Market Day. 
We can't wait to see your colourful fence!

Image result for recycle logo

Want to get rid of the scrap metal that is lying around your place?
Bring it down to school and place in the large skip on Boundary Road behind Room 1 and help us fundraise for our school Enviro-Team!
Spread the word to friends, family and our wider community
and let’s see how much we can raise for school!
The only metal we can't take is fencing wire.
Engines need to have the oil drained from them.

Creating a Whole School Enviro Vision: Our Journey so Far...

The whole school has spent much of the first two terms exploring our school environment  to see what we liked and what we thought could be improved as part of an inquiry into "Me in my Environment".
We experienced our environment in lots of different ways.
We went outside and lay down on the ground and listened to everything we could hear. We heard a mixture of man made sounds and sounds from nature.
We drew scale drawings of the school.  It was tricky to draw them to scale and to get all the details in. Drawing these made us very aware of our environment.
We drew trees around the playground.  Some of us focussed on our very special oak tree. Others looked around the playground and carpark.  We found out that trees are a very special part of our environment.
We took colour samples out around the school and tried to match the colour to something in our environment.  We added these colours to maps of the school to show where we saw certain colours in our playground.  We found out that there are not many bright and happy colours.  It is all very natural and  not very interesting. We did word mapping where we were given words that we had to match to somewhere in the playground.  We found happy, safe, fun places and boring, desolate and messy places.  
We also looked at what is happening in the wider environment so that we can begin to think about why it is important that we change what we are doing and become more sustainable .
In Rakau they learned about the Pacific Gyre which is a big patch of rubbish in the middle of the Pacific Ocean created by our waste and killing our sea animals.
This really opened our eyes as many of us had never heard of it before!
Image result for pacific gyre
They also explored the amount of rubbish in packets of products like chips, raisins and prunes.
They are now thinking about better ways we can buy our food so we have less wastage
Rakau also visited the Waste station in Christchurch  to see what happens to our rubbish and also how we can recycle some of it into compost for our gardens.

Our inquiries into "Me in my Environment" have made us much more aware of our environment and we now want to make changes, in what we do and see, here at Ashley school.

Each class wrote down the areas of the environment that they wanted to improve and how we could make it more sustainable.
Groups of children and classes then tried to think of ways they could do this,  and were encouraged to think of things that didn’t take a lot of money…perhaps even using recycled things.
Each class has had a chance to present their ideas to the Enviro group and to rank how important they thought they were for our school and our environment.  
We have lots of great ideas:
Korimako would like to create a colourful fence around our new septic tank area that represents each member of the class.
Harakeke would like to make it more obvious where the office area is as Tanya says that visitors don’t always know where to go to get to the office.   At the moment the sign for the office is on the toilet wall and not very easy to see.
They would also like to see pencils with our REACH values on to help promote our school values in a fun and colourful way in our environment.
Image result for garden pencils
Harakeke would also LOVE to see more wildlife in our playground. They know that monarchs like to live around this area and they would like to encourage more types to come too.  They would also like to add some 3-dimensional butterfly art.
Image result for butterfly  artIMG_5324.JPG

Lots of groups love the idea of having some fun things to look at and climb over made out of old tyres. They would also love to see the sandpit revitalised and some new concrete games painted.
The children in Rakau want to revitalise the area behind Rakau, creating a pathway and native garden area with artworks and maybe even a small pond.
They want to do further work towards becoming a "Zero Waste" school. In particular groups want to reduce the amount of cellophane wrappers (chip packets/ muesli bar packets) and glad wrap being used and encourage reduced packaging in lunch boxes through education and awareness.
They also want to beautify the school by adding colourful murals on the end of the Harakeke cloakbay space and at end of Totara. We hope they will include Korimako(bellbirds), Harakeke( Flax) and Rakau (trees) of all different sorts on there to tell the story of Ashley School and our class names.
Our garden team also want to:
 *begin rainwater collection
* revitalise our  composting area and worm farms 
 *grow fruit and vegetables for a purpose.
From this we have created an Ashley School Draft Vision. 
A vision map is visual representation of the ideas we have created as a school.

This draft vision has been presented to the Board of Trustees by the Enviro team and the community has also been asked for their input.
We are now ready to finalise our new vision that will guide us over the next couple of years to becoming a more sustainable and enviro-friendly school. 

Keep watching as we update you on our progress.