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!
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.
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.
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.