Schools bring gardening to life for their students

Planting 5Moturoa Primary School in New Plymouth has made gardening part of its curriculum.

In 1994 the school re-introduced the annual planting of school gardens by the children, marking Arbor Day. Every year since, they have created and planted out a new garden.

Moturoa School was the first Trees for Survival school in Taranaki, opening its propagation unit in December 1996 with funding from Westgate Transport Ltd, Port Taranaki.  New Plymouth Rotary West assembled the unit and supplied many man hours and additional funding.

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How to show your children how to enjoy a small garden

Vegetable gardenGardens come in all sizes and shapes.  We fit into the small garden category – ‘Small enough to keep under control and big enough to provide a great learning environment.’  What a great way to educate the children.

Make sure you choose a well sheltered area that gets many hours of sunlight.  Let your child help prepare the soil. Dirt can be turned over with a small shovel or trowel and clumps can be broken up by hand or by ‘stomping’ on them.

Choose easy to grow plants and as many different ones as you can get into the small space.  Carrots, radishes, lettuces and dwarf butter beans are good vegetable choices.   Mini cauliflower, mini cabbage and mini broccoli are a great idea for small or planter gardens.  Herbs are great to add to meals parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, peppermint and mint.  Strawberries are also fun to grow.

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Moturoa school pupils share environmental knowledge

Environmentally aware : Moturoa School pupils, left to right Bailey Cresswell,9, Jesse Potroz, 9, Tyler Paul, 8, and Jericho Henry, 10, work hard in the school's propogation unit during Conservation Week. Photo : Sharyn Smart
Environmentally aware : Moturoa School pupils, left to right Bailey Cresswell,9, Jesse Potroz, 9, Tyler Paul, 8, and Jericho Henry, 10, work hard in the school’s propogation unit during Conservation Week.
Photo : Sharyn Smart

Award-winning young New Plymouth conservationists are sharing their passion for the environment with the public.

As part of Conservation Week pupils from Moturoa School gave the public guided tours of their Trees for Survival Programme.  The school won the New Zealand Plant Conservation Award in 2010 for its rare species work.

Established in 1996 the programme is driven by Environment Educator Bill Clarkson’s passion for the environment and teaching children how to take care of it for generations to come.

The guides gave a tour of the school grounds passing on their knowledge about the endangered Taranaki native plants they are helping to preserve like the koheriki (Scandia rosifolia) and a local form of Corokia cotoneaster, the Paritutu korokio.

Tour guide Brayden Thompson, 11, says the kauri is his favourite tree because of the way it heals itself.

“The kauri tree will ooze out this white sap which heals it like a plaster.  It just oozes out and sticks there.”

The pinatoro has also caught the interest of the Moturoa student.

“It’s great because it’s the primary host plant for the local moth Notoreas “Taranaki,” Brayden said.

Tui are seen and heard in the large established puriri within the school grounds and Brayden said it was fun to watch them with the beaks deep in the flowers.

“Tui love to come and suck out the sugary nectar.  Sometimes they get some pollen on their feathers by their beak and when they move to the next flower it can pollinate it,” he said.

Mr Clarkson spends every Tuesday morning with small groups of children teaching them about the plants and how to grow them.  They learn how to take a cutting right through to helping DOC and the New Plymouth District Council plant out endangered local native plants around Taranaki.

For more information on the Trees for Survival Programme contact Moturoa School on 7510392.

This article was published in the North Taranaki Midweek on September 18, 2013.

Dream job for Moturoa’s new Principal

Safety Concious: Moturoa School’s new principal, Delwyn Riding, with road safety patroller Naiani Renau,9.
Photo by Sharyn Smart

Delwyn Riding left Moturoa Primary School in 1985 looking to expand her career opportunities – now she has returned in the top job.

“I worked here some years back and I vowed then to make it my dream to return,” said Ms Riding, who will combine teaching with her new role as principal.

“Principals are the leaders of learning.  Unless we know what is happening, how can we actually lead the learning?”

Born and raised in New Plymouth, Ms Riding has more than 30 years teaching experience but this is her first job as principal.

The 51-year-ol was only a week into a job as assistant principal at Waihi Central School when she was offered the position at Moturoa.

“I never thought I would get a job here, so I moved away making a career choice.  I was on top of the word [when told she had the job].  It’s been a dream of mine.”

Ms Riding, who holds a master’s in education, said her strengths were “in the area of special needs, mathematics, physical education, Maori education and outdoor education.”

She succeeds Martin Jordan, who retired in April after nine years as principal, and has plans to keep the school moving forward.

One initiative is to personally visit the home of every child attending the school and meet their families.

“People come first and are important.  Education is about people and interacting with the environment in a positive way to make a difference.”

Ms Riding said she was proud to become involved with the Trees for Survival and enviro-schools programmes, which were unique to Moturoa School.

This article was published in the North Taranaki MidWeek on June 12, 2013

Easter egg hunt at Moturoa School

Five-year-old Nevaeh Allen gives Mrs Cole of Mericales R tru trust a traditional Greek Easter egg to claim a prize pack at Moturoa School’s Easter egg hunt.
Photo : Sharyn Smart

The Easter Bunny was noticeably absent at Moturoa School’s Easter egg hunt – he’d eaten too much chocolate.

Moturoa School was chosen by Mericales R tru Trust as the recipient of their annual Easter egg hunt.

“We know your school encourages healthy eating and Easter Bunny made unhealthy choices and had to stay home sick,” Mericales R tru Trust treasurer Mike Cole explained to the pupils before they began their hunt.

Mr Cole told the children a healthy diet included a balance of sensible eating and treats.

“Don’t sit down and eat all the eggs you get today at once or you will be sick like Easter bunny.”

On the teacher’s signal, the children rushed screaming and shouting to hunt for the coloured sticks, hard-boiled eggs and buttons hidden within their area of the school grounds.

“Here’s one,” said Nevaeh Allen, 5, from room 4 carefully carrying an egg.

Room 4’s Kaydence Allen, 7, squealed “I’ve got one, I’ve got one.”

They had brightly painted hard-boiled eggs which were inspired by Chairwoman, Mrs Alexandra Cole’s Greek heritage.

The 13 greek eggs represented the 13 letters of their trust’s name and when handed in to Mrs Cole special prize packs were awarded.

“We learnt from last year’s experience that chocolate overload was not good,” said Mrs Cole.

“We knew that Moturoa School promoted healthy eating and we themed our prizes accordingly.”

The main winner was 5-year-old Dupree Bidvis-Huntley who along with the 13 Greek egg winners collected prizes sponsored by YMCA, Westpac, New Plymouth Aquatic Centre, Taranaki Rugby and Tasman Toyota, Westown.

The children ended their day with a lolly scramble before heading home clutching paper bags full of chocolate and prizes.

Principal Martin Jordan said he couldn’t thank the Coles enough.

“Alexandra and Mike have just made Easter very special for these children.”

The Coles moved to New Plymouth in 2003 and not long after established the Mericales R tru Trust.

They now do three “mericales” a year – community Easter egg hunt, mid winter warm-up and Christmas “break and enter”.

For more information: Mericales r tru Trust

This article was published in the North Taranaki MidWeek on April 3, 2013