The STEM Squad were delighted to attend the whānau day at Tamaoho School last term to officially open the school’s new māra kai and outdoor kitchen.
The event was a celebration of the school’s Curious Minds ‘Healthy Connections’ research project. This school-wide project integrated multidisciplinary learning covering sustainability, nutrition, horticulture and design & technology.
The whole school, consisting of 272 students across years 1–6, got involved in planting and growing the māra kai, building and painting a pātaka and designing their outdoor kitchen. The school worked closely with Ngāti Tamaoho throughout the project, with the iwi assisting in the creation of a hāngī pit at the school.
This hāngī pit was used for the first time that evening, providing over 200 meals for the families. The outdoor kitchen was also in full swing, running a sausage sizzle all night. Other fun activities included face painting, bouncy castles, hunger ball, medieval knight cosplay and drills with the local rugby team.
Following their hākari, tamariki and parents were invited to plant something in the māra kai. The harvested vegetables will be used during the school term when students are cooking in the outdoor kitchen. Extras will be placed in the community pātaka on the edge of the school carpark for whānau to help themselves.
In keeping with the project theme, the whānau day was a fantastic opportunity to bring the community together in a relaxed atmosphere and for the school to build healthy connections with their ākonga and their whānau.
It was a huge success, as the school was able to engage with parents they don’t usually see at the school. Lead teacher Chynna Butler says the event created a comfortable atmosphere for the whānau to engage with the school.
“Having the garden open and activities there also meant that families saw what the learners have been doing - loving it and then offering support in future.”
- Chynna Butler, project lead
Community events are an excellent opportunity for ākonga to share their STEAM projects with their whānau. For adults, it can be an informal way to enter school grounds, meet teachers and find out what their tamariki have been learning about. Whānau have a massive influence towards the interests of their tamariki, and these events can easily showcase the relevance and importance of STEAM skills.