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James Street School - Shelley Forster

2022 | Te Whakaora i te Mauri o te Repo (Restoring the Mauri of the Awatapu Lagoon)

Name: Shelley Forster
SchoolJames Street School 
Host: Halo Whakatāne
Region: Whakatane 

At James Street School one of the key themes in developing their local curriculum is ‘Science Matters’. The involvement in the Science Teaching Leadership Programme will bring a renewed focus and energy into further developing this concept. Being involved will help to develop James Street School’s Kaiako capability of delivering the science curriculum to their tamariki. The tamariki of James Street School display a love of experimenting, problem solving and responding to science provocations in their ‘Learning through Play’.

Developing a Kāhui Ako wide approach also builds upon their focus around developing a local curriculum and iwi connections. James Street School believe that iwi connections work, with a specific focus on having their teachers know the accurate history of the Mātaatua waka and Ngāti Awa and the pūrākau of their region. They believe that with the expertise within their Kāhui Ako they can merge relevant learning of science with their local curriculum and pūrākau.  

Shelley has had 30 years of primary teaching experience. During this time, she has had the opportunity to teach children from a diverse range of backgrounds and year levels from new entrants to year 6.

Shelley’s placement with Halo Whakatāne, will involve her in Te Whakaora i te Mauri o te Repo (Restoring the Mauri of the Awatapu Lagoon) which is in her school community.  This programme aims to teach tamariki about our wonderful taiao and restoring the mauri of the awa. Students from a range of schools will work together to immediately improve the environment by removing rubbish and weeds, and planting natives. They will gain knowledge about the history of the lagoon, about our native plants and animals, about the health of our water, and the positive and negative impacts of people on the area as a whole.

Another of Halo Whakatāne’s projects that Shelley will be involved in is to develop a Ōhope Spit Shorebird/restoration education programme that aligns with the Pest Free Ōhope Spit initiative. HALO facilitates a collaborative pest suppression effort between community groups and businesses connecting their mahi to further reduce pest mammal and weed species. They are aiming to facilitate a collaborative pest control effort around the spit by installing 70 DOC200 predator traps along the entire length of Ōhope Beach, connecting in with their network to further reduce pest mammal species.

Shelley will also work alongside Eastbay Rural Activities Education Programme (REAP) in the planning stages, given their role in regional biodiversity collaborations to raise science literacy.  This will extend the opportunity to reach pre-school learners, developing a pilot Bush ECE programme that encourages play-based exploration of the environment.  Eastbay REAP’s mobile playgroup will provide spaces and ākonga, part of a collaborative approach to developing lifelong learners who can champion a sustainable future for us all.  Eastbay REAP sees this ECE extension and the wider Te Whakaora I te Mauri o te Repo project as helping to fulfil our shared commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals for the region.

Shelley wants to raise the profile of science and broaden student’s understanding of what ‘science’ really is so that it can be utilized in their everyday lives. Shelley believes hands-on, authentic, investigations are critical to building children's understanding of the world around them. Shelley is looking forward to taking her learning back from the Science Teaching Leadership Programme to help strengthen and revitalize the science programme and engage tauria as lifelong scientific learners.