Green School’s creative programme is one that enables learners to understand how art and design can be used in a practical sense to enhance sustainability, systems thinking, and entrepreneurship.

Visual Arts teacher, Sarah McCarrison, says the programme allows learners to follow processes, apply skills, explore divergent thinking and push their creativity to develop unique ideas that have real-life benefits.

“Our learners use systems thinking to consider the bigger picture. They’re given more opportunities to connect with our local community for cross-generational learning, and also to be entrepreneurs where they can test out and sell their work, such as at the Seaside Markets, or through public display.

“We always ensure the learner is at the centre of everything we do, therefore, the work they choose is personalised. Students are able to make individual choices within each project which means the work they are involved with is relevant to them, and is a driver for motivation.”

Projects in 2022 have seen high school learners visit The Junction recycling centre in New Plymouth to choose items that could be upcycled, repurposed or reimagined in inventive ways. During the process, they considered who their product might appeal to, sellable price points, and unique marketing approaches.

“The knowledge and skills that were developed really enabled each student to apply a business-minded approach that went hand-in-hand with sustainability. This is such an important skill to have in today’s world,” says Sarah.

Year 12 learners are currently designing unique installations for Green School’s new Kina building, that will depict an idea or message that aligns with the schools IRESPECT values (integrity, responsibility, empathy, sustainability, peace, equity, community and trust), while also “making a difference”.

“The learners have investigated the techniques street artists use to design and create murals, while exploring messages and themes associated with public artwork around the world. All ideas for their work are based around a personal theme they’re passionate about.”

Sarah says GSNZ’s art and design programme offers opportunities that help learners see the impactful reach these subjects can have in the real world.