Term 4 has been a time for action, reflection, connection and understanding at Green School New Zealand.

While much of the term has seen learners focus attention towards their entrepreneurial projects, it was the school’s newly developed He Taonga tō Tinana – Your Body is a Treasure programme that has formed a special foundation for community learning. 

Focused on celebrating and honouring the changes that take place as girls and boys transition from child to teenager, this week-long programme was co-created by Green School staff, whānau, wider community members and health professionals, to support the school’s akonga (learners) to become confident young people.

During the week, learners took part in open conversations and activities designed to prepare them for navigating their own journeys. From building healthy relationships, to celebrating rites of passage, normalising typically “taboo” topics, and teaching young women how to understand their cycles, were all part of the programme.

GSNZ Heart of School, Whaea Di Hoskin, says the importance of dedicating learning towards what is such an important time in a young person’s life, is critical, particularly since access to public health nurses was no longer funded for most schools.   

“It was really important for us to create a safe, open, honest space where the children could ask curious questions, and we could answer them without embarrassment.

“The activities helped to normalise things, make it fun for learners, and allow space for relationships and understanding to build between learners, as well as with learners and their caregivers.” 

Whaea Di says it was great to witness the learners being so open to the learning, while also being reflective of what each other is going through. 

“The conversation just flowed and our learners were so inquisitive and respectful of each other which was so cool.

“This is by far one of the most amazing programmes I’ve helped to create in my time as an educator.” 

Green School developed the programme with a desire to make it shareable and transferable to other schools in the region. If you would like to hear more please contact Whaea Di at di.hoskin@greenschool.nz