Friday is school day at Waimea Plains
Every Friday, a group of Appleby School students are picked up by the Waimea Plains van, driven by a resident, for a morning of practical learning fun at Waimea Plains.
For both the kids and the residents, the visit is the highlight of the week. The children get to spend time with a group of people who have lots to offer in the way of life skills and knowledge. And the residents benefit from the youthful energy and love-of-learning the children bring to the community.
Jason Edkins, manager at Waimea Plains, says the Appleby School connection is a winner - the kids love it and so do the residents. The venue for school visit programme is the community’s new clubhouse, which has a large kitchen and plenty of space for craft activities.
“When the kids arrive at the clubhouse, we split them into groups for activities. Some join our resident gardeners to learn about growing and harvesting vegetables. Others head off for a game of Scrabble, which is great for vocabulary and spelling. Another group will do crafts. Baking in the clubhouse kitchen is always popular, because everyone gets to eat the results for morning tea. The kids can also play table tennis with residents and go for trishaw rides around the pathways. Whether you’re eight or 88, it’s massive fun.”
Appleby School’s newsletter features a regular column by a senior student called Seb. On a recent visit to Waimea Plains, Seb interviewed Colin, a resident who’s involved in the school visit programme:
“Colin likes Appleby students coming to learn about gardening, baking and bowls. His best moment during their visits is seeing the smiles on their faces and he thinks it's good for kids and senior citizens to connect and spend more time together.”
The Appleby School connection is planned and organised by a group of Waimea Plains residents, who make sure activities are educational, safe and enjoyable. The programme has been running for six months, and both the school and the community are keen to continue.
“Every age group at the school, which runs from Year 1 to 8, is included in the programme. Around 10 kids come each week. My own children go to Appleby School, so I get plenty of feedback from them that confirms this programme is a big success,” says Jason.
Arvida is always looking for new ways to keep our communities in touch with their wider neighbourhoods. We’ve discovered that an ongoing relationship with a local school is a great way to do this.
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