Exciting news! Our new and updated education resource book, Blue Penguins & Other Seabirds has finally arrived.

We first published this fantastic resource and activities book in 2014 and it has been a very popular, fun, interactive tool for many teachers, educators and groups up and down the West Coast and all over New Zealand too. However because research is always changing and improving and we are finding out new things regularly, we like to make sure the information we are providing to educators and the public, is up to date too. Our education Ranger has also been out in the field trying and testing the activities with classes and schools along the West Coast, speaking to teachers and educators and it was time for a few edits and updates and even some new activities squeezed in too!

The drawing blue penguins activity is a favourite activity and adds the various ecological features – or super powers - that enable penguins to thrive
The drawing blue penguins activity is a favourite activity and adds the various ecological features – or super powers – that enable penguins to thrive

Our aim is to help Teachers and educators with all their planning and creativity to make units of work interesting and engaging for their class, take some weight off their shoulders by providing curriculum linked activities, which you can build a unit of work around, and knowledge to share with their class.

Teachers now need to include a local aspect in their delivery of the new coming curriculum, and, with most New Zealanders living near the coast, what is more local than penguins and other seabirds?

"Penguins can fit anywhere into our day to day learning."
“Penguins can fit anywhere into our day to day learning.”

Ever wondered where the education resource book started?

Education has always been a part of the Trust’s work.  In the early days of the Trust, we held our meetings around the region and offered classroom or field trip sessions with the local primary schools as we went, often connecting up with DOC rangers in the process. We recognized back then, that children could develop a lifelong value for nature, particularly in the age range 6-10 years, if they are given the opportunity.

Through lots of awareness work and connecting to schools sporadically, we were gradually becoming known on the West Coast.  That often meant that where a teacher decided to include penguins in a project, they might call in team penguin to assist. The Trust was always delighted to be invited and presented activities whenever possible, but it became apparent that resources were being spread thinly.

We wanted to be able to reach more schools, work with more teachers, and connect more children with the wonderful nature on their doorstep. Thus the idea of an educational resource to support teachers and youth leaders to deliver fun educational activities was born.

We asked Zoe Watson, a primary school teacher at the time, and now the West Coast Enviroschools coordinator and WCPT newest Trustee, to lead the project. She had just delivered a new WWF educational resource about Hector’s dolphins to teachers across the region and this was to be her next project.

The very first action was to ask teachers what they would like and how they would use a resource.  We found linking activities to the NZ curriculum was essential, and then making it available in both hard and digital copy to suit everyone.

The resource, Blue Penguins and other seabirds – activities for exploration and action for schools and community groups was launched in 2014.  It takes teachers and children on a voyage of discovery, learning about penguins, the local beach and local issues, and then taking action to protect the local penguins. Each activity is linked to the curriculum and there are activities for the classroom and for field trips. Copies of the resource were sent to every school and youth leaders on the Coast along with others involved in environmental education such as DOC community rangers.

Our aim was and still is, to work with teachers who were interested in taking their pupils through the learning process, with our support, rather than doing one off last minute sessions on demand. Move away from the ‘Rent-A-Ranger’ feel and move into a more integral part of the NZ curriculum.

“The key to science education in primary schools is motivation – for staff and students. An exciting class will inspire both students and teachers to learn and to immerse themselves in the topic.
In my experience, this is best achieved through the provision of outstanding teacher resources.
Engaging kids with science is easy – teachers just need to remember to always relate science ideas back to their everyday lives.” (Brooke Topelberg, winner of the 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in primary schools)

Coming soon! Keep an eye on our website for an update of the launch!

St Patrick's Primary School students raise awareness
St Patrick’s Primary School students raise awareness