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First 'Green' Classroom in NZ Opens Next Week

First 'Green' Classroom in New Zealand Officially Opens Next Week

The way of the future will be unveiled at Rowley Avenue School in Christchurch at the end of next week when the country's first 'green' classroom is opened by Green Party co-leader, Rod Donald.

Based on overseas research, into children's learning, cognitive, and behavioural improvement due to having 'green environments' to live and learn in, Leah Carr, the creator of Plant Power from Morgan and Pollard Indoor Ltd, and Rowley Avenue teacher Barbara Martindale set out to create the first 'green' classroom in New Zealand.

"The children, aged 7-11 years, were given the task of re-designing a classroom so it was 'green'. They learned about design, eco-friendly products, lighting, technology, and social responsibility," Leah says.

Room 10 was chosen as the project classroom. Barbara Martindale, says she has never before seen a project and the way it is taught, have such a profound effect on schoolchildren.

“What is perhaps most significant is Rowley Avenue School is a decile one school of predominantly Pacific Island and Maori children. There are a multitude of learning and behavioural issues we work with amongst many of the children,” she says.

Barbara has already noticed improvements in behavioural patterns as some of the children continue to make marked efforts to improve their behaviour. This improvement is even being mentioned in their writing

These children have organised and run fundraising events; made presentations in person to the School Board of Trustees; created newsletters to go home to parents (using Microsoft Publisher); and created cards to send to National and International politicians and others such as Helen Clark, George Bush, and Scribe about issues ranging from saving the Rainforest to supplying plants to New Zealand classrooms.

The children, where possible, used products which are best for the environment, with the main focus of creating an interior garden which benefits both the physical environment for the children (humidity and clean air) and the psychological environment (lower stress levels, calming and peaceful atmosphere.)

The classroom was repainted using an eco friendly paint specifically designed to have a low chemical emission and the colours were chosen specifically for their psychological benefit. Indoor tropical plants with specific clean air properties were also chosen for the room. They also organised new furniture and a better use of space.

Barbara says there's been a spin-off for other classes too with many children coming in to ask what a Green Room is all about?

"The message is spreading! I know there will be children who won't want to leave our Green Room at the end of this school year," she says.

New Zealand's first 'green' classroom will be officially opened on Friday the 26th November at Christchurch's Rowley Avenue School, Rowley Avenue, Hoon Hay from 4pm to 6pm. A special media orientation will be held from 11-12pm the same day, at which Rod Donald is our special guest.

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