Seaweek 2023 runs from Saturday March 4 - Sunday March 12 and is the perfect opportunity to explore and learn more about your local beach, estuary, or harbour.
We are lucky to have a huge range of resources, tools and education providers focused on connecting ākonga with our precious marine environments. Find something that is relevant for you and your ākonga by clicking on the links within the sections below.
How can we engage with our ocean and beaches in ways that keep us safe, while protecting and enhancing the mauri of these precious ecosystems?
We can start by learning the names used by mana whenua for significant places in our local area and ask whānau and ākonga if they have stories or pūrākau they can share about local waterways. What are the messages that have been passed down and how do these relate to activities you might do in each area? The article "What Māori place names can tell us about water safety" can help kaiako explore this topic further.
Kia Maanu Kia Ora is a water safety and place-based learning resource that includes lesson and inquiry plans in Te Reo Māori and English, aimed at Kura Kaupapa Māori and mainstream ākonga in Years 1 -8. During Seaweek, you could start by watching Ngaru Toa - Wave Warriors, which explores the skills needed to ensure safety on the water, whilst emphasising the cultural significance surfing can provide for rangatahi Māori.
The Science Learning Hub has curated a wide range of Seaweek resources, including unit plans and materials to support teachers with contexts such as: Healthy Seas - Healthy People, and Mātauranga Māori and the moana.
Can you walk to your local beach? Make a plan to get out and explore the rock pools, sandy shore or muddy estuary on your doorstep. The Department of Conservation has collected ideas and resources for field trips around Aotearoa. You can find your region using the links on this map.
You don't have to be an expert, just encourage ākonga to notice the plants, animals, shells, and water and use simple nature connection activities to focus their attention. Learn alongside them and role model your own curiosity and excitement for the natural world.
For older students we recommend checking out the Marine Metre Squared citizen science tool and Sustainable Coastlines Litter Intelligence education programme and monitoring tool.
Once you've connected with your local beach and discovered what's happening in your area, it's important to empower ākonga with opportunities for positive action. This could be as simple as taking some bags on your next exploration walk or field trip, so each person can pick up one piece of rubbish, or you could encourage students to contact their local council or environmental education provider to help organise a community clean up.
Adopting your local beach or stream and making a plan to reduce waste in your school and wider community provide opportunities for long-term action and inquiry learning that is local and relevant to your students. Read the stories below for inspiration.
Early Childhood: Enviroschools story "Community leadership on waste reduction emerges from a love of local places" about Imagine Childcare in Petone.
Primary - Intermediate: Education Gazette article "Enviro-changemakers take action" about South New Brighton School, Ōtautahi.
Secondary: Litter Intelligence (Sustainable Coastlines) article "The power of storytelling" about Campion College, Gisborne.
Te Marautanga o Aotearoa: Videos and resources from Kia Maanu, Kia Ora, narrated by Hohepa Tawhara, kaiako kōpuapua tuakana at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna, Te Whanganui-o-Tara.
If you're not able to get out to your local beach or explore the hidden world under the water, there are great books, videos, and online activities to spark curiosity and learning for your students.
Visit our online catalogue of Environmental Education Providers and use the filters to search by learning context and region.
Organisations such as Experiencing Marine Reserves and Sustainable Coastlines offer marine programmes across most of Aotearoa and you may also find local groups working in your area who are happy to connect with schools.
Visit the Seaweek events page to find out what's happening in your local area and follow the Seaweek Facebook page to stay updated.
You could also organise your own event to help your community learn about, celebrate and protect your local beach. Get in touch with the Seaweek team through their website if you would like them to help promote your event.