Crayons are in the art box, the swings are ready to go and teachers and staff are throwing open the doors to welcome pupils and families today at Wanaka’s new $16 million primary school Te Kura O Take Karara.
Foundation principal Jodie Howard said construction of the new school had progressed smoothly and teachers had been able to spend time creating their learning plans as well as filling each space with furniture and equipment.
Today was an opportunity for pupils to get used to the space so they would be familiar with the school on their first day, she said.
The school had been working with the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Ministry of Education to ensure bus travel plans were well organised while construction was still taking place on State Highway 84 and surrounding roads, ‘‘so parents will know where they can drop their kids off safely, and how the buses will work for the start of the term’’.
Representatives of Ngai Tahu would be blessing the school and welcoming pupils on the first day of the term, Mrs Howard said.
‘‘Lots of exciting things happening over the next couple of weeks.’’
After a long period working through concept plans and ideas, it was ‘‘super exciting to actually see everything come together’’, she said.
The school had been landscaped with native plants and featured sheltered outdoor areas as well as the education blocks.
‘‘Visually, the outside spaces just look fantastic. We are just thrilled with how it has all come together.’’
Teachers had spent ‘‘a lot of time’’ working out how the indoor learning spaces worked, Mrs Howard said.
The school rooms featured open plan areas including private nooks, kitchen and workshop spaces, rostrum seating spaces and private rooms.
Year 5 and 6 teacher Fergus McLean said the education spaces might look different from what parents were used to but they worked on ‘‘the power of three’’, with trios of teaching teams.
While each pupil had a key teacher, they were able to interact with different teachers and be exposed to multiple teaching styles.
The open plan ‘‘innovative learning environment’’ allowed pupils to work collaboratively in different environments, ‘‘which opens up learning opportunities for them’’, Mr McLean said.