Open air classrooms opened at Fendalton Primary School – This week in history 24-30 July

The first open air classroom at Fendalton Primary School was officially opened on the 26th of July 1924 by Mr E.H. Andrews, a member of the Canterbury Education Board. Professor Shelley, who was Professor of Education at Canterbury College, also gave an opening address encouraging the school and committee to continue the project.

By the 1920s most parents were being guided by the Plunket Society to realise the benefits of fresh-air and sunlight for their children and the Christchurch Open-Air League had been able to persuade the Canterbury Education Board to build some open-air classrooms. The most common type was like this one at Fendalton School, Christchurch, where on sunny days, sliding doors allowed one whole wall to be opened to allow in fresh air and sunshine. Each pupil had a desk and chair which could be carried outside in fine weather. The porch on the right-hand side of the photograph served as a cloakroom and shelter-shed
A classroom at Fendalton Open-Air School, Clyde Road, Christchurch, 1928, CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0025

This first open air classroom was viewed as an experiment in the new educational philosophy that fresh air, good ventilation and sunlight encouraged good health for the students, as well as providing space for exercise.

The classroom was designed by the Headmaster Mr A.R. Blank, M.B.E. and Dr R.B. Phillipps, the Canterbury Schools’ medical officer, along with the architects Ellis and Hall. A new architecture for classrooms was developed to cater to the new philosophy and the Fendalton examples allowed the whole side of a building to be opened up. Using wood as an adaptable building material, rather than brick, was seen as important for this new architecture to enable adaption of the buildings over time to incorporate developing ideas in educational theory.

Photograph of an open air classroom, Fendalton School, Christchurch, taken circa 1924 by an unidentified photographer. Primary school children sit in rows at their desks, facing a teacher and a blackboard.
Creator unknown : Photograph of an open air classroom, Fendalton School, Christchurch. Ref: PAColl-8863. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23185726

Mr Blank and Dr Phillipps’ belief in the ideals of the Open Air movement was so high that they guaranteed half of the £400 cost from their own pockets, and secured the other half from Christchurch Rotary Club. By opening day £170 had been raised from the public and no money was requested from the Government or Education Board for the experiment. The Department of Education was reported as being skeptical of the potential benefits of this new educational philosophy, but Mr Andrews stated in his opening speech that the Education Board had been misrepresented as being opposed.

Through the 1920s, three additional open air classrooms were built at the Fendalton Primary School. The school was often visited as an example of how open air classrooms could operate including by Dr Truby King, the Department of Education and the British Medical Association.

The Open Air Schools League was established to continue to champion the cause, and they put out a booklet The New Zealand Open-Air School in 1928 using Fendalton as the example of what can be achieved.

If you have any images you would like to contribute to a community repository of Christchurch, please visit Kete Christchurch.

More Christchurch history

To see more of what happened this week in the past, visit our Christchurch Chronology.

My date with Lynda

With my husband out of town with work, I found myself home alone on Valentine’s Day, I decided instead of watching some soppy romance film, I thought I would spend an evening getting to know Lynda.

Valentines

With 5,800 courses and 260,000 tutorials, first glances were impressive. Lynda.com is an online video tutorial website that is available from our collection of eResources.

I logged in and my date with Lynda began. She is amazing. There are many courses to peruse from IT and programming, to graphic design and business skills. Basics like Microsoft Office are here as well. I was mesmerised. The website is easy to use and all the courses indicate whether they are beginner or advanced so you can immediately tell if it is the right course for you.

LyndaI chose two courses – Photography and Web Design. I know a little about both and can say that tutors on the videos were engaging and obviously experts in their field. Each course is broken up into small tutorials so you can learn at your own pace.

I’m looking forward to spending more time with Lynda, and I am going to suggest that my husband goes on a date with Lynda too, (when he is back in town). He was asking me for some tips on Excel.

Animals at the library

The eagle-eyed among you might have spotted a theme in our school holiday events – toy animal sleepover, making owls, snakes on a plain – yes, we will be busy with animal-themed programmes and activities.

School holiday programmes

If your kids enjoy watching the wildlife, there are plenty of books and DVDs in our collection as well as the following resources:

Animal names

Find out the words for male, female, child and groups of different types of animal.

New Zealand birds and animals

New Zealand has an amazing amount of wildlife, we’ve collected some facts and resources in New Zealand birds and animals.

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National Geographic Kids

Learn about the natural world us with National Geographic Kids magazine online.

Booklists

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There’s a collection of Children’s animals eAudiobooks and eBooks on OverDrive for Kids.

Want more animal stuff?

Reading to dogs

Connecting Christchurch educators – 31 days of blogging with ChchEd

Are you a teacher, or interested in education? There is a group in Christchurch doing fab work – they’re called Christchurch Connected Educators or Chched. You might see the hashtag #chched on Twitter. Their aim is to create connections between educators across the Canterbury region. It is a strong forum for sharing ideas and making things happen.

This month they bring you 31 Days of Blogging:

A celebration of the awesome things happening in Canterbury schools.

Danny from our South Learning Centre will be posting on 3 October.  I’m interested to hear what he has to say – read his previous posts on hoverboards, Living Walls, 3D printing, and Minecraft.

Hoverboard

So subscribe to the Chched blog – get ideas, inspiration, and encouragement.

Innovative collaboration and a Living wall

A great project between members of the Library Programme Design and Delivery team in collaboration with Department of Conservation and Fab Lab in Christchurch meant we could utilise our 3D printer to produce and contribute panels to the “Living Wall” project.

Elizabeth Guthrey from DOC.
Elizabeth Guthrey from DOC.

Various community groups and organisations such as local schools and businesses that have access to 3D printers have been asked to contribute panels to this wall. It will eventually be planted up with native plants and situated on the corner of Cashel and High Street in Christchurch’s central city.

Elizabeth Guthrey (the project leader pictured above) explains that urban green walls and roofs provide habitats for plants and animals, supporting nature in our city. They create shelter, shade and cool cityscapes for a more liveable urban environment for people. The proven positive effects on people’s wellbeing mean green spaces are a must-have in urban regeneration. This particular wall is tipped to be around 20 metres long and remain in place for around two years or more. The picture below provides an indication of how the wall may look when complete.

From the PDD team’s perspective, it is great to get involved in initiatives that contribute to our city’s regeneration and it has certainly been a fantastic trial for our little Makerbot 3D printer – which so far hasn’t missed a beat.

urban-living-wall-designBlog_post

Danny
South Learning Centre

2D to 3D

This term our team has been running our very first school programme utilising the Library 3D printer.

Student from 2D to 3D course shows off his

The name of the course is “2D to 3D” and involves 12 students being introduced to a variety of learning and software that allows them to take 2 dimensional design, (arrived at by following a “design process”) through to a finished 3 dimensional product that is printed out on our 3D printer.

We are now just four weeks into this first course and the students have been buzzing about what they are learning. We have taught them how to use the free 123D Design software and most of them are now using it at home whenever they get the opportunity. The first printable project was to create a “pencil copter” which is a propeller device that fits on the end of an HB pencil that actually flies.

Each student (after being taught the basic functions of the software) built their own “copter” in 123D and added their own embellishments to personalise their design. The following week we tested their copters and reflected on what worked well and what could be improved upon.

Great fun!

Some of the students involved in the 2D to 3D course showing off their

What’s going on at the South Learning Centre?

Computer Study SLCCheck out our progamme of events at the South Learning Centre. You can still sign up for some of these:

  • Beginning Computer Skills
  • Beyond Beginners
  • Computers Plus
  • Introduction to iPads
  • Computer Drop in Sessions
  • Introduction to e-books

After School Programmes

  • Girlszone
  • Workshop Club
  • eBook Club
  • Gamezone

Some other things we’ve been doing lately – We’ve been learning with Cashmere Primary, St Bernadettes School, Cyber Citizenship Connect with Thorrington School, Horizons Bio Poetry, Tapa Tiles with Beckenham School, Garage Band with Barnardos Trust, and Horizons Pasifika Stories.

Go to our Learning Centres programme to explore what you can learn!

International Literacy Day – Are you feeling privileged to be reading this?

CoverProbably not a great deal, but you should.  Not because of the opportunity to sample my ever-so-sparkling prose (yeah, right!), but because far too many people in Aotearoa have difficulty in reading and understanding what they read at all.  In fact,  according to the results of  the Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey, over 40% of the adult population in New Zealand have low literacy skills.

It is hard to fully comprehend the difficulties that this large minority of people faces in dealing with the demands of everyday life.  So here’s my challenge to you on this International Literacy Day, 8 September:  stop and think about how often you rely on the written word … And how reading involves a lot more than just deciphering letters (ever felt lost trying to fill in an official form? I know I have, and I have a Master’s degree). Literacy Aotearoa has some suggestions.

So how can we help those who struggle with reading, writing and basic maths? Well, if you have taken my challenge, you are already helping: having an awareness of the issue is a great start.

If you would like to improve your literacy skills, or want to help someone else do so, try the following links.

Never Smile at a Crocodile

CoverI chose my first festival event using the time-honoured technique of stabbing at the page with my eyes screwed shut. That’s how I ended up with a ticket for –Des Hunt and his book The Crocodile Nest. I like the fact that I don’t know anything about either the author or his books. I t makes me feel like an intrepid adventurer as I stride out on safari across Aotea Square to The Edge.

This turns out to have been a very good choice of event. Packed to the rafters with young people who give you real hope for the future, I sat next to a young man so bedecked with achievement badges that even if he dropped out right here and now he would probably still qualify as an Alpha Male.

Des Hunt is a great presenter and must have been a terrific teacher. He had that audience in the palm of his hand and they loved him. With eye-catching graphics, touches of magic, a science experiment and his sharp sense of humour, Des elucidated for us what made a good piece of writing.

I swear I could write a book after all his advice, but will instead make do with practicing on you dear bloggers and blogettes. He has what sounds like a really appealing story in The Crocodile Nest – adventure, nature, a bit of technology and a happy ending  but admits that the book that challenged him most was Whale Pot Bay whose main character was a girl and therefore challenging by her very nature.

I emerged from the packed venue humming you know what and with a big crocodile grin on my face. My first Festival event – we have lift-off!