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Cookie Time Charitable Trust is delighted to be supporting four Northland students on a very special mission to help save the honey bees. Known as the Bee Friendly Community Problem Solvers, these four girls from Oturu School in the far North won the New Zealand problem solving championships last November and are gearing up to compete in the Future Problem Solving Program world championships in the United States this June.

The Future Problem Solving organization, founded in 1974, is designed to develop the ability of young people globally to use critical, creative thinking to create positive futures. More than 2000 students will take part in this June’s world championships. Oturu School’s team of Ayvran Mackie, AnnaLeah Cassidy-Taylor, Manaaki Jakobs and Teina Snowden will be the first Maori team to compete in the world championships – thanks to local fundraising efforts and the support of Cookie Time Charitable Trust and Air New Zealand which has donated flights.

The girls, who have never travelled outside the North Island or been on a plane, have nonetheless been researching an area of world significance – threats to the honey bee population. They have set themselves a mission to encourage people to recognise the importance of bees to the community. Read more about their work at www.beefriendlyproblemsolvers.weebly.com


The success of their research project stems from Oturu School’s radical approach to learning. Finding that traditional classroom learning wasn’t working for its students, the school has encouraged students to tackle real life problems that affect their community so they can connect with learning in more meaningful ways – applied learning rather than academic. The school has beehives, chickens, vegetable and flower gardens and more than 200 fruit and nut trees. Students make olive oil, honey and kawakawa balm. This year, the school is developing a registered kitchen and shop to prepare and sell products to the public. With pollination an essential ingredient to success, studying threats to the honey bee population was a natural progression.

This radical approach to learning has a unique fit with Cookie Time Charitable Trust. Through its sponsorship of Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand, the Trust is also involved in a nationwide 4D Schools programme which focuses on creativity and adjusting the learning to fit the child. Designed to be simple, effective and game-changing, the mantra of the 4D programme is ‘small changes make a big difference’. While originally conceived for dyslexic children, the programme embraces diversity and has huge relevance and application for Maori students and all those who prefer to think and learn differently than the mainstream. Oturu School’s approach is a shining example of 4D in action. For more about 4D, go to www.4d.org.nz

To watch the TVNZ Close Up Article click here




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