Sunshine awards at Epuni School

At Epuni School we’ve started the ‘Sunshine Awards’, to acknowledge the good things and deeds that are associated with Project Sunshine and to encourage our little farmers to look for the goodness in others.

These awards also recognise that everyone faces different challenges – what is easy for one person might be a struggle for someone else. By focusing on the goodness in people, we also hope to encourage a culture of understanding and tolerance.

This morning we created a ‘Sunshine Corner’ at Epuni School. A map of New Zealand covers one wall and will soon be covered in several hundred pins, to show all the places our seeds have been sent! Our Sunshine Mobile snuggles happily in the corner, and a mail board shows some of the beautiful letters that we’ve received from people all round the country. This sunshine corner is also the home of the Sunshine Awards.

The awards are led by the students: if they see an act of kindness, goodness or courage then they write the person’s name on a piece of paper, explaining why they think the person should receive an award, and then place the piece of paper in the sunshine awards box:

We then give out the sunshine awards during the ‘family time’ assembly on Monday morning. The awards are a special cardboard charm on a finger-knitted necklace.

Each award recipient can choose one hand-coloured charm to add to their necklace. The necklaces will have a range of charms added to them over time – each one becomes a living artwork, worn with pride by our little farmers.

We love capturing some of the goodness that radiates out from Project Sunshine and our Epuni children love their Sunshine Awards!

What’s the buzz

This week we made the ultimate Sunshine Mobile by upcycling an old BBQ table (cheers Andy!) Doesn’t it look cool?! We also posted out more packets of seeds and did some event planning – see below for more info.

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Keep Sunday 24 November, 10.00-11.30am, free for our special Sunshine Day at the Dowse, in Lower Hutt. Check out our world-famous Sunshine Mobile and take home some beautiful sunflower seeds or seedlings for a gold coin donation. Make your own bee sticker, or bring along an empty milk bottle and we’ll help you turn it into a watering can. There will be lots of fun craft activities too – we hope to see you there!

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A special tena koe to Tāne this week for decorating such beautiful sunflower seed packets for us. Love your bees Tāne!

Tane packets

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Here are two letters that we received from Manurewa Central School and Paremata Kindergarten asking for packets of seeds. Thanks for such colourful letters – we’ve posted your seed packets, so hopefully they arrive soon.

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What’s the buzz

Our Project Sunshine stall at the Riverbank Market in Lower Hutt last Saturday was great fun. Bella and Tāne managed our stall on a gorgeous sunny morning. Lots of people gave us donations for sunflower seedlings and seed packets, and for Common Unity heritage tomato plants – it was a lovely way to meet lots of new people!

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Look at all these envelopes full of sunflower seeds! These are about half the envelopes that we’ve posted out to people all around New Zealand this week.

We’ve received over 85 emails from people in NZ, from the top of the country in Northland, all the way down to Gore in the South Island. One of our favourite emails contained a fantastic bit of history about Epuni School:

Hi Kids at Epuni school,
I would love to have some sunflower seeds to plant in my garden.
When I was small I attended Epuni school, in the 1950’s, and recently I visited Lower Hutt and took a ‘trip down memory lane’, it was such a pleasure to stroll through the grounds of Epuni school and admire the marvellous garden out in the back field.
I remember I had James K Baxter for a teacher one year, his only foray into teaching, a wonderful and inspiring teacher, I remember when he left, telling my parents “he’s leaving to go to a poet factory” and their amusement… I hope the school continues to be a happy place of learning in the local community, well done on such a great garden.

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We received these colourful letters from Mrs Green and Waipu Primary School – they’re up the top of North Island too! It’s great to hear that their seeds have sprouted already, and we hope the plants are growing well. The seedlings must be getting quite tall by now?

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If you’d like some of our sunflower seeds and you know someone who works in the Xero office in Wellington, then get in touch with them! Our seed packets are available there for a donation, and are sitting on the Xero kitchen bench. (Thank you Simon for helping us out!)

What’s the buzz

Our little farmers’ seed packets will be available at the Riverbank Market in Lower Hutt tomorrow morning (from very early ’til about lunchtime). We will also have sunflower seedlings for sale, and a limited amount of heritage tomato seedlings. All proceeds received will go towards funding a beehive at Epuni School. We’d love to see you there – come say hi!

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This week has been an awesome arty week for Project Sunshine. It’s been really wet and windy here in Wellington, so instead of spending lots of time in the garden, we’ve snuggled up inside with lovely art supplies and decorated lots of seed packets.

This morning we had visitors from Epuni Kindergarten. The gorgeous little people turned up to the library for a book reading session and saw us painting seed packets. Julia told them all about the magic sunflowers and asked them to choose a packet of seeds. They chose the rainbow packet, which they have taken back to plant at their kindergarten.

Here are some of the beautiful seed packets that the Epuni School children decorated today. Check out the clever collage!

Beautiful bright colours here too!

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This afternoon Project Sunshine was mentioned in the NZ Gardener Magazine‘s email ‘Get Growing’ newsletter. It gets emailed to lots of people around New Zealand and is full of interesting gardening tips and tricks, and advice on how to grow things like fruit and vegetables.

When the newsletter was emailed out, we started receiving lots of emails from people wanting packets of sunflower seeds. We posted out 14 envelopes this afternoon to Carterton, Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Ngaruawahia, Porirua, Blenheim, Northland and Gisborne and we have many, many more to send out over the weekend!

What’s the buzz

For our update this week, we’re sharing a few of the awesome letters we’ve received. Term 4 started with an armful of letters and packages – we love all this mail!

Lots of mail!

Julie_letter

Kapiti Primary

Denise

A special thanks to Julie from Napier, Kapiti Primary School and Denise from Auckland for their beautiful letters. We hope our seeds grow big and tall, and bloom beautifully for you all 🙂