Without the generosity of volunteer help, Raphael House would not exist. Everywhere you visit, you will find evidence of volunteer work whether it being clearing the gorse on the original site, planting trees to create the pine forest, building the classrooms, creating the Zig Zag, establishing the playgrounds, cleaning the classrooms, tending the gardens, taking camps, being class reps or trustees, to name but a few – volunteer work and love is everywhere.

So to all who have volunteered in so many ways, thank you, this is what makes Raphael House. To all who are yet to volunteer, you are invited to add to the legacy of our current and founding volunteers.

Friday Gardening Group

The Friday Gardening Group was an initiative commenced by two parents mid-2011, who wanted to contribute toward the Raphael House ‘garden’ in a small but meaningful way. Helping to care for the school garden, sharing our skills with other like minded members of the school community, visually strengthening the links between the children’s outdoor environment and their curriculum have all been a part of our objectives so far.  

We started with an expansive view….focusing on the main path up through the school, the path every child takes to and from their classroom daily…clearing weeds by hand, cleaning sculptures, pruning shrubs and when time allowed, judiciously planting appropriate species, such as the hazelnuts donated to the school by the UN Food Sustainability fund. Recently, our scope has focused on more specific projects.

In 2012, in response to teacher need, the Friday Gardening Group planned and built a sustainable vegie garden for the kindergarten: we researched and harvested renewable materials sympathetic to the local environment, including willow from the local Hutt River, driftwood from the local beach at Petone, we learnt weaving skills, that enabled us to create an organic shape for the vegie bed, responsive to the specific requirements of the site, we researched growing mediums and filled beds with robust certified organic soils, as appropriate to the Steiner curriculum, we worked with the teachers and children to plant beds with vegies and herbs reflecting the kindergarten cooking programme, such as vegie soups and herb scones.  The kindy children have been intimately involved in developing and caring for the site, as well as harvesting the plants and watching the garden evolve with curiosity, joy and pride.  

There is scope to develop this garden further and it is hoped that future kindergarten parents in particular will be involved in maintaining and developing this project with and for their children.

Future projects will, likewise, be responsive to teacher and curriculum need and parent availability and skill.  

There is an open invitation to parents, teachers and the wider school community to join us in our weekly gardening. We meet at the lower office at 9am. Morning tea is at 11am. BYO gloves and gumboots.’  

*Commonsense Organic’s very generous donation scheme has enabled the construction of the kindy vegie garden at Raphael House.  (5% of the total bill of parents’ purchases at any of their three local shops are donated to the school for the purposes of spending in the Raphael House garden. Please mention Raphael House when you purchase from Commonsense Organics). 

Friday Morning Tea

FGG Team; Melissa, Jo, Rodrigo, Jayne, Carolyn, Annemiek, Erina, Claire, Paul, Yvonne, Alice, Pete, William, Angus, Emma, Catharina.

Want to join us – Phone the Office (04) 569 5161 to be put in touch.