By Ken Muir
Menzies College, in Wyndham, is the latest school to host The Wool Shed, a container of exhibits and information about wool
cand the importance of the fibre to the New Zealand economy.
”It’s important that we educate the new generation of schoolchildren about wool and the benefits it offers,” Menzies College teacher Sally Robertson said.
”After all, these children are the future consumers of the product.”
The major attributes of the fibre – its sustainability and the fact it is a natural product with a range of special characteristics – should be more widely promoted in the community, she said.
Mrs Robertson, who with her husband Blair runs Merrydowns Stud in Waikoikoi, said the Government had promised to promote the use of wool more widely but so far there had been little activity.
”For example, I think we’ve missed a great opportunity to promote the use of wool in carpets and in insulation as part of the new KiwiBuild house building initiative,” Mrs Robertson said.
”Promotions like this could increase the use of wool and help make it more economic across the board.”
A good portion of the 320 pupils at the college would engage with the exhibit across a range of subjects, including science, economics and social studies.
Among the experiments is the well-known match test, which shows the fire-retardant characteristics of the fibre.
The Wool in Schools project aims to help pupils understand wool’s place in the economy and the community, and how and why it is part of the country’s future.
The project has identified or developed resources that support New Zealand curriculum teaching of year 7 and 8 pupils.
Mrs Robertson said the project also promoted aspects of the syllabus, including experiments and activities, which could be shared by teachers around the country.
Photo: Luke Humphries (17, left), of Tuturau, and Luke Goatley (17), of Venlaw, stand beside one of the exhibits in The Wool Shed. Credit: Ken Muir