We have had a great start to the year with a warm and positive vibe in all respects: weather, children, staff and whanau. On the whole, children have arrived back at school happy, settled and ready to learn, and our numbers are healthy. Swimming is well underway and the pool is getting plenty of use. We would dearly love to have the pool available for community use but the health and safety regulations make it untenable: as the PCBU (Person Conducting Business or Undertaking), it falls on my head if something goes wrong and I am not comfortable with that level of risk!
The new administration block is also well underway with most of the frontage demolished. We are scheduled to move back into the ‘real’ office at the beginning of term two. Our next project is a new set of toilets in the junior area—well overdue. I must say I am surprised that the ratio of toilets to children is one pan to twenty children. So in effect we need only have about 7-8 toilets with our current roll.
All these renovations are making our school more modern and attractive. But at the end of the day, our school should be modern and attractive. Our small amount of property money has been spent in the last few years on upgrading the electrical switchboard, unblocking drains and fixing roofs. I hear of already modern and attractive schools being able to spend their million dollars of property money on upgrading already tidy, clean blocks and I feel slightly envious. But back to the positive learning vibe I started this post with—we have that which makes the lack of capital bearable!
The day has finally arrived when the work has begun on rebuilding our leaky administration block. I am amazed how quickly a building can be torn apart. Impeccable timing with school beginning this week but hey…it is being done and we are every appreciative of that. Plenty of scope for teaching opportunities as I am sure many of the children will be curious to see what is happening and will watch with interest. No doubt teachers will make the most of this opportunity to feed in new vocabulary and elicit some great descriptive passages from and with the children. Taking these teachable moments has always been one of the joys of teaching but had become a bit of a guilty pleasure for some teachers as the pressure to accelerate progress has been applied more and more.
The exciting beginning of the school year is almost upon us but the thinking about the new year starts way back in the previous year. Teachers and principals I know all strive for continuous improvement and we are always thinking about how we can provide the best learning opportunities for our children and families.
2018 brings some interesting changes for us. The national focus is shifting back to our wonderful New Zealand Curriculum. Over the last year or so we have been working with you to refine our approach to curriculum and we know from what some of you have told us so far and what we believe, the foundational principles that will underpin how we do things at our school. That is, lots of experiential learning—both inside and outside the classroom—making the most of the amazing environment we have surrounding us. We want the children to be engaged in projects that are worthwhile and teach them life skills that will assist them in their futures and also develop their conscience for sustaining the planet! We want the children to be involved in their learning—not passive receivers but engaged and active participants. Times are such that information is everywhere and we all need to know how to access it and use it well. This is what we will be teaching your children—with you as partners. Exciting times ahead in 2018— see you all next week!
Today our Kapahaka group performed at the Te Whakataetae Kapa Haka Kura Tuatahi. They were amongst the best—an analogy I heard was the All Blacks v Paraguay. We were Paraguay. But boy—were we good or what??!! It was such a thrill to see our young roopu on that stage singing their hearts out, giving their all to do tremendous justice to the waiata, mōteatea, haka and poi. Their costumes were stunning and they radiated heart and mana.
I was incredibly proud of these tamariki today. They did our school, their parents and iwi, and themselves proud. Matua Vai, Whaea Mel, Margaret and all those who helped them prepare—a huge thank you from me and our school for showcasing us as strong, polished performers.
Here I am creating a blog for the third time as a result of a session at the ULearn conference in Rotorua. I have always had good intentions when it comes to blogging but it comes back to purpose—why would I want to? What could I have to say that anyone would be interested in reading?
I will always remember walking along a beautiful beach in Mahia one summer’s evening with a friend, picking up a shell and saying, ‘How are shells made again? I have forgotten.’ My friend responded with, ‘Only a teacher would ask that, Kaye.’ This got me wondering about curiosity and learning and I guess that’s what ongoing learning is all about—having that curiosity about things, asking the questions and never losing that wondering.
I then read something about some people walking through this world, their footsteps barely leaving a mark in the sand—living in the moment with little thought of yesterday or tomorrow. The job at our school is to have our children wondering and asking questions—we have to keep that alive and if it isn’t there for some—to grow and strengthen it.