End of Term 1, 2021 - Message from Deb

Dear Parents and Whānau,

It's been a busy week to end what has been a busy term! This week in particular has included everything from sports tournaments, to our 'Shadow a Student Challenge', to new playgrounds and fences.

During the week, eight of our staff including myself, completed the 'Shadow a Student Challenge'. It is a crash course in empathy that allows teachers to see the school experience through a student's eyes.

It helps us find meaningful opportunities to improve the school experience for students and take insight-driven action to create change. It is also a way for staff to observe whanaungatanga ("close connection between people" and the sense of "belonging") in our school.

I learned:

  • Teachers talk a lot!

  • Flexibility is important, especially at mat time.

  • Students navigate many transitions and subjects within a day.

  • Small groups are more meaningful and connected for students.

  • Students’ self directed learning must be developmentally appropriate and supported by the teacher.

This window into a child's life at school has been very valuable. It is now up to us to continue challenging our vision for learning in practice, and to make sure that we keep our students' experience of whanaungatanga central to everything we do.

In my role as Principal, and as I get older, I often think about safety (a little boring I know). The safety of your children is one of the first things that comes to mind when we plan and do anything.

Ensuring that our children feel safe at school allows them to focus on being creative and curious, which is where the best learning comes from. As you will have noticed, we have a number of new fences going up around the school.

These fences will ensure that children are able to move around and explore freely within our school grounds, in areas that are safe and free from hazards, giving peace of mind to staff and you as parents. I have had a few parents ask me about the internal gates, and I want to assure you that all internal gates are open during break time so the children have all their regular freedoms.

It is pleasing to see how quickly the work is coming along, and both the playgrounds and under-surfacing will be completed by the middle week of the holidays. If you are in our school grounds over our holidays please make sure you follow the fenced-off area guidelines.

As we sign off on an amazing first term in 2021, I'd like to welcome Sammie to Manaia, joining her older sister Tessa at school. How nice to see you graduate kindy and make your way to school! I also want to thank you once again for your commitment to your children and the school.

Have a great break and we look forward to seeing you at 8.55am on Monday 3 May for what is already looking to be a very fun-filled and busy Term 2!

Ngā Mihi

Deborah Fenton

Island Bay School Principal

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