move and we have seen so many benefits from choosing this direction. Play is how
children like to learn! Guess What? They are ALL awesome at it! The anxiety of starting
school is replaced with ‘I can do this and this is fun’. Learning in the junior classrooms
needs to focus on the foundations of learning. Building our children so they are ready for
reading, writing and maths. We see many children who struggle to work with others,
accept different points of view, be a team member, communicate when they are angry
and play allows them to practice and become better at these ‘key’ skills. Play encourages
students to plan, think and concentrate on a task. Next year my boy starts Mangonui
School and I cannot think of a better way for him to start his schooling. He is great at
Another area where there has been lots of evidence of success is in our senior
classrooms. These students supported by their teachers have really stepped up to taking
up leadership roles across the school. The digital aspect of their learning has also been
amazing. Seeing students dive deep into their learning, using several sources of
information and forming opinions on what they have learnt has been a highlight. Now we
are gathering achievement data we are seeing that our students are benefiting from this
approach Janet and Anna have taken in the Kotuku and Tuatara curriculum.
Manaiakalani has been a big driving force and we are very grateful to be part of this
initiative. Three more Far North Schools join our Te Hiku cluster next year. I hope all Far
North schools will eventually join for the benefit of their students.
We have also made some big steps into Mana Potential where students are given
strategies to manage their emotions. There are a lot of challenges facing our young
people, way more than what I had when I was their age. The huge impact of social
media, what is cool, what is not. The rising wave of violence in our schools and society...
the anti social behaviours. Yet they are no more able to deal, comprehend and sort the
information that comes at them in huge volumes than I could. The digital world does not
grow their ability to cope, it just gives them a lot more to think about. Strategies like Mana
Potential are essential elements to modern curriculum.
Last week I taught in the Kowhai classroom. Ella is an artist!! She listened carefully, took
her time and produced an amazing piece of pastel art. Well done Ella. Rata also won the
Principal Award for being a top student. He listens, thinks and then gets to work. He is
kind to everyone and everyone respects him. Rata always produces excellent work.
Keep it up!