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Updates from Jude

Also see the Positive Education page - one of Jude's passions!

3 July 2020

posted 2 Jul 2020, 20:24 by Carolyn Brett

Here we go - the end of the term already and it's been full of new learning, challenge, discovery and some pretty sound shifts in achievement for many. YAY!
Plenty has been happening within the confines of the walls of our celestial heavens of Autahi, Tautoru, Matariki and Māhutonga. Sports is heating up again, the fundraising calendar is being re-energised and the building work is m-o-v-i-n-g.... after the lockdown hiatus!
Building update:
This has meant that we are a couple of months behind schedule - now with a completion date of early March 2021. Nothing happened for so long (about 5 years!), there were numerous bureaucratic complexities to navigate and then the window opened into a much brighter future full of opportunity.
It's very complicated. Different projects attract different types of funding. Some cannot be used for classrooms, some can, some can be used to speed things up and some is provided as part of ongoing 10 year funding. Basically, we have different labelled pots of which to dip into within strict guidelines.
Here's the update in a nutshell:
A new weathertight Autahi - inside and out, with all new vinyl, carpet, wall coverings, windows, doors, cladding, etc, is scheduled to be completed in September (although will need to continue to be the home of the temporary staffroom a while longer.)

The top grass has been levelled and drainage rectified. We also have a wide concrete area that will be so useful for play/learning.

The new Admin block, also home to a meeting room and staff 'sanctuary space', has had its foundations poured! New drainage has been completed down the driveway to bottom court.

Eventually, the current Admin block will be the home to a new Library/Research/Creative Centre which will have easy access to the staffroom/all purpose area for events and the like. The current staffroom will be slightly enlarged so that it can cater for more curriculum activities such as Music and Dance workshops. (Let's face it - it's not really a staffroom!)

Matariki and Māhutonga are re-clad and reroofed. Underneath all of this, there is cabling, wiring, plumbing, strengthening and all that 'stuff' that costs a lot and you can't really see. 
An outdoor classroom is planned for a section of bottom grass. This will be a simple structure with clear tent-like sides that can be up or locked down. The rubber matting floor will mean ease of play...... this 'classroom' will be great for all sorts of learning and the hope is to have it as an area for performances, community events, increased shelter, breakout groups, quiet space, fundraising.... the opportunities abound!
We also have our 10 Year Property Plan funding drop. This is basically split in half so we focus on 5 years at a time. In this, we have flagged a junior toilets upgrade as the priority as well as changing the lighting throughout the school to LEDs. With all of this, there are certain parameters and priority areas for the Government we need to work within. 
Lots to think about and keep us out of mischief - isn't there!
I hope you have plenty of good whānau fun these holidays. It's been an unusual term! 
Looking forward to the second half - see you there!

26 June 2020

posted 25 Jun 2020, 17:26 by Carolyn Brett

This week it's a homage to our Worser Bay School team!

I've been thinking this week how fortunate I am to lead a team that 'practice what we preach!' We knew we were going into a tricky year space wise, we knew that we would have to change things around, breathe in and make the best of.... no point focusing on what we can't change.

So we made a very deliberate move to concentrate on all those things within our means of control and influence - and there is plenty of scope in this realm!

Then - the world changed for a while - and our staff didn't just 'cope' with the change.... they excelled!

I see this time and time again. I get told this by you, our parents as well.... so I'm not dreaming it all up! Just this week, another email "I have thanked the teachers but I truly believe I cannot express how grateful I am for all the work and support implemented during those times and want to praise the whole team again for taking it all in their stride." 

If we want to keep moving the school forward, do the best by our children, whānau, colleagues, we have no choice but to 'live it' and put our best foot forward. We won't always get it right - none of us will - but as long as we demonstrate tenacity in the mission!

In this flexible environment, we need to have staff who can manage surprises "Sorry - you can't teach your class today, # is sick, # is on a course, # is doing parent catch ups..... so you will need to go there, you will need to change to that group, and you will have to pull a genie out of a bottle!" That's what life can be like on any given day! (Actually, that was Thursday last week in that dreadful rain!) But - because our staff know all the children, have strong relationships across the school..... the ship could sail, sail forth on a calm-ish sea - with plenty of collaboration and a 'can do' attitude! 

We have agreed ways of working as a staff:  
  • Talk straight, listen hard
  • Assume good intent
  • Share the load
  • Be solutions focused
  • Openness to change
  • Test each other's thinking
  • Demonstrate a Growth Mindset
At every team planning day, these are held up in bright lights, quarterly, and we measure ourselves against them. Kids love the fact we have goals too. 

The big goal right now is to wind up to the last day of Term 2, end on a high and feel like we are on a roll and have accomplished great things in the first half of 2020. 

So from me - to the team - thank you for your mahi, for your care and your aroha.

19 June 2020

posted 18 Jun 2020, 17:59 by Carolyn Brett

You may have heard the phrase “Neurons that fire together wire together”.

It’s an area we continue to delve into as a staff as we further our wellbeing learning as part of our Positive Education "learn it, live it, teach it, embed it" process.

First of all, the staff need to get into their own learning and this is what happens once the younger comrades have been safely distributed at the end of the day!

As part of more recent learning, staff have been looking at Learned Optimism, resilience building and the whole realm of negativity bias. Yes - sadly that’s what we are wired to focus on - what goes wrong - and, what we do know is, what we focus on flourishes... both... a conundrum and a fascinating challenge as we work to support our children to move well through the world.

The good news is that if we actively learn how to take in the good we have a better chance of aiding different and more helpful structures in that brain of ours!

If you have taken a look at the Blogs lately, you will have seen the workshops the senior students ran with Tautoru last week.

We had one of our regular release teachers highly bemused by the senior students introduction to the 6-7 year olds “Today we will be learning about both learned optimism AND negativity bias”! I chuckle when I wonder what was going through some of their heads at that moment! Negativity bias? Say what?! Well - they all loved it - so something worked! 

This year, we have found ourselves featuring in both an international article in the Times Educational Supplement on Positive Education and a recently released book on Wellbeing and Resilience titled "The Educators' Guide to Whole-school Wellbeing : A Practical Guide to Getting Started, Best-practice Process and Effective Implementation" by Denise M. QuinlanLucy C. Hone. In this, we provided a case study of some of the activities we do as a staff for the 'learn it, live it' piece. We are pretty proud of what we continue to achieve here. 

It’s also really interesting that, in these recent round of parent catch ups, teachers have noticed a strong theme around the social, emotional side of the children’s school life - more than ever before. Don’t get me wrong - all of this is to support student achievement in all learning areas and isn’t a happyology in any way shape or form. In fact it’s facts, science, practice, research ........... and it’s hard!

Click on the link if you want to listen to/watch a quick TED TALK by Neuropsychologist, Dr Rick Hanson, on Hardwiring Happiness. Here you can find out more about this whole negativity bias and how “passing mental states become lasting neural traits”.

It's commonsense - and, as I got explained to me many years ago now, "If only common sense was so common"!

12 June 2020

posted 11 Jun 2020, 17:52 by Carolyn Brett

"Writing floats on a sea of talk" 

And to get the talk we need to deliberately teach the art of conversation. Discourse. 

Teachers have been investigating discourse and how we improve the conditions in the classrooms and naturally this links to the quality of discourse between the bigger/older people in the classroom as well!

I noticed this message shared in Māhutonga Matariki this week:

This week we will focus on: 

Thumb/fingers. No hands up.

Show respect for other people’s ideas. Mistakes are a learning opportunity. 

Have good listening behaviours, we look at the speaker.

Move head and body to look at the speaker.

Now a lot of this thinking has come more recently from the Maths world with Number Talks, Talk Moves and anything associated with communicating ideas in Maths and developing Maths language. But quality discourse is what we are after across all learning areas.

Learning to write is quite a mission. Especially when we have such a ph, wr, ei........ crazy spelling for so many words! Writing continues to be a major priority area for us. We want our children being confident, taking risks, writing more, not being caught up in perfection that will prevent a mark being made on a page. 

In a former life, I spent 2 years working with Dr Murray Gadd, the maestro of developing children as writers. Over this time, I worked with about 50 schools to get writing moving and shaking. It was a priority area for the Ministry of Education, our weakest link in the 3 Rs nationally, so to speak. This was 20 years ago....... and it's still a puzzle. If writing does really float on a sea of talk then improving discourse must  be a piece in the jigsaw.

We would love to work closer with you with this.

To get the conversation rolling Carl, Ximena and John will be hosting an inaugural webinar:

Learners as Writers at Worser Bay School - Webinar - Thursday 25 June, 6.30pm to 7.15pm

How do children develop their knowledge of writing at school? How can we make links between home and school to grow confidence in our writers? Join Carl, Ximena and John for a Webinar on How Writing Develops at School via Zoom on Thursday 25 June from 6.30pm - 7.15pm. 

The Zoom meeting details will be sent via our school email system on Wednesday 24 June.

Now if this works......we could try it again!

5 June 2020

posted 4 Jun 2020, 19:31 by Carolyn Brett

Poet David Whyte’s message to children ...... read, read, read..... is a clear one!

We echo his words and are keen to work hard and do our best to achieve the challenging target we set at the end of last year for 2020. To improve the number of children meeting or exceeding the New Zealand Curriculum by 20%.

We got off to a rip roaring start and then things changed and now we reboot! In saying this we are very mindful of the experiences our children had over Lockdown and many seem to have come back even more motivated and committed to/in their learning. This is a sentiment I’m hearing from many of my colleagues around the country too. There is something in the water!

Not all children find learning to read straight forward, however, not all teachers (and parents) can immediately find out why. It takes some experimenting and inquiry. In our jargon, it's known as a “puzzle of practice”. We have to keep going and leave no rock unturned in trying to get our starters moving through those colours more quickly and to extend our able readers to dizzy heights!

We have just invested just under $4k on Early Readers thanks to your Sausage Sizzling and Pizza Making and, when these treasures arrive, I’m sure the teachers and children will be excited! Nothing like the smell of a new book.

Whilst the building work is continuing, Christine, our Librarian, has been coming up with new ways to share good books through the Library Website. And, hopefully, our regular visits to Miramar Library will resume before too long - it’s also good exercise! Eventually, we will have a new Library/Research Centre/Creative Space in our current administration area. Until then, we need to keep working on building a reading culture ”It’s cool to read, kids”. Let’s try and limit too many choices sometimes at home too - “You can read, or I can read to you, or you can listen to an audio book and follow along - you are lucky, today the choice is yours!”

When you have your Zoom Catch Ups with Base Group teachers about your child/ren's progress, let’s come up with a good plan about what next. We really want these to be a 2-way chat, not a talking at you! Hopefully, this is what you feel like you experience. You know your child best - please help us understand them even better than we may now.

Dear Young Friend,

I wish. I wish, I wish, I wish; I wish I were in your shoes now, I wish I were standing where you are standing now, I would swap everything I have learned through my reading, I would swap my entire library of a thousand books, every journey and adventure I have taken through their pages, all the insights about the world and myself, all the laughter, the tragedy, the moments of shock and relief, all the books that have amazed me and that have made me reread them again and again, to be at the beginning as you are, so that I could read them all again for the very first time.

I wish, I wish, I wish I were in your place with all the books of the world waiting patiently for me. It would be so astonishing to come across Coleridge as a perfect stranger and hear his voice for the first time; I would love to know nothing about Shakespeare or Jane Austen, to be overwhelmed by the fact that there is a Rosalind, or an Elizabeth Bennett, or later, an Emily Dickinson, in this world, and then, and then to see my hand for the first time attempting to write even a little like they have, to follow them in shyness and trepidation and beautiful frustration, to walk through the incredible territory we call writing and reading and see it all again with new eyes.

I wish, I wish, I wish; I wish I were in your shoes, in a beautiful waiting to know, waiting to read, waiting to write, so that I could open the door and walk through all the books I have ever read or written as if I hadn’t. I wish, I wish, I wish; I wish I were in your shoes now.

Yours in anticipation,
David Whyte

Gorgeous, I thought!

28 May 2020

posted 2 Jun 2020, 16:08 by Carolyn Brett

David Byrne, musician extraordinaire, and the Brooklyn Youth Choir performed this piece "One Fine Day" together in 2019. It has been hailed as a hymn of 'optimism and resilience' so I thought it fitting to share with the 'gems' our Worser Bay School discovered during our period in Lockdown and on return to home base. 

As we head into an extra long weekend, hopefully you can find some space to absorb these precious jewels from a unique period of time. In no particular order of form...... uncut and unpolished!
  • We loved the slowing down and had time to spend with our children.
  • We got to understand more about how they learn.
  • I understand the need for repetition and the time it takes.
  • It has been truly delightful to discover what they know and how they develop knowledge.
  • I understand how using the technology as a tool to draw interactive participation from students rather than a passive agent of communication. 
  • A connecting of the dots is happening before my eyes. 
  • It has given me a view into the teachers' world - to me, a bit like making up a recipe and then baking it.
  • For the most part, it was very rewarding and meaningful.
  • Such a great chance to step up for the kids and really be present in their lives. There is so much we will take from this experience into how we do things from now on - all of it relies on a slower pace of life and much more mindful consideration of how we use our time.
  • We loved the flexibility in the day and time to delve deeply into things kids were passionate about.
  • We were well prepared by the experience of the last few years with Worser Bay School where we have learned the importance of the kids leading the learning, and not needing to be rigid and outcome focused.
  • Homeschooling makes us totally appreciate how teaching requires time, effort and patience, and it can be rewarding.  
  • Zoom meetings are important to parents - so they can all be connected
  • They have come back to school much more independent and chatty about their day.
  • They love the workshop style of learning.
  • We appreciated being more connected to their schoolwork.
  • We've been really impressed by the resilience now they are back at school.
  • I'm grateful to have spent so much time alongside them.
  • Seesaw connects us well.
  • The children loved how we could link learning to real life situations.
  • You guys do an incredible job getting through what you do - I was exhausted!
  • We feel more confident in working with our children on homeschooling activities, having fun with the learning and adapting to our own circumstances. 
  • We were thrilled with our children’s ability to direct their own learning (investigating, asking questions, making choices about their learning). We credit ‘the Worser Bay Way’ for this.
  • I loved using new tools like EPIC. I read heaps.
  • We loved being able to plan our own day and have plenty of rests too. 
  • I love reconnecting with my friends now though and seeing the teachers again. 
  • I had so much fun with Sumdog and just kept getting better at it.
  • We did so many experiments. It was fun and I learned a lot.
  • We missed school and I'm really pleased to be back.
  • Mum was an OK teacher but it was hard for her!
  • We loved being busy.
  • I loved spending time with my brother. I would be really bored without him.
  • It was so quiet and calm and that helped me to really think about things.
  • I think I have new skills and am able to not worry about trying new things.
  • It's fun looking around the room at the things, I almost forgot what it looked like.
  • I'm independent, well much more now.
  • I had time to work on things for longer and learned lots about the world.
  • I made cool videos and got much better at helping out at home too.
  • We loved having a list of things to do and could do it in our own time.
  • I loved planning my own day now that I'm back at school.
  • Children took real pleasure in rediscovering their classroom, noticing little differences, happy that things weren't too different.
  • I was reminded of "Don't do anything for a child that they can do for themselves" Maria Montessori, as the way they have grown up, become more independent, getting themselves into school, hanging their bag up and getting ready for learning, with ease and no tears, has been an incredible and exciting change to witness.
  • We observed how the children took real pleasure in rediscovering their classroom, noticing little differences, checking in on favourite toys and places, happy that things are not too different. They showed confidence and ownership of their space and a general feeling of being ‘back where they belong’. They were keen to know that familiar routines (like our ABC cards, storytime, etc) were carrying on and were curious about changes to the daily programme. They are generally calm, keen for fun and learning, and in great spirits. Very tired by Thursday afternoon though...
  • Staff were incredibly collaborative and tight over this time. The sharing and caring highly evident.
  • We observed growing collaboration with friends and family.
  • It was great to be able to build relationships with students in different ways/opportunities over this time.
  • Students developing as leaders and inspiring others.
  • It's certainly pushed our thinking about learner agency.
  • Children loved spending time with their parents and were involved in some pretty cool projects.
  • Children also realised the pluses of school - many missed the collaboration with peers and working relationships.
  • They have a new appreciation for their teachers and strangely seeing each other on Zoom deepened connections.
  • We had an opportunity to introduce new tools for some children requiring more support. We could offer some differentiation for children and families.
  • Positive Education/Wellbeing took centre stage.
  • We needed to develop new skills quickly - like videoing ourselves.
  • It's given us a chance to regroup and really think about why we do things and how we may do them differently

OK - I've skimmed the surface here and it's by no means a definitive list. I'm sure we will keep noticing things that may become forever changes. I also totally recognise that, for some of you, gems may have been harder to find, they may be waiting to be unearthed still. That's all OK! There is no right.

So here's to a lovely bit of breathing space for the Queen's Birthday. If you are travelling away - go well and relish the freedom.

22 May 2020

posted 2 Jun 2020, 16:02 by Carolyn Brett

It was a glorious feeling on Monday morning welcoming our tamariki back through the gate! It felt like the start of the year - but not!
My first job was to do the rounds of all the classes and get a feel for how the troops were settling back into school. The first question came from a Tautoru darling "Jude, what's happened to your hair?!" Well, where do I start with that one!
The seniors were then off to the beach to get involved in games and learning with each other, smiles and excited chatter being the main feature of the day. 
As I mentioned in last week's Newsletter, I am keen to extract the 'panning for gold', the gems of what has come from this unique period of time from yourselves, staff and children together and publish it in an upcoming Newsletter, so that we can capture any magic before it's forgotten. Ka mau te wehi!
Thanks so much for sharing thoughts with Base Group teachers already - we would love some more - so please get in touch with them this week, if you can.
This week has very much been about reestablishing, reconnecting and rebuilding. I also know many teachers are keen to get assessing where children are at in the three Rs - Reading, Writing and Maths as well. But we were not going to lay that on the children the first week back!
We totally hit the ground running this year and were thrilled with how we were planning for groups of students and were excited about the progress being made against our academic targets. In fact, I remember saying to the teachers "I have never witnessed so much progress in the first 2 months of a school year". Then NZ stopped still. 
So much learning has been happening in homes, in all sorts of exciting and interesting ways, and I also know the teachers are itching to see where things sit now and just keep moving forward. Teachers have been writing mid-year student reports which feel a little odd at the moment, odd and sort of outdated. I guess that's just the way it is this term and we will have to just go with that as we want to stick to timeframes.
This term, you are invited to attend a catch up with the Base Group teacher via Zoom. More detail can be found in this Newsletter. (NB. Autahi is on a different cycle.) 
Again, we thank you for your home learning efforts. I'm sure there were many times you felt you may internally combust, but we are just so grateful for the way our community responded.
It's just so glorious to be back and, by the looks on your faces this week, you think so too!

15 May 2020

posted 2 Jun 2020, 16:00 by Carolyn Brett

Sir Ken Robinson in his book 'Creative Schools' sets out a new vision for how education must be and can be transformed to enable all young people to flourish. Although his experiences aren't in the NZ education setting, and we have already made good progress in educating for tomorrow rather than 'when I was at school', there is still plenty of work to do.
Like many of you will be experiencing in your own workplaces, we have been given a good reason now to re-look at what we do, why we do it, how we do it and move, move, move. It can take confusion, dissonance and an unsettled experience to make this happen. The phoenix rising.
In speaking with my colleagues, it's not just me thinking this. The catch cry is "We don't want to go back to the way things were!" We have witnessed so much learning, so much growth and sown many 'opportunity seeds' for the better. As I mentioned at the start of the week, we talk about kaizen change..... what does 10% better look like? Changes need to be thoughtful and taking us up and on - not just for the sake of it. Our staff have been capturing the good and the gold that has come out of this period of forced change. We haven't been able to rely on what we usually do, neither have our children or yourselves. 
I have had some great messages from you already about what you are learning and noticing about your child/ren and the way they are approaching their learning, the motivation and the self direction. They are all unique and all at different stages, so I know this won't be the same experience for all of you. What's important is to recognise that teaching is a science and, not only does it take 6 years to train for, it involves a whole lot of knowledge in, feedback, modelling, building up (what we call scaffolding) and on we go. In the busyness of home learning, you most likely won't have time for this - you may indeed be over it by 11am, so many corners may have to be cut, and there isn't the chance for repetition, repetition..... some of it may have been just a bit tough, I get that. 
So, very soon, we will have a chance to have a fresh start and I hope the home school relationship has been soldered together even stronger than before, with a deeper mutual appreciation!
Please spend a moment before the time passes to capture the good and the gold of what you have experienced, and let your child's Base Group teacher know, as we would love to paint a full picture.
My most commonly used phrase of all times is "What you focus on flourishes", so let's focus on continuing to build the school (figuratively and literally!), so that our children too have the best chance of flourishing as whole little people at school...... and at home. 

8 May 2020

posted 7 May 2020, 18:08 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 7 May 2020, 18:10 ]

This week, I have been reflecting on the work that has been going on around Wellbeing over the last few weeks. I personally receive about 20 emails a day from companies sending this resource, that free trial, sign up now! The offers are often generous and, at times, just toooo much! 

Sifting through the information, I am relieved to know I haven't missed anything, that our school Wellbeing/Pos Ed programme covers it all and is deep rooted and well fertilised.

Each year, we survey the Year 5 and 6 students using the EPOCH tool. This evaluative tool was developed by Professor Peggy Kern. (To find out more, see The EPOCH Measure of Adolescent Wellbeing.)

This gives us a bit of  a feel for where the children are at. We talk them through the questions and give examples and then they answer the questions individually. I'm not saying it's completely scientifically validated - however - it's a good 'feel' for it!

Here are the results from the end of last year for this year's Year 6s: 

So - it was very interesting last year when one of our Year 6 parents who was embarking on the road to Intermediate school commented that she had discovered that her child had never heard of the word 'Optimism' before. It made me think and, in fact, I don't think it's necessarily well used vocab....... until we have tried to make it so!

In a farewell message, this family thanked us for "supporting them to choose to be more of  Pooh (more of an optimist) than an Eeyore (very much the pessimist)". This was the message I had given the Year 6s at the end of year and I hadn't really intended it to become more of a whole whānau thing at the time.... so was thrilled to receive this note.

From the EPOCH survey, and working from an evidence base, including plenty of anecdotal observation..., we decided that optimism would feature more prominently in our programme this year. Both our Bounceback Wellbeing programme and our whole Pos Ed programme dip into this too. It's certainly not about focusing only on the good things in our lives while dismissing the bad things, it's about acknowledging struggles and explaining them in ways that increase self-control and belief that things can change for the better. It can be learned.

Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better.” (Seligman, 2006)

My hope is that our Worser Bay kids keep these tools in their pocket as they move on through the world. I still work actively on it, as do the staff... this is part of our learn it, live it, teach it, embed it philosophy. But, rest assured, we are talking about grounded in reality optimism here, folks, not the happyology life is always a box of fluffies optimism! That's not real life!

Let's help each other and our children to make it more of the default! Who doesn't want better health, motivation, performance and outcomes after all? Ah, yes please!

1 May 2020

posted 30 Apr 2020, 18:17 by Carolyn Brett

At our staff hui on Tuesday morning, I reminded the staff that it was now Day 13 of learning from home. It feels like so much longer than that! For some of you who decided to keep your children home before we officially locked the building - it is a long time, especially once you throw Easter and School Holidays into the mix.

As I have said before, and will say again, and possibly again, this move to home learning came out of the blue. This wasn't something we have trained for, thought about and carefully planned with your children and yourselves. Instead, this has been an 'emergency  response' to a situation - just like many of you have had to do in your own workplaces. 

The announcement was made on a Monday afternoon that schools would be closing on Wednesday. As I sat glued to my computer screen listening...... 1000 what ifs and maybes were fighting for space in my head. Less than 2 hours later, I was running an emergency staff meeting. Out came the big sheets of brown paper, the marker pens, the discussion, the options....... and off the staff went...... zooming home with all the resources they thought they may need under their arms. Yes - that's how it happened!

Now we find ourselves in quite a different pattern for a time. You....... and we....... have been defining, refining, stepping and shaping things up as we go. 
Some of you have nailed everything by Day 2 and want more. Some of you are struggling to get much done at all. There is no right - we stretch right across the continuum in terms of what is possible. All of it is OK! We have been in a great pile of uncertainty. 

The great educationalist, Loris Malaguzzi, however, stated that uncertainty is a vital ingredient for inclusive, collegiate learning.... only a willingness to question all of your own abilities and knowledge leads to humility and listening - this is how we educate each other together

In our local curriculum, we, too, have a quote by Malaguzzi, "I am powerful, capable, creative, curious and full of ideas"
It may look different, it may not always be 'right' - for there is no right. But hats off to our staff, children and yourselves for just doing your best. So many rich learnings are already coming from this. The staff are capturing the gems from their perspective and I look forward to sharing with you at a later date, as well as seeking the gold from the children and yourselves and extended whānau (many of whom, I note, have been well hooked into their mokopuna!). 

Don't know about you, but any of my perfectionist tendencies have really had to be packed away - bring on the optimalist! The enjoyment in uncertainty, messiness, grey, possibility and what we are learning from navigating this path we have all found ourselves walking right now! I'm sure it will be better for me in general!

In the Guardian, I came across one of the long reads which is what got me thinking about what direction I would take this Newsletter piece.... it resonated very much with me..... and I think it also may with a number of you too. Italy, of course, has a very different education system and has unfortunately found itself in a very stressful and sad situation than where NZ is at right now..... and yet there is just so much that's similar - Italian Lessons - what we've learned from 2 months of home schooling by Tobias Jones.

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