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

18 May 2018

posted 17 May 2018, 18:07 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 17 May 2018, 18:08 ]

The traditional African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, has been widely quoted. This concept of the “village” and all of the interconnected pieces, partnerships and supports is essential if we want our children to have an opportunity to build the competencies to make "I am powerful" a reality. 

I was reminded of this very thing last week when I received an email from a parent who has a child now at secondary school. 

".......Just a quick word to say a big ‘thank you’ as always to the Worser Bay Team.

We had X’s Parent teacher Interviews last night and every teacher was thrilled with her. Why? They assess the students using the SOLO taxonomy. X is scoring 7s and 8s because, thanks to her Worser Bay Experience, she knows how to transfer and apply knowledge. She can problem solve and think around ideas. We are so proud.

It is what Worser Bay does so well – create critical thinkers. Thank you!"

I thought this is a good example of how many learner outcomes may not be realised until later in schooling and life. It  also prompted me to reflect on the many people and all of the different skills and strengths supporting lovely student X to get themselves to this great place! 

I was reminded of this again last week when I overheard a teacher talk about the 'village approach required to support students with behavioural/learning challenges'. Again, when I see the complex process of pulling a written progress report together. You will receive a double-sided written report at your upcoming meetings. It seems straightforward. Simple even, maybe? What has led up to this has been a complex task involving the child, Base Group Teacher, Team Teachers, Team Leaders, Assessment Coordinator and Support Staff.... and me!  

In my previous workplace, as in many of yours, I am imagining the well utilised term of 'breaking down the silos' is probably still bandied about. 

For WBS to have a true village approach, it means that the interconnected pieces, partnerships and supports must be highly functioning. By the time you leave that Progress Meeting, you can be assured that at least 9 WBS villagers have been part of the process! There aren't any silos here.
On Wednesday, it was the first International Day of Education Support Staff Personnel and the theme ....... Making it possible.
So, in terms of 'we are powerful', I would like us to give gratitude to our Support Staff, Cloe, Christine, Carolyn and Steph - they are committed to 'making it possible'.
Please find an opportunity to show manaakitanga next time you see them or dial the school's number!

11 May 2018

posted 10 May 2018, 19:32 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 10 May 2018, 19:33 ]

The opportunity to engage in the conversation about the future of education was highlighted in last week's Newsletter and you can find the information in there again this week. 

Over the last few years, the debate around scrapping the school decile system for something that is more equitable and fair has been a hot topic. The discussion continues, but, without the aid of a small (or large) miracle, I can't see the amount of funding a school like ours receives changing anytime soon.

This means we rely so heavily on our community to support our income, through Voluntary Contributions (we have had an amazing 84% response) and various fundraising ventures. 

Complimenting our weekly income from Sausage Sizzles and monthly Pizzas, we have our other events. Just this week we have the first children's Disco of the year. A few weeks later, on 9 June, it's the Ceilidh, a bit of a social knees up for parents, friends and neighbours, and highly rated by the community as well worth booking a babysitter for!

Last week, the first Fair Meeting for the year was convened. The School Fair - mark the calendar now - it's on Sunday 11 November - is our biggest fundraising event and recognised across Wellington as one of the 'must go to' Fairs! The site itself lends itself beautifully, the theme is always interesting and it's one of those times where almost all families in the school 'muck in' in some way. So our appreciation to all of the new parents who came along to this first meeting and are keen to get involved. For those of you who would like to be more involved but couldn't make it, your Parent Net rep will be the person to chat to in the first instance.

Parent Net - Jackie in Mahutonga/Matariki, Sonja in Tautoru and Tiso in Autahi are the names and faces at the end of the Parent Net emails and people on the ground helping connect and coordinate. They form another mighty important part of the community jigsaw when it comes to bringing people together for supporting teaching/learning and also rallying support for our fundraising ventures. 

The Board of Trustees, yet another group of dedicated parents within the school, have some great information on the website that provides more context for our fundraising requirements. http://www.worserbay.school.nz/be-involved

So, hope you have your  on for the Emoji disco tonight! Thanks to our Disco Organiser Extraordinaire and merry band of helpers. I'm sure the children will love it, and I hope they thank you!

4 May 2018

posted 3 May 2018, 19:24 by Carolyn Brett

Here we are - a whole wide landscape ahead of us and many routes and landmarks already well known, but, like any bucolic scene,...... we leave room for some flexibility, especially as we are dealing with animate objects! That's what makes life exciting!

Over the break, I finally finished a book "m Braining - using your multiple brains to do Cool Stuff" by Grant Soosalu and Marvin Oka. It's one of those books that will require a fair bit of picking up and rereading as I'm not sure my brain(s) was/were always doing cool stuff over this period! Based on neuroscience principles, the book provided understanding of ...... "the scientific basis of gut intuitions, heart-felt emotions and head based creative powers". Have a read, if you are interested in finding out more.

Amongst all the information you will read in the Newsletter, on the Blog, via teacher email, Seesaw and face to face this term, you will witness a common theme around learning about the brain, the thinking brain, the feeling brain and how we deal with emotions. We all have to deal with emotions getting in the way at times, as adults, more importantly we have an important job to do in supporting our children to understand themselves a little better - how they deal with "stuff" being key. 

So, from the very first Assembly, next week, expect to start hearing a whole lot more about positive; emotions, relationships, accomplishment, purpose and health - all of the domains of our positive education model - underpinned by the deliberate use of character strengths - in the aim of creating resilient, flourishing individuals! So, keep a look out online and come along to the regular Assemblies, if you are keen to understand more. There is also the Positive Education Day coming up soon.... which, based on the couple we had last year will be good fun and insightful. That's - Positive Education (Pos Ed) Whānau Day - Friday 25 May.

Next week there will be plenty of scope for positive health with the cross country and swimming, positive relationships, health and emotion and more with the disco, Tautoru's Botanical Gardens trip will also align with many of these domains and for some it may kick start some positive purpose for some of our budding environmentalists

All of this on top of the 3 Rs and all the learning areas and competencies in our broad New Zealand Curriculum. So much to do and a whole 9 weeks to do it!

After all, to draw on ancient wisdom, "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all", Aristotle.

13 April 2018

posted 12 Apr 2018, 18:02 by Carolyn Brett

This term has seen more longer weekends and longer sunnier warmer days than many before! This has allowed the Inquiry around the Guardians of the Forest to take full advantage of the beautiful natural environment and remove the confines of the classroom walls for learning. When we look at our Strategic Goal of 'connecting learners', it's not just the children we are talking about here - it's also the 'bigger' people - us - the staff and parents. Teachers have been engaged in full on Professional Learning since the Teacher Only Days before the children came back this year. The main focus has been the teaching of writing (as we really aim to make shifts this year). Formative assessment practices (that's the ongoing minute by minute, day by day judgments that inform planning) and ongoing learning around Positive Education.

If it's what teachers do minute by minute that has a significant impact on achievement and schools base their existence on achievement, in the widest sense, then it's essential that we place a good deal of energy, time and resources into teacher practice. Much of our learning has involved a heavy research base, observation, coaching,  presenting, inquiring,...... roll on 3.15pm the 'other side' of being a teacher starts. Some of our teachers have benefitted from attending Conferences outside of our fair city, from connecting with other schools either online or face to face, having colleagues visit........ it's dynamic, the expectations are big, only those who are committed and passionate about what they do have the drive to keep on learning like our teachers do.

It's also our parents and wider whānau, who are in this connecting learners goal - there is no escape! We have plenty of  learning opportunities in these Newsletters, Parent Connection Points, Seesaw, Blogs, Parent Workshops, Meet the Board sessions, Goal Setting and Reporting sessions, Student Led Conferences, Rising 5s..... ParentNet Catch Ups..... Assemblies, Volunteering on trips or in the classroom, Pōwhiri... a wide variety of ways to suit different needs and work commitments. You can even learn plenty helping out with sossies or pizzas!

Next term, look out for at least one Positive Education Whānau Day, Matariki Celebrations, Progress Meetings........ as we build up to a legendary Arts Celebration in Term 3 this year. In the meantime, in appreciation of all of your support and care this term, and we look forward to keeping our connecting learners goal healthy, well rested and fed in Term 2.

6 April 2018

posted 5 Apr 2018, 19:32 by Carolyn Brett

In 2017, our children came to school from 27 different early childhood learning centres or home care arrangements. That's some number when we think about the range of experiences our children arrive with. Some have been in more free play environments, others very structured, others with experiences facilitated by parents, in home nannies, a little bit of everything....... the combinations are endless. 

Resourcing the Rising 5s, the Transition to School programme has been strongly supported by the Board and gone from strength to strength over many years. When we add up and see the number 27, it reinforces the need for this programme more than ever. The opportunity for parents to get to know more about the learning priorities and expectations of our school is promoted by holding 'Parent Connection Points' at Rising 5s as well, a chance for some Q and A without the children, a rare moment!

Autahi, our New Entrant space, is on a slightly different reporting cycle than the rest of the school. You will get plenty of information from the teachers about this. Gillian Cowie will be joined by a second teacher, Carl Pynenburg, from Term 2. Carl has already been working extensively across the school and will be a familiar face to many already. Nau mai, Haere mai, Carl!

For parents in Tautoru and Māhutonga/Matariki, you can expect Progress Meetings next term around Week 7. Look out for exact timings in the Newsletter as you will need to book online. These written and verbal reporting sessions with your child's base group teacher are without the children. Behind the scenes there will have been a hive of activity as sometimes a number of different teachers are involved in the writing of one report, so plenty of rich chat happens along the way. This is the beauty of an environment like ours - teachers will see and hear things differently. Working collaboratively they form a 'whole' view and test each other's thinking. 

The first part of the written report, the top box, holds the gold. This is where teachers will be specifically discussing the learner attributes, character strengths and competencies. This is where you should be able to feel more of the 'essence' of your child. Progress against the curriculum expectations in Reading, Writing and Maths to date will also be shared. 

A huge thanks to our camp teachers and parents. A very smooth operation and a great opportunity for children to give things a go and overcome challenges. The outdoors certainly is a terrific context for building resilience and pushing through...... It's not a new message, but you may be interested in this recent article about Early Childhood Educators and Researchers discussing this.

29 March 2018

posted 27 Mar 2018, 19:01 by Carolyn Brett

Last week I was asked to visit a base group at a particular time..... I knew something was up!

As well as a very large group hug, I was presented with a book of thanks to the staff. Each child had contributed a page as a 'random act of kindness'. Here's a snippet from the crew:

".....arranging fun and happy things....."
"I realise you use all your effort teaching us in an interesting way..."
"We will support you...... you have made us full of fun and joy..."
"Thank you for giving people rewards for being themselves"
"Thank you for all the plasters and advice"
"....for being a  good person..."
"...everyone being so friendly and kind to the environment and other people"
"....we know it's hard work...."

We so appreciated the effort and also the thoughtfulness. There is depth and understanding of what we aim for. 

Additionally, we received an email from a parent this week whose whānau are leaving Wellington ....

... we are going to miss Worser Bay School terribly. We enjoyed an incredible connection with the school community and will never forget the wonderful opportunities the children have had to grow, develop, learn and thrive under your care. 

What an amazing journey it has been .....- I really believe the kids have developed a great love of learning  ........seriously positive learning mojo.... healthy dose of Worser Bay style ako....!

So for us, as a staff...... it's one of those magical moments when we see all the 'stuff' behind the scenes celebrated like this.

You have to be real, it's not all rainbows and glitter - now that's where the word resilience comes in, I'll leave that for another time!

23 March 2018

posted 22 Mar 2018, 14:28 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 22 Mar 2018, 14:29 ]

If you were in Assembly last week, you would have heard me read a comment from one of our seniors straight after a standardised Maths assessment. They said "Today I used a growth mindset in the PAT Maths test. When I came to a hard question I persevered and found my way around feeling negative and did my best. I also found understanding a few questions hard and I tried my best to understand."

I often wonder what it would have been like to go to school at a time when mistakes are welcomed, where understanding how connections are made in the brain, where 'if you can't learn to fail, you fail to learn' is celebrated. As I was deemed a good reader, when I wasn't working independently in a workbook (never marked),  I spent every reading session with another child reading on our own in the library! In my head it was for the entire Standard 4 (Year 6) but maybe I'm exaggerating. There appeared to be no expectation that I could go further or deeper in my learning. Out of sight....... out of mind!

Education has changed in so many ways within a world that has changed in so many ways. It needs to remain relevant and future orientated, while maintaining a strong human element. I often talk of the head and the heart... it's not an either or.

In author Paul Tough's book, "How Children Succeed: Confidence, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character", he talks about the growing evidence that inner resources count more....... .than anything else. I have a copy if anyone wants to borrow it. 

Character strengths are actively taught in classroom programmes, highlighted and drawn upon. As a staff, we acknowledge and call on each others' character strengths daily. You will see them clearly identified in our Positive Education model in last week's Newsletter piece. One of the commonly used free tools for adults is the VIA (Values in Action) Survey. This has been widely researched and used across all cultures. I know that some parents have also been interested in undertaking this survey.

There are many, many strengths - these 24 serve as a great start. My top 5 being humour, leadership, creativity, social intelligence and love....... I deliberately engage these daily - especially in times when I need greatest resilience.

I wonder what growing up may have been like if I understood myself at a deeper level earlier, instead of spending a year alone in a library?! (Well, according to my memory!)

16 March 2018

posted 15 Mar 2018, 15:02 by Carolyn Brett

A few years ago, I completed  a Certification in Positive Psychology. It was fortuitous that this was available, possibly for the only time in Australasia, through the Wholebeing Institute which is US based.

The Residentials were based at Geelong Grammar School (aka GGS), south of Melbourne. It was here that I learned about what you get when you actively teach the science of wellbeing, what's commonly known as 'Positive Education'. Positive Education or affectionately known as 'Pos Ed' has been a key focus for us at WBS since this time. Many of you attended the Wellbeing Parent Workshop last year and were introduced to the GGS model, which we have also adopted.

Pos Ed has been a feature of GGS for 10 years now. To celebrate this anniversary, they have come up with a list of key discoveries they have made over the 10 years:
  1. Positive Education is more of a philosophy than a program. It is a way of living, a way of teaching, a way of dealing with mistakes, a way of nurturing a sense of belonging and a sense of community.
  2. Positive Education is an evidence-based, strengths-based, proactive, whole-school approach to nurturing individual and community wellbeing. It is the combination of these four elements which makes Positive Education innovative.
  3. Staff wellbeing is a vital ingredient to the success of Positive Education.
  4. Positive Education is helping us to educate the whole child.
  5. Whilst we believe flourishing is a combination of ‘feeling good and doing good’, we also believe it is helpful for us to think of flourishing more from a caring orientation, rather than a feeling orientation. Our goal isn’t to feel good, our goal is to do good – to care for others, to care for causes and to care for one self.
  6. Positive Education is sowing seeds for life. Some of these seeds will germinate straight away and some seeds may lie dormant for a period of time before germinating, and some seeds may never germinate. Our goal is to sow seeds generously.
  7. Borrowing a tagline from IPEN, Positive Education is not preparing students for a life of tests, but instead is preparing students for the tests of life.   
  8. Positive Education is an ongoing journey requiring the hearts, hands and minds of one’s school community. Remember to enjoy the journey.
  9. Doing Positive Education well is really hard …. and really fun! Whilst the importance of our work is vital, we can and should ensure our work around wellbeing is playful and engaging.
  10. The four cyclical and related processes of Learn, Live, Teach and Embed are critical to the success of implementing Positive Education.
  11. It is important to remember that wellbeing is both taught and caught. It is critical for us to role-model behaviours in line with wellbeing and to consider the impact our school environment is having in helping or hindering the key elements of Positive Education.
  12. Positive Education is the science of education at its best.  
This year we are very much focussed on the Positive Relationships piece, along with growth mindset, character strengths and looking more deeply into neuroscience and the brain. 

The Wellbeing team of teachers are working towards at least 2 Pos Ed days this year, which we would love you to be part of. We will ensure we get the word out in good time. Last year we had the very impressive 'Grow your Mind Day' and 'Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence Day'.

Some of you will know of the work of Professor Martin Seligman. You may have come across the book 'Flourish' or 'The Optimistic Child' amongst many of books he has authored. Martin Seligman, along  with a team from  University of Pennsylvania , have trained and worked alongside GGS in this work. WBS can benefit through their altruistic pursuits!

To hear more about this field, please find a short TED TALK by Martin Seligman.

What could we do if were 10% more deliberately using our strengths each day?

9 March 2018

posted 8 Mar 2018, 17:48 by Carolyn Brett

As you will have no doubt heard, the end of National Standards was announced at the end of last year. A year before National Standards came into being, the New Zealand Curriculum expectations were developed. Enter National Standards and this piece really got put aside.

Now we have a fantastic opportunity to highlight those curriculum expectations and more. Our reporting systems, sharing both progress and achievement will continue. You will still meet with teachers four times this year. Your children will be central to both the Goal Setting Meetings and the Group Student Led Conferences (Terms 1 and 3) and you will be meeting with teachers, without your child, in Terms 2 and 4 to receive both verbal and written reports. 

Whilst the Ministry of Education team is busy behind the scenes undertaking consultation as to what reporting across learning areas could look like in the future, we want to be talking with you as to what's important to you in terms of reporting on progress. What do you really, really want to know? What's important for our children to know?

The Assessment section in the New Zealand Curriculum document speaks loudly:

"Assessment for the purpose of improving student learning is best understood as an ongoing process that arises out of the interaction between teaching and learning. It involves the focused and timely gathering, analysis, interpretation, and use of information that can provide evidence of student progress."

The Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, is aiming for transparency and therefore all of the Cabinet Papers can be located on the Ministry of Education website. This paper outlines the removal of National Standards, if you are interested.

Some of you may have heard the interview with Sir Ken Robinson on RNZ last Sunday morning. I recommend a listen.

Sir Ken picks up on some points about the difference between having high standards (which, of course, we want!) and National Standards. He also discusses the 'bleaching out' of education and how this militates against the personalisation most required for these times and our children's  future. 

It's no secret, I'm a fan and I'm keen to read his new book coming out soon - for parents: "You, Your Child, and School"From The New York Times bestselling author of The Element and Creative Schools comes an essential book for parents to help their children get the education they need to live fulfilling, productive lives.

Let me know if you are interested and read it, as if a few people are keen, we could get together after we have digested it for a bit of a debrief and chat big ideas. 

2 March 2018

posted 1 Mar 2018, 17:42 by Carolyn Brett

Approximately 5 years ago, we developed a 10 year vision for  Māori at WBS. Actually, we have managed to almost get there in half the time! 

Some of the key achievements to date:
  • Highlighting Whetūkairangi as a significant pa site
  • Magnified the lens on our local environment as a context for learning, i.e. kaitiaki of te ngahere - guardians of the forest
  • Focussed staff professional learning programme and practice 
  • Provision of a variety of  authentic experiences and school 'rituals', i.e. Powhiri, (Welcome) Poroporoaki (farewell), Matariki, Celebrations, etc.
  • Development of our own WBS karakia and haka
  • Integration of Te Reo me nga tikanga across learning areas and inquiry learning
  • Integration of the Tātaiako cultural competencies into teaching, planning and practice (see below).
Wänanga: participating with learners and communities in robust dialogue for the benefit of Mäori learners’ achievement. 
Whanaungatanga: actively engaging in respectful working relationships with Mäori learners, parents and whänau, hapü, iwi and the Mäori community. 
Manaakitanga: showing integrity, sincerity and respect towards Mäori beliefs, language and culture. 
Tangata Whenuatanga: affirming Mäori learners as Mäori. Providing contexts for learning where the language, identity and culture of Mäori learners and their whänau is affirmed. 
Ako: taking responsibility for their own learning and that of Mäori learners. 

One of our lofty goals is to have our Year 6 leavers graduating with conversational fluency in te reo. We are not there..... yet!

Continuing to build the language remains a focus for us. Many of you commented after the Powhiri how evident this is, year after year. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to give such positive feedback. It gives us a 'yes, we can do this!', the motivation to keep improving.

Some of you have asked me for my words at the Powhiri. Here they are, although I may have digressed on occasion:

Tēnā koutou katoa e hui tahi nei i tēnei rā.   
E ngā rangatira,  Ximena, Carl, Cloe, Therese me James.
Nau mai haere mai 
Ki tēnei tūranga hou kua riro nei i a kōutou 
Kei konei mātou hei tautoko , hei manaaki i a koe.
Nō reira, Nau mai, haere mai ki Te Kura o Whetukairangi 

We warmly welcome you with respect, care, open minds and open hearts:

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngahere. 
Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao. 
The bird that partakes of the miro berry reigns in the forest.
The bird that partakes of the power of knowledge has access to the world.

We hope that it’s not just our youngest people who will partake in the power of knowledge to access the world - that we will learn with you and from you and that our relationship is reciprocal.

All schools have unique features - this can be based on the physical space, the local environment, the desires of the community, the needs of the children, the networks and relationships, the skill, passion and energy of all of us. Although we work under our big NZ Curriculum Framework - Tomorrow’s Schools Policy, introduced in 1989, has meant we really have the opportunity, as a community, to create something pretty remarkable, and I know, as do many, that we most certainly have. 

However, we never finish, we never arrive. It's a bit like an unfinished symphony. Every child, family member, staff member who is welcomed into this school brings richness, brings texture. We will continue to develop and strengthen the school together. Two days ago, our Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced we were embarking on the biggest Educational Reform since 1989, Tomorrow's Schools. Whilst this is potentially exciting, I would certainly hope that schools don't lose the importance of community in any new policy direction. 

At the end of each year, all Year 6 graduates are farewelled from the community and an aspect of this ritual is the very much anticipated ‘Year 6 Speech’. Last year, a student arrived who had only been with us for a few months and had never been schooled in NZ. I would like to take some lines from her:
  • The children smiled and laughed and made me feel welcome
  • I was relieved there was no drama or conflict (in CAPITALS!)
  • I learned it doesn’t matter what your age is - you can play with anyone here.
This education of the whole child, actively teaching the skills of wellbeing is at the heart. To us, it’s a taonga, a treasure of this school. 

Encouraging a community to flourish is my personal mantra and I certainly hope you experience this in some way in your time here. 

He aroha whakatō, he aroha ka puta mai
If kindness is sown then kindness you shall receive.

No reira

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa

Ngā manaakitanga

Powhiri Speech from Andrew Wilson on behalf of the Board of Trustees:

Kia ora

Ko northfleet te waka
Ko maungatapu te māunga
Ko maitai te awa 
Ko whetūkairangi te marae
Ko Stephanie taku hoa wahine
Ko Hunter taku tama
Ko Ella raua, ko Greer aku tamahine
Whakatu toku turangawaewae
Te whanganui-a-tara toku kainga inaianei
Ko Andrew tōku ingoa 

No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa
Ki te atua - tēnā koe
Ki a papatuanuku – tēnā koe 
Ki te kura – tēnā koe 
Ki te hunga mate
Ki te hunga ora
Tēnā koutou katoa
Hello everybody 

Warm greetings to you all
To god/the spirit – greetings
To mother earth – greetings
To the school – greetings 
Farewell to those who came before us
Welcome to all those who are with us
Greetings to you all

As the Chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, it is a privilege and honour to welcome you and your whanau, to the school and community of te kura o whetūkairangi

Today is one of our most special events of the year as it one of the few very special occasions where we have our students, teaching and support team, and community all together in this very special place. 

While I take great delight in welcoming you all this morning, I would like to make special mention of Ximena and Carl who have joined our terrific teaching team this year, Cloe, as support staff last year, and I would also like to warmly welcome James and Therese and who are on student teacher placement with us. We are delighted to have all you in our waka and look forward to learning and laughing with you. 

As a kura we are very clearly focused on pursuing our vision of valuing the whole child; knowledge building and inquiry; and embracing collaborative learning. 

To achieve our vision we are committed to achieving our strategic goals of:
  • Educating for the future
  • Providing rich and powerful learning opportunities; and 
  • Connecting learners
As a kura we are committed to a single overarching core value, which sets the tone for the way we behave – which is manaakitanga – or respect – for ourselves each other, and our wonderful environment. And today is all about treating you, the newest members of community, with respect and, in so doing, demonstrate the value of manaakitanga to you as you become members of our community.

Our current Board - and successive Boards - lead our community as kaitiaki – or guardians – of this site and of the kura. This is the same responsibility that those who lived and worked here for hundreds of years before us, accepted, discharged and handed on to us. 

And it is now our turn, as a community, to strengthen the environment in which our tamariki learn and thrive - and, when our time comes to move on, to hand it on in a better state than it was in when we accepted this responsibility. 

We do this best when we all work together and I would encourage you all - and those that can’t be here this morning - to make the most of the many opportunities to be involved in supporting our kura in ways that work best for you and your whanau. 

You will find that we get to know each other through our tamariki, and our kura gives our tamariki - and all of us - the opportunity to learn, play and thrive together.

My own whānau have been part of this community for over 10 years, and my advice to you is to seize the opportunities to be involved in it with both hands. You will have the chance to make a positive difference, get a lot back in return, and you and your whānau will also have a lot of fun! 

I would like to leave you with a proverb that, although well known, is – I think – very appropriate given what this morning is all about:

He aha te mea nui o te ao? - What is the most important thing in the world? 
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! - It is people! It is people! It is people!

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa

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