Monday, 1 March 2021
Last week on Thursday we were so fortunate to get a visit from our Prime Minister Jacinda Adern who came to have lunch with our seniors of the school in the Intermediate block! Pt England School is fortunate to be receiving "free school lunches" as part of a new Labour government initiative rolled out to low decile schools. The children from Rm 21 wrote letters of thanks to Jacinda Adern who decided to reply to them in person and also gave a short interview with Aye and Nadia. How lucky these two students were, but also I think they are budding journalists? A once in a lifetime opportunity for sure! Thank you to Miss West and Mr Sommerville for their support in coordinating this amazing event.
Tuesday, 16 February 2021
During the January holidays my husband took a weeks annual leave off to be with us. We booked a campsite in Russell and were able to explore the beautiful Bay of islands, a first hikoi for our two teenage boys...On our tiki tour we visited Pahia, Waitangi, Hole in the Rock, Cape Reinga, and KeriKeri. One highlight of the trip for me was seeing a pod of dolphins on "The Cream trip" fullers cruise boat. Another one was learning about the history of Te Tiriti o Waitangi from both perspectives and visiting the new museum as well. I learned more about the importance of Turangawaewae that is the place where you belong. I felt a real sense of wairua from touching the magnificent pounamu. If you have never been to Northland I highly recommend it. Russell is a stunning, peaceful and picturesque location.
Monday, 14 December 2020
Final testing results and Woolf Fisher data has come in for Reading and they are promising considering the tumultuous year the children have experienced being in lockdown several times in the space of one academic year. So; Priority Learner 1 has achieved Blue Level 9, Priority Learner 1 has achieved Blue Level 9 and Priority Learner 3 has moved to Red Level 5, and Priority Learner 4 has achieved Blue Level 9 which is also instructional level 10. I am pleased to see their progress over a short duration and feel that playing ENGAGE games has contributed to their social skills, self regulation skills, language accumulation and overall literacy skills in their Year 2 level of learning and development. I hope that these children continue learning over the summer holidays in preparation for Year 3 in 2021.
Tuesday, 8 December 2020
I was watching The Project on TV last week and you can imagine my surprise when I saw that Jessie Mulligan had covered a story about ENGAGE in NZ! He interviewed Professor Richard Poulton and founder Jimmy McLachlan and they both talked about the roots of this research beginning with the longitudinal study from Otago University and how 1000 New Zealand families have been tracked and interviewed over a 45 year period. The ENGAGE program has been rolled out in early childhood centres and is also being trialled in low decile schools. Jimmy professes that children who learn how to self regulate at a young age are better off than those who don't. Research shows a direct link to those adults who don't; become a burden to society as they often end up in prison, or having drug/alcohol abuse problems and experience family violence. A key finding from the results of the Dunedin study is that "Childhood self-control predicts physical health, financial success, and a lack of criminal behaviour among adults", (Moffitt & Caspi, 2013). One Pasifika mother of 6 children told the story of her youngest child being different from the others - always crying, having meltdowns and not having the language to express himself. His kindergarten teacher commented that playing the ENGAGE games with his peers helps him with his social and language skills. This positive intervention of focusing on self regulation skills has a lasting impact on all young learners who are involved in the program. Playing small and whole group interactive games such as those found in the early years is fun and engaging with other children. For example, "Simon says, Snap, Memory, ball and spoon race" as well as a combination of relaxation/yoga moves to help a child learn to calm down and re-set themselves if involved in confrontation or after an emotional outburst.
Monday, 30 November 2020
Our MIT 2020 group met today at KPMG and had time to discuss our reflections from the Wananga presentations. We also reflected on what we would have, could have and should have done if we had prior knowlegde about COVID taking effect this year. We learnt how to make a screen recording on our Google slideshows and then add this to our own record of learning and professional development. I feel inspired to continue the ENGAGE program in 2021 and encourage my junior teaching colleagues to participate with their own classes as I can now see the value and importnace that it holds.
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
I attended the final PELP workshop with other teaching professionals and we discussed the success of our whanau meetings at schools and early childhood centres which brought about an awareness of the dual language texts and how Pasifika languages are being acknowledged through MoE by bringing about a school to home connection in literacy and heart languages. I really enjoyed learning new hands on practical ways to include these resources in the classroom and introducing dual language texts in the classroom. I also learnt about lexical chunking and how to identify before and after vocabuary in a grid format. Here is an example of my playdough creations which represent heart language, a seed planted and a frangipani flower to recognise the significance of this flower in the Pacific islands.