Koru Team News, Term 4 Week 5

 Kia ora, e te whānau,

It has been a busy first 5 weeks of Term 4, a term which is flying by incredibly quickly! These five weeks have been filled with so much fun, novel experiences, and new learning. We experienced our first house games which were so exciting, and we also spent time using a 'House of Science' kit, during which we investigated many aspects of recycling. Photos from this investigation can be found in the previous Koru Team news post. 

Bug Hotels

During Week 4, we looked into the making of 'bug hotels', and discussed just how useful these can be for insects in the environment around us, the types of materials we might need to make these, and how we might use our school value, 'We Get There Together', by working with others to make our 'bug hotels'. Below are some photos of the awesome process our tamariki went through to produce these mini environments for some of the bugs close to our learning spaces!

Making Boats

During this week, we have been engaging in water play, and conducting experiments to see if we can make boats that actually do float. Our tamariki have loved creating their boats! Below are photos of our children showing 'We Get There Together', 'We Love Challenge', and 'We Love Learning', by working together in groups to make the best boats they can, with the ultimate goal of the boats being able to float. We will be testing the children's boats this coming week (Week 6). 

Kapa Haka Performance

During Week 3, we had the amazing opportunity to perform our Kapa Haka waiata at our Celebration hui. Below are the links to our performances. Our tamariki did such an awesome job and we are all so proud of them! Ka pai, koutou. 

This is their performance of 'Motoka'...

...and this is their performance of 'A E I O U'


We would like to thank you for your ongoing support as your children learn and continue to practise being able to independently unpack their bags and complete their morning routines. 

  • Just a reminder that Literacy folders need to come back each day, because we use what is sent home in our sessions during school time
  • Library day is on Fridays, so thank you for reminding your child to bring their Library folders in either during the week or on Friday to change their books 
  • Your child needs a named hat at school each day
  • When arriving and leaving school each day, we ask that you do not walk your child through the car park area. Many thanks for your support with this
  • Please send your child to school with sunscreen on, and we will help the children to reapply more sunscreen before their big playtime
  • In Week 7, we will be having a trip to the Art Gallery. Information about this can be found on Hero from a post sent out on Tuesday. Further information about this outing will be coming out later in the week ahead
  • The children have been enjoying using the very cool water pump in our sandpit, especially in this beautiful weather we have been having. Having a change of clothes in their bags would be useful for those days when the water is flowing!

We hope you have had a safe and happy weekend, and we can't wait to see your tamariki back at school tomorrow for another awesome week!!

Ngā mihi mahana,

Georgia, Elizabeth, Nicola, Tracey and Stacey

Koru Team News: Term 3 Week 9

 Kia ora e te whānau,

We hope you are all having a lovely weekend together with your families! We have been very busy in the Koru team over the past fortnight: 

  • we've had some very exciting new outdoor equipment arrive, and the children have been having fun experimenting with its use
  • we've had two fun Learning Through Play themes: 'Puppets' and 'Shops' 
  • and the children are continuing to make great progress in their Literacy and Maths learning! Thank you so much for your support with this at home - it makes such an enormous difference. 
It has also been wonderful to see our tamariki independently unpacking their bags, putting away their lunchboxes and drink bottles, and putting their folders in the correct reading folder containers each morning. We appreciate and thank you for your continued support with this.

We would like to say a very warm welcome to Finley who started school last week. It is so lovely to have Finley in the hub with us. He has settled in beautifully, and our 'Golden Oldies' have made him feel very welcome and at home. 

Word of the Week: Throughout the year, each week we have a school-wide 'Word of the Week'. Some of our focus words this term, have included: Determination, Empathy, Resilience, Respect, and Kindness. This week we have been focusing on Co-operation. We have been discussing and reflecting on what our play and relationships will look like, sound like, and feel like when co-operation is being incorporated into what we say and do. You'll see some impressive examples of cooperation in the photos below! We encourage you to talk with your children about these values and to ask them what they believe each of these words means.

Learning Through Play: During each school day, our tamariki are involved in Learning through Play activities incorporating different social competencies, all while the children are engaged in play. This can involve:

  • improving social skills, such as turn-taking, sharing, negotiating, and ensuring that things remain fair
  • being aware of the use of our school kete values in the classroom environment
  • learning new tricks and skills, as well as being inventive, with the outdoor equipment 
  • role playing within some of the different play areas like the family corner, the puppet theatre and the shops display, and 
  • learning how to work together with others and practise the skills needed to work collaboratively and to be a team player. 

We also have different themes to help spark interest in the Learning Through Play. Throughout Term 3, our themes have included: obstacle courses, cafes, vets, puppets, and shops. These themes have provided tamariki with endless opportunities and new ideas for their play. In the photos below, you will see how creative and imaginative our tamariki are. The children have been very creative in their use of the new outdoor equipment which has arrived.

Awesome balancing on the new 'stilts'!

What a cool creation for Bounce and Skip, and what a wonderful example of cooperation!

That's a tall tower team (and more fantastic cooperation).

Showing We Love Challenge with this incredibly challenging jigsaw puzzle.

"Come with me - let's go play!"

Practising our fancy footwork before the disco.

Playing shops: "I would like this one, please."

"Thank you for shopping, and have a lovely day!"

What an awesome hut you've built - so cosy!

Trying out the Hungry Hippos game and using excellent turn-taking skills.

Woohoo! What impressive balancing!

Look at all the different little things in here.

Teamwork makes the dream work. What amazing balancing skills!

What a fantastic tower you've built out of the hexagons.

Disco: On Friday afternoon, we had our school disco. What a fun time the children all had practising their dance moves and enjoying spending time with friends and having a boogie! We loved seeing them in their amazing and beautiful disco outfits. Here are photos of some of our tamariki at the disco!

We hope you are all having a safe, happy, and relaxing long weekend and we can't wait to see you all back at school on Tuesday!

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,

Georgia, Elizabeth, Nicola, Stacey and Jeanette

Koru News: Term 3, Week 3

Kia ora, e te whanau,

We hope you and your whanau are happy and healthy, and braving these cold days. Our first three weeks back in Term 3 have been very busy ones! All of our newbies have settled in really well, and we love seeing the smiling faces on all our tamariki at drop off times in the morning, as they say their happy goodbyes. We appreciate your support in helping your children to independently carry their school bags, and unpack their bags when they arrive at school in the morning. They are doing a great job at following their other routines of: putting their lunchboxes and drink bottles on the shelf; putting their literacy folders in the correct boxes; and putting their library folders into their homegroup boxes. 

A special request: We love and appreciate the support and helpfulness of our parent helpers. Thank you again to everyone who has helped out this term! It has made our activities and events run much smoother, so thank you. We have a special request to any parents who would be willing to help with cleaning some handwriting whiteboards for us. We have received some new whiteboards and are wanting to give our old ones a 'spruce up'. This wouldn't take long, so if you are interested, would you please email your child's home group teacher to let them know? Ka rawe - it would be great!

Friendship List: It is that time year again, where we are sending out an updated version of our friendship list. For our new parents, this is a list with contact details of other whānau, so that you can arrange playdates and catch ups between the tamariki in our Koru hub. If you would like to be on this list, or are unsure if you are already on it, please email your child's home group teacher, including both the email and contact number you would like to have added to the list. We are hoping to have this sent out by the end of Week 5 (26th August), so would you please let us know by Wednesday, 24th August, as to whether you would like to be on the list. 

Structured Literacy:

This week's blog post has a Structured Literacy theme. Thank you all so much for your support with your child, helping them to practise their sounds, their heart words and any of the books which come home in their Literacy folders. We just love to see the support you're providing at home, as it is definitely making a large impact on the progress the children are making: 'We Get There Together'! 

For the whanau of those children who have just started, Structured Literacy is a teaching approach which teaches tamariki about the pure sounds of letters, and then using this grapheme-phoneme knowledge to decode words (segmenting and blending sounds in a word), leading on to reading sentences in books. Children also learn a selection of heart words (words that cannot be sounded out and have to be learnt by heart). Your child's Literacy folder will contain some sound cards and heart words, and as the children progress and learn new sounds and heart words, your child's set will be added to. These sound cards can be used to help children to practise their sounds, and as a next step, you might join letter cards together to form consonant-vowel-consonant words which children can use to practise blending the sounds together to form words like 'cat', 'map', etc. 

Once tamariki are proficient in segmenting and blending their first 8 sounds, and they know all of their first 5 heart words, they will then be given decodable books to bring home with them, so they can practise their reading from school at home when reading with you. The ability to segment and blend sounds together is a key skill to have when decoding words, and is important in your child's success. Once these skills have been accomplished, it is so exciting to see the children's progress flourish and develop. 

Another great task to do at home with your tamariki, once they are confident with their sounds, is getting them to write their sounds, heart words, and the sounds they hear in words. This is the next step for our learners, and something we are practising in our lessons at school.  

We do lots of different and amazing activities to help with children with their literacy learning. This includes activities like Sound Swap, sounding out and blending activities, grab and read games, writing practice, reading word cards, using 'Move it, Say it' boards to decode words, using magnets to make words and then writing them underneath on the whiteboards, and so many more, to extend the learning of these skills in different ways. 

If you have any questions about our Literacy program, please feel free to email your child's home group teacher. Also, a final reminder to please make sure your child's literacy folder comes back to school every day, with both their sound packs and books inside, as these are used in lessons the following day. 

Practising writing our sounds and heart words

Practising writing our sounds and heart words

We can make heart words anywhere!

Writing the sounds to make our first word for 'Sound Swap'.

Our final word in the Sound Swap: from 'man' to 'lob'. Ka pai!

Practising writing our sounds in our Literacy book.

Wow, what neat writing on the line!

Ka rawe. That is some awesome writing of your Stage 2 sounds!

More beautiful writing!

During Learning Through Play, this term, we have had two different themes so far: obstacle courses and cafes. Below are some photos of our tamariki getting involved and showing 'We Love Challenge' and 'We Get There Together' by working as a team to make their creations, as well as showing resilience and not giving up.
Working as a team on their creations. Ka pai!

Look at the balancing!

"It's nearly my turn."

Look at these amazing numbers and letters! What superstars!

We hope you have all had a lovely weekend together, and we look forward to the week ahead. 

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,

Georgia, Elizabeth, Nicola, Stacey and Jeanette

Koru Team News – Term 2, Week 5

 Kia ora e te whanau,

We hope you are all happy and healthy, and settling into this approaching winter weather. It is so lovely to see all the wonderful smiling faces as our tamariki are dropped off each morning. We really appreciate the support you all give in the mornings with positive goodbyes, and with encouraging your child to independently carry and unpack their bags when they arrive at school each morning. 


Literacy Folders: Please remind your children to pack their small literacy folders back in their bags once they have finished practising their learning at home each afternoon/evening. We use the items (books and letter cards) sent home, in our small group sessions, so it is really important that these come back to school the following day to help assist with the children's learning. 

Sandwich Road Crossing: If you are crossing Sandwich Road to come into the school entrance, can you please make sure you and your tamariki cross at the pedestrian crossing. We have noticed that families are crossing near to the pedestrian crossing but not at the pedestrain crossing, which can be dangerous with cars pulling in and out due to drop offs and pick ups. We want everyone to stay safe and for children to develop safe habits on and near to roads.

School Car park: Just another friendly reminder for parents to bring their child into school via safe entry points, rather than through the staff carpark. As well as being a carpark, this is also a drop off and pick up zone for our Ferndale students, so vehicles are constantly coming in and out throughout the day. There are three safe ways you can enter the school grounds: the first is through the school gates by the flag pole; the second entrance is down by the Sandwich Road and Eastern Terrace corner, where there is a gate which will need to be opened by an adult; and the third is off Eastern Terrace at the bottom of the pathway leading up to the courtyard outside Hangere, where the gate will also need to be opened by an adult. We really do appreciate support with this, in order to keep everyone safe. 

Junior Park Explorers Outing:

Throughout this term, we have been planning for an outing that fitted in with our schoolwide focus for this year: Sustainability. Unfortunately, Elizabeth's and Nicola's home groups' outing last Monday had to be postponed due to inclement weather, but a new date has been organised. A new Hero post has been sent out with the new date of Thursday, June 9th and seeking more praent help. Fortunately, the weather was perfect for Georgia's home group to attend the outing and tamariki and kaiako all had an absolute blast!  

We had the privilege of having an educator from the Christchurch City Council, Celia, come in and talk to us about being park explorers, and adventuring and exploring the area around the Beckenham Ponds. We learnt and experienced many new things: different birds and the calls they make; going on a bird walk to listen and hear for different birdlife that surrounds the ponds; how birds help the process of pollination and its connection with seed dispersal; the different insects that could be living around the ponds and investigating and exploring to try to find these; and playing a game known as Tumble Tree Forest where our tamariki had to find a solution for what our birdlife and insects would do if we ran out of trees. 

We saw many different birds and insects, and had the most amazing time. We are so thankful for our parent helpers, Roberta, Richard, Julia and Harpreet, who dedicated their morning to come and help and be involved with the outing. We wouldn't have been able to do this without you! We also want to thank Celia, our educator, for teaching us all these new concepts and making us more aware of how important birdlife, insects and trees are to our lifestyles. Please enjoy looking at the photos of our amazing outing and we can't wait to share some more when both Elizabeth's and Nicola's home groups are able to go on this outing. 

Walking over all together ready for a great day

Walking together (part 2)

Listening eagerly to Celia and showing 5!

Celia teaching us about pūtangitangi - paradise ducks

Finding our bird buddies

Are you a kererū like me?

We're all pūtangitangi

A fun game of listening to bird calls and trying to find our parent bird

Not my bird parent, off I fly to search again...

Yay - we've found our bird parent!

We've found ours, too!

So have we! 

Looking around at the different birds at the ponds

Bird walking 

Talking about how pollination and seed dispersal works

Our friend Betty, the praying mantis, came to visit

Learning about the different bugs we might find, while exploring

I think we found something!

We found a bug on this leaf

I wonder what's in here?

Celia talked to us about decomposition and how our insects help make this happen

Look at our great costumes for the Tumble Tree Forest game

Our birds are ready to fly

Ladybugs and bumble bees

Look at those colourful wings and red and black spots

Flying around the forest

Uh, oh! Here comes a woodcutter, ready to chop down our home!

Back to safety we go!

Our final flight around Tumble Tree forest

Finishing off the session, talking about how our trees grow, and recapping what we have learnt today.

Once again, thank you so much to our parent helpers for helping to make this trip possible. As you can see, it was such a terrific learning experience for all our tamariki and even as teachers we learnt something new. We can't wait for Elizabeth and Nicola's home groups to get to experience this outing soon!

We also want to say a big thank you to Amy. Amy has been a student teacher in our Koru team for the past 7 weeks and has taught multiple groups across different curriculum areas. Amy has created such wonderful and positive connections and relationships with all our tamariki, and we are all so sad she is leaving us. She has been an amazing addition to our team and we are going to miss her immensely. We wish her all the best on her teaching journey and we can't wait to have her back and visiting again soon!

We hope you are all having a wonderful, safe and restful Queen's Birthday weekend. We cannot wait to see all the smiling faces back at school tomorrow, ready to experience lots of fun and exciting learning!

Ngā mihi mahana and take care,

Georgia, Elizabeth, Nicola, Stacey, and Jeanette

Koru Team News: Term 2, Week 1

Kia ora, e te whanau,

We hope you are all happy and healthy and had a lovely holiday break! It was such a treat to see all of those wide and happy smiles back at school this week. We would likte to give an especially warm welcome to Florence, Xavier, Daniel, Aurora, Harper, Violet, Khloe, Elijah and Jackson, who have all started school this week. What a wonderful job they are all doing settling in! We also welcome Keira who is going to be having her first day at school tomorrow. We hope you have a fantastic day (and days to come), Keira. Ka pai, tamariki!

All of our tamariki have happily returned to the routines of school, and are enthusiastically embracing their learning. They have been excelling in their Literacy and Maths lessons, and are putting lots of energy and enthusiasm into engaging with our 'obstacle course' theme. Creative thinking has been running wild with the different challenges the tamariki have been setting for one another!

Learning At Home: our Learning At Home site remains up and running, if you need or want to access this. Here is the link. There are lots of different activities that you can access, including a variety of Maths activities, a wide range of Literacy activities, a range of picture books read for the tamariki by our Koru teachers, and some fun wellbeing and Te Reo Māori activities to enjoy too. 

Kete Certificates: congratulations to both Xanthe and Zac, for displaying our school values and for receiving kete certificates this week. Xanthe received her certificate for showing 'We Love Learning' and Zac received his certificate for showing 'We Make a Difference'. Ka pai, korua!!

Sustainability: This year, our school-wide focus is Sustainability. Throughout Term 1, in the Koru team, our particular focus was on making and sustaining friendships, and this focus will continue throughout the year, as new children continue to enter our team. This term, we are going to be adding to this aspect of Sustainability, and including a focus on the environment. With this in mind, we are wondering if you have items we might be able to use in our Koru 'fairy garden' bed which is in the raised box outside the school hall. For this garden, we are looking for items such as:

  • Little plants (flowering plants, hardy, little succulents and herbs)
  • Stones, painted or plain
  • Little hollows and tunnels
  • Shells 
  • ...and any other items which you think might sit well in this little garden area

Obstacle Courses: obstacle courses are great fun and the children are thoroughly enjoying the challenge of creating fun and exciting courses, using the equipment in different and interesting ways, as you will see in the photos below! 

Friendship List: In our Koru hub, we have a friendship list to which you can add your contact details, so that other families and parents can contact you to organise playdates. If you would like to be on this list, or are unsure whether you actually are on this list, please email your child's Home Group teacher, including both the email and contact cellphone number you would like to have added to the list. 

We trust that you will all have a lovely week ahead with your families and we cannot wait to see all those smiling faces back at school tomorrow!

Photo Gallery:

Showing We Care

Don't you just love a good book?

Nose in a book!

First visit back to the Library, Term 2 :)

Emjoying a story together

Beautiful writing

Showing lovely focus at Structured Literacy time

More lovely focus being displayed here

Enjoying kai time

A happy smile for the camera!

Another beautiful smile!

Yum, yum - what's for lunch today?

Loving kai time!

Showing We Care.

Lining up, ready for our boundaries walk.

Using some very cool equipment as part of our obstacle course.

Negotiating this challenging part of the obstacle course.

Junp, jump, jump!

Wow! Truly impressive jumping required to make it over the elastic. Well done :)

Skilful balancing needed on the balance board. 

More impressive balancing.

... and yet more clever balancing.

Playing our own made up Memory game.

Now... where was that other '8'?

Playing with our new beautiful castle.

In the Family Corner, playing with the lovely new food, pots and pans.

Creative use of the high jump poles!

Great work with the magnetic numerals.

Including newbies in a game of Duck, Duck, Goose.

Our Structured Literacy group time.

Who is this character on the back of the card which has the sound, /a/?

What sound does this letter make?

It's Ally the Alligator's favourite sound!

Refreshing our memories about the first 8 letter sounds and their matching characters.

Finding out about the boundaries in the courtyard area.

What does the yellow line across the path mean and why is it here?

Exploring in Treemendous.

It's a shower of leaves!

Digitech unplugged: Kidbots (programmers sitting around the outside and the child as the 'bot' in the centre)

Creating the obstacles and then plotting the pathway.

We love our new sandpit (and how wonderful that it has a roof).

Family Corner: fun with a friend.

Are we ready, team?

Friends playing collaboratively together.

Trying our very best at handwriting time.

Working together as we learn about 'teen' numbers.

Would you like to try some?

We love Literacy!

We hope you enjoyed our photo gallery!

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
The Koru Teachers: Elizabeth, Georgia, Nicola, Stacey, Jeanette and Amy.