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 Team news, Term 3 Week 7

 Kia ora koutou,

We hope that this finds you at the end of a lovely weekend with your families, and we look forward to seeing your wee ones with their beautiful, wide smiles, tomorrow morning!

Our focus in this post is on Maths, and in particular on the Maths strand area of Probability. In the first week of the previous fortnight, we focused on developing the language of probability, introducing such terms as 'always', 'perhaps', 'certain', 'possible', 'impossible', 'will', 'might', 'won't', 'will', 'maybe', 'never', 'yes', 'no'. The context for this learning took the form of familiar stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man, Cinderella and Maui Catches the Sun, and the children were asked such questions as 'Do you think Little Red Riding Hood will see a tree on the way to Grandma's house?' and 'Do you think Red Riding Hood will see a hedgehog in the forest?' 

Whatever the children's decisions, they were always asked to justify their thinking.

During the second week, we learnt more about probability by playing card games, such as Memory, using sets of animal cards (including various numbers of animals, at the most, ten cats, ten dogs, six mice and one pig). As we played the games, we thought about how likely it is for 'an event' to happen, for example, 'What are the chances of picking up two cats as opposed to picking up two dogs?' The children were asked to think about such questions as:

  • What card do you think you will turn over next? (given the cards that have already been turned over)
  • Why do you think that?
  • Which cards do you think will be last?
  • Which are the hardest pairs to find?
  • Which are the easiest pairs to find?

In this game, Feeding Greedy Cat, which cat will get the most fish, the blue cat or the red cat?

Was there a lucky colour in your game?

In this game, was it better to be in the team collecting the same cards or the team collecting the different cards?

Which card do you think you'll turn up next? And why do you think that?

Is it certain, possible or impossible for Cinderella to see a hot air balloon on her way to the palace?

Will the gingerbread man always, possibly or never see a tractor on his way to the river?

What are the chances that the first card you turn over is a dog? Why do you think that?

Which card will you choose to turn over next?

Which are the hardest pairs to find? Which are the easiest pairs to find?

Are you collecting pairs that are the same or pairs that are different? Is it better to collect pairs that are the same or pairs that are different?

Which coloured cat is going to get the most fish?

Is there a 'lucky' colour? Was the same colour 'lucky' every time you played the game?

Our Probability focus gave the children an in-depth look at uncertainty and chance, in a variety of situations. They were given the opportunity to acknowledge and anticipate possible outcomes, always justifying their thinking each step of the way. What a lot of fun we had in Maths throughout this last fortnight!

...and one final message - many thanks to you for the continuing support you are giving your children with their learning, by helping them to practise their heart words, their sound cards and their reading at home with you. The difference this makes is invaluable and we certainly appreciate it enormously.

All best for the week ahead!
Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
Elizabeth, Georgia, Nicola, Stacey and Jeanette

Koru Team News Term 3 Week 5

 Kia ora, e te whanau,

This term is whizzing by! Can you believe we are halfway through Term 3 already?

It was great fun seeing all the children and teachers dressed up for Book Character Dress Up Day on Friday of Week 4. There were some amazing costumes!

Nicola dressed as Pete the Cat with his Four Groovy Buttons.
Georgia made a beautiful Cinderella!
Elizabeth was a very Fancy Nancy!
In the Koru hub, we have been busy exploring different play provocations during our Learning Through Play. Last week we introduced our theme, for the next 2 weeks, by performing a role play of visiting the vet. The children loved the little 'show' and it gave them lots of ideas to incorporate into their play last week. They have set up a seating area for the sick animals, and their owners, where they wait for their appointment time. There are forms to fill out about the sick pets and even an x-ray machine. We have talked about how we don't need to have the exact object for our play, but can use any item, to represent something we may require by using our imaginations. 
A variety of pets receiving treatment at the vets.
The line up of patients to get through for the morning.
A happy dog, and his owner, after a vet visit to fix his leg.

Each week our kura has a 'Word of the Week', which is a focus across all teams. This week's word is 'kindness'. Throughout the week, we have lots of discussions about what the word means and how we can demonstrate the word in and out of the classroom. We love seeing how the children are displaying the word of the week throughout the day, and how they use the word to describe situations that happen during their play. It's always so neat hearing our learners use previous 'words of the week' in their explanations and discussions with teachers and peers too. Next week's 'Word of the Week' is 'resilience'.

This group demonstrated many of our past 'words of the week' in their play as they built this train set up. These included: inclusion, respect and kindness! Ka pai, team!
Showing kindness and respect for others' ideas.
Taking turns and showing inclusion, by reading together.
We loved hearing, "We are taking turns on the trolley." 
Showing off his cool ball skills with one of our new balls.

  • If you'd like to be included in our hub Friendship List then please email your child's Home Group teacher with your contact details, including your name, phone number and email address. The Friendship List will be coming out shortly.
  • Our amazing Calendar Art artworks have been finished, so keep an eye out for how you can view these, and order items online, in the next few weeks. You're going to love the results of the children's hard work and focus!
  • Reading folders are sent home Monday-Thursday and are to be brought back to school each day. We are really noticing the progress the children are making in their literacy when they are practising at home. Thank you for your support with this!
  • Library folders and poetry books come home on Fridays.

We hope you are all having 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 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 News Term 3 Week 1

Kia ora, e te whanau,

What a lovely first week back at school following the holidays, this despite some very inclement weather! The children have loved reconnecting with teachers and friends. We warmly welcome our new children and their whānau: Kura, Theo, Ciaran, Arlo, Jessica and Mia Rose. It's wonderful to have you all at school with us, and well done to all for settling so beautifully into school life. 

A very warm welcome also to our new children, and their whanau, who joined us towards the end of last term - Julia, Amani, Beau, Sailor, and Harriet. It is so lovely to have these children in the hub with us as well. They too have all settled in beautifully and our 'golden oldies' have been wonderful in making everyone feel very welcome.

It became apparent, and you will have read this in a recent Hero message from Sandy, that we have experienced a glitch in Hero which has meant that some of our communications have failed to reach you. We are therefore resending this Blog post, as it contains many gorgeous photos and lots of news about what the children were up to towards the end of last term.

Elizabeth and Nicola's home groups were lucky to be able to rebook their Junior Park Explorers outing to the ponds, after their initial trip was postponed. This visit took place in the second half of Term 2. Our educator, Pete, did a fabulous job of being both captivating and informative with our group. We learnt lots about our native birds, the role trees play in our ecosystem, and where bugs like to live.

Making our bird call to find our friends with the same bird call.
Yay, we've found our bird friends and linked 'wings'.
Searching for birds around the ponds with Pete.
We had to be really quiet on our bird search. When we spotted a bird we used this signal to point it out.
"I've found one."
Using magnifying glasses to search for bugs under the trees.
"Look, I've found a bug!"
We played a fun game where we learnt about what happens to birds and bugs when they lose their homes.
We enjoyed dressing up!
Each bird and bug had to go home to their tree each night.
Oh no!! This home, to many birds and bugs, is being cut down!

Some children have since returned to the ponds area to place some logs of wood on the ground in order to create some new bug habitats. We are looking forward to checking on them over the next weeks to see if any bugs have moved into the new homes.
Using a rake to scrap back the fauna to find an ideal place for the log.
Covering up the log.
"I wonder who will adopt this home?"
"This looks like a good place."
Using the leaf matter to cover the log up.
Using our bird signal to show he has spotted a bird.
"I've found one, too."

We are very lucky to have Whaea Cath joining us on Friday mornings. The children love her bringing her guitar in, and we have been singing some of our favourite waiata, and learning some new ones with her too. What a treat!
Singing the action song, 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' in Te Reo Māori.
Learning the Matariki song.
Singing the Baby Shark song in Te Reo Māori!!

One of our school-wide PB4L (Positive Behaviour for Learning) focuses has been 'cooperation'. We have been practising this skill in a variety of ways during our Learning Through Play time.
This group has been showing cooperation in building this 'guinea pig enclosure'.
Cute little guinea pigs!
We loved the cooperation the tamariki displayed when designing and building their enclosure! 

Each day, after our little play time we join in with an interoception activity. Simply put, interoception is the sense that allows us to answer the question, "How is my body feeling?" (for example, hot, cold, thirsty, hungry, full, tired) at any moment. This is a great opportunity to calm and reset as we prepare for the next learning block.
In this activity, we lay down, breathed in and scrunched our toes, then breathed out and relaxed our toes.
We then identified, by pointing to where we felt the 'stretch' in our bodies.

As our numbers continue to grow, Nicola's Home Group is using Kōmanawa first thing in the mornings and also throughout the afternoons. The children still unpack their bags and use the cubby holes outside Hangere. Their lunchboxes, drink bottles and literacy folders are still stored in Hangere. Each morning, after unpacking their bags, Nicola's Home Group children then go over to Kōmanawa to find an activity to start off their day. Teachers will be outside Hangere before 8:55 a.m., to help children, by continuing to remind them about this.

A couple of final reminders:

    We are aware that in the Koru team we have a student with an all-nut allergy. Therefore we are asking that if nuts/nut-based products aren't necessary for your child's lunchbox, please consider not including them.
      The team is also aware that some children have other dietary requirements and that their diet may need to be nut-based, so will need nut products to be included in their lunch box.
        The teachers will continue to remind the children that at school we eat our own food rather than share with others, along with reminders about handwashing and putting food wrappings in lunch boxes to take home. These reminders will also include asking children to wash their hands after eating nuts, in order to remove any potential residue. 

        Let's get involved in our Readathon over the next two weeks, and at the same time, support our school by gathering some sponsors. Have fun with this, everyone!

        We hope you are having/have had a lovely relaxing weekend together. Keep warm and dry, and we'll see all your little ones back at school tomorrow. 

        Ngā mihi mahana, and take care,

        Elizabeth, Nicola, Georgia, Stacey, and Jeanette