Kōwhai News Term 1 Week 11

Kia ora koutou,

What an amazing term we have had! The Kōwhai team are extremely proud of the hard work and effort that each of our students have put into their learning, as well as the awesome things they have achieved!

For the holidays....some simple spelling word practise 

Heart words are frequent words that we read or write. These are not words we can 'sound out' (e.g., c-a-t = cat) or use known spelling patterns for, but they are ones we learn by memory.

Click here to view our Heart Word list. Feel free to practise reading and writing these at home. You could read the words, make flash cards or ask your child to spell aloud or write them. We focus on stages 1-4 until the children are really confident and fluent with these. After that, they can also work on the stage 4+ words.

Science - Forensic Unit

All of Kōwhai have had a blast with our Science unit this term. Our focus has been forensics and the students participated in a 'Who did it?' type of scenario as they worked their way through a series of lessons about different aspects of forensic science.

One of the staff members had been brainwashed by a corporation called "Evil" and it was the students' responsibility to figure out who this staff member was and to save them before it was too late. The students received secret video messages and had to find hidden packages in different locations around the school and used these to test chemicals, explore footprints, learn about fingerprints, understand the properties of different fibres and materials, and crack codes. It was so much fun.

For those who missed out on our final lessons..... Reihana was the staff member who was brainwashed and we were successful in saving her!

Making a Difference

During the past few weeks, some of our students have been working hard to make a difference 'Nā mātou he rerekē te ao' by picking up rubbish around our school. When we make sure that rubbish ends up in the bin and we collect rubbish that we see floating around, we are not only ensuring that we have a clean and tidy school, we are protecting our environment. 

Kapa Haka and Te Reo Māori

Next term, we will be commencing our 'opt-in' Kapa Haka sessions. The students who were interested in participating in Kapa Haka have expressed their interest this week and signed up. All students will be part of te reo lessons and those who have chosen not to be part of Kapa Haka will do extra te reo Māori during this time. 

Feel free to chat to your child's homegroup teacher if you would like more information about this.


A reminder to all our whānau that the homegroup teachers are always happy to be contacted throughout the year if there is anything you would like to share or discuss about your child. The home/school relationship is important and communication plays a large part in this. So please see your child's homegroup teacher in the first instance.

Notice, Think, Wonder - Have you got your maths eyes?

As a warm-up to some of our maths lessons, students are looking at every day images and discussing what they notice, think and wonder about the picture. They are then coming up with different mathematical ideas that are evident in the picture or ideas that they would love to explore further. 

Above are two photos that some groups have looked at.

Holiday challenge - if you are keen, take a picture (or multiple pictures) of some maths that you have seen in your day-to-day activities and ask yourself 'What do you notice? Think? Wonder? Where is the maths?'

Feel free to send your photos to krystal.hunt@beckenham.school.nz with the subject line 'Notice, Think, Wonder.' Krystal would love to see what you have come up with!

Have a great holiday! From team Kōwhai

Kōwhai News Term 1 Week 7

Kia ora whānau,

Here is an update on what we have been doing over the past 2 weeks.

Reading/Library Folders

We would just like to remind you that in order to take reading books and library books home, your child will need to have a reading folder OR a library folder. This does mean that your child will need to keep their folder in their bag so they are able to take reading books home during the week, if needed.

Our library days are as follows:

Monday = Nick and Rowe's literacy groups

Tuesday = Anna M and Anna R's lteracy groups

Wednesday = Krystal's literacy group

Construction Boxes

We are needing more construction boxes for Discovery. The children just love making things, from houses to instruments and many other imaginative things besides. If you have any tissue boxes, cereal boxes, shoe boxes or any other cartons, please bring them to school as we would love to use them!

PB4L Focus

This week we are focusing on tidying and friendship.

For tidying, we are focusing on the following good tips:
- tidy as you go
- finish the job
- cooperate
- everything has its place, e.g., sandpit toys, sports equipment
- take care of our outside environment by, e.g., picking up rubbish

For friendship, we have been looking at what friendship means to us and how we can be a good friend.

Toys At School

An increasing number of children have been bringing toys to school this term. We would just like to emphasise that toys are NOT allowed at school. We would really appreciate it if you could be vigilant so that there aren't any toys going to school in your child's bag. They are a huge distraction and we also don't want them to get lost. Thank you so much for your support with this.

Parent Playground Helpers

Last year, we had a wonderful group of parents and caregivers who came along to school during lunch play to support our tamariki in the junior playground. We will be restarting this again from the beginning of Term 2. The benefits of being on the parent playground roster include being involved in the school day, and getting to know other parents and your child's friends. Please email Katie if you would like to offer your help for Term 2. katie.mcfarlane@beckenham.school.nz

Victoria Park

This week we had some amazing trips to Victoria Park where we learnt lots about the native plants and animals that can be found on the Banks Peninsula and how things have changed over the years with pests being introduced and settlers arriving. We experienced a bush walk, looking out for the native plants and animals that we could see and we learned about pests and how we can track them by identifying their tracks and poo which we found out is called 'scat'. We also looked at the different traps that are used to get rid of pests. It was a very informative experience whilst also being lots of fun! A huge thank you to all the parents who came along to help. We couldn't have done this without out you. Have a look at the photos below:

Kōwhai News Term 1 Week 5

Kia ora whānau,

Welcome to our Week 5 blog! Here is some information on what's been happening over the last two weeks and what is coming up. 

Native Nurturing Learning Trips to Victoria Park

We are very excited about our trips to Victoria Park on the 13th and 14th March. Children will definitely need their hats, water bottles, jumpers and lunch box. 


Weds morning: Anna M's group      Weds afternoon: Anna R's group
Thurs morning: Nick's group           Thurs afternoon: Rowe's group
Krystal's group will go in smaller groups with one of the groups above.

We will:

  • Explore the different habitats that exist in Banks Peninsula and identify why they are valuable.
  • Explain how plants and animals that live in native forest and tussock lands are interdependent.
  • Explain how pests impact our native forests and explore some solutions to these problems.
  • Identify actions that they can take to encourage sustained growth of native animal and tree species.

Learn more about New Zealand nature with this booklet from DOC, designed for caregivers and their children.


We're so impressed with how quickly students are getting to their maths class and embracing all our different types of learning. All groups are working on place value, number knowledge and basic facts. Each week, students complete exercise and application tasks, open-ended and unfamiliar problem-solving tasks, games and teacher focus groups. The akōnga especially love our introductory 'Rapid Routines'. These are fun maths thinking tasks, such as Which One Doesn't Belong.

Science: Gathering Data by Listening 

During the afternoons, we're enjoying tasks from other curriculum areas, such as social sciences, sport and P.E., science and interpersonal learning. Some classes loved an activity which involved listening to and testing sounds in science recently!


Enjoy looking at our recent Discovery pictures!

Top Team

Today Top Team came to Beckenham and the Kōwhai children had a great time trying lots of different team-building activities out on the park. They worked in teams of 6-8, competing against other teams as they rotated around a variety of tasks. They showed amazing co-operative skills and really embraced the school value 'We Get There Together'. It really was wonderful to see and we are so grateful that the weather turned out so well for us. Have a look at the photos below:

Have a great weekend!

From the Kōwhai team

Kōwhai News Term 1 Week 3

Kia ora whānau,

It has a been a busy week in the Kōwhai team!

Top Team

We have organised another Top Team event for our Kōwhai children this year which is very exciting! Weather permitting, the event will take place on Friday 1st March in the afternoon and the children will be taking part in all sorts of fun activities. Just a heads up that there will be some water activities involved so please make sure your child has a change of clothes (including shoes) in their bag and a towel to dry off after the event. Thank you for your support with this. 

We also require 11 parent helpers for this event to ensure it runs successfully. You would need to arrive at school before the Top Team briefing at 1:10pm and the event will finish around 2:55pm. It will involve running an activity station, explaining the activity to the children and generally overseeing it. If you are keen to help, please let your child's homegroup teacher know and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Literacy and Maths

Next week, we will be starting our literacy and maths interchange programmes. We have organised the children into new literacy and maths classes. The children will go to their literacy teacher for literacy lessons and their maths teacher for maths lessons every day. They will still be with their homegroup teacher at the start of the day and after lunch.

As part of their literacy programme, the children will generally take one or two books home each week. Students working in Stage 1 - Stage 7.5 of the structured literacy programme will take home at least one structured literacy book (e.g., a Pip and Tim book) home each week to read to you. Students who are working beyond Stage 7.5 are expected to independently read chapter books (or similarly advanced books) of their own choice at home. Each literacy class visits the school library every week to issue new books.

For more detailed information about our home learning literacy activities, please click here.

Minecraft 3D Printing

Some of the children have recently been learning about using Minecraft for 3D printing. They have designed and constructed a model of a character, toy or scene in Minecraft and are now in the process of 3D printing their creations. As a final step, the children will paint their printed models.

Designing a character in Minecraft

Preparing the character for 3D printing

The 3D printer is printing the character

We have also been creating Minecraft self-portraits using grid paper which has been a lot of fun!


During Discovery, some of our students have discovered a passion for skipping. Here's a video that shows some really cool tricks that people can do when they are skipping. Whilst our skill level isn't quite at this stage yet - we are aiming high! 'Just keep skipping!'


Here are some photos of the children's learning during discovery:

Kōwhai News Term 1 Week 1

Kia ora whānau,

Welcome to 2024! We are so excited to be back and we are very much looking forward to getting to know all your tamariki over the next few weeks. 

In the first two weeks, we are focusing on getting to know each other and establishing routines. We will mostly be based in our homegroups initially but we will also be mingling as a team during Discovery every morning.

Below are some photos of some of the activities we have been doing over the first two days: Everyone has been having lots of fun as they reunite with friends and get to know new ones.