Parents as Educators – Mindset is Everything

We recently published tips and tricks for parents to make online learning work for you and your family in the Katikati Advertisers newsletter. You can read the full article below.

Parents as Educators – Mindset Is Everything

Donna McDonald – Junior Room Teacher at Matahui School

Practical advice from educators at Matahui School as we reflect on home learning over the past 3-4 weeks.  

During lockdown many parents were feeling the pressure. Breadwinner, caregiver, chef/cook, cleaner, enforcer and all things in between.  Add teachers/educators to this list! That’s a lot of roles to play and it’s been even harder for working parents and business owners. The teachers at Matahui School have learned a few things over this and last the lockdowns and want to share a few practical tips parents can use to bolster their educating skillset. 

  1. Modelling a problem solving mindset.  We’ve all had to do a fair bit of problem solving lately. As parents or teachers, we can’t always be there to solve every problem for our children. In fact, this isn’t our job. Our job is to TEACH our children how to solve problems by themselves. This way, they can become confident, independent, and successful individuals.  When YOU encounter a challenge, do a “think-aloud” for the benefit of your child. MODEL how to apply the same problem-solving skills you’ve been working on together, giving the real-world examples that she can implement in her own life.  At the same time, show your child a willingness to make mistakes. Everyone encounters problems, and that’s okay. Sometimes the first solution you try won’t work, and that’s okay too!  When you model problem-solving, explain that there are some things which are out of our control. As we’re solving a problem at hand we should focus on the things we CAN actually control.  Naturally, these abilities go hand-in-hand with a growth mindset.

Matahui School has a proud tradition of instilling problem solving skills – our senior class recently won the EPro8 science and engineering competition where their problem solving where put to the test against other schools in the Bay of Plenty Region.

  1. The mind is powerful and your mindset shades the way you see the world 

We’ve all heard the saying “Whether you think you can or can’t – you’re right!”.   This is important to Mrs McDonald, junior Teacher at Matahui School.   “This term we’re focussing on building a “growth mindset” and using the power of the word “yet”.  “If your child says, ‘I can’t do this’, we add the word ‘I can’t do this yet’ to build self confidence”, says Mrs McDonald.  The word “yet” can change disparaging sentences into positive ones, promoting growth.  This linguistic trick works especially well with sentences that include “can’t” or “don’t,” because it reverses the negative connotation.

What’s happening in the Junior School at Matahui this term? 

This term’s inquiry project is all about “Light”.  Where does it come from? What is light? How do light sources work? What is energy?  Who would have guessed that 5-7-year-olds would be so interested in physics, astrology and electricity – budding scientists in the making who thirst for more knowledge – they really are developing a love of learning through their own inquiry.  

Next week we’ll cover the importance of play in learning and how you can encourage a love of learning in your children.
For more tips or to find out more about Matahui School – visit our website www.matahui.school.nz or visit our facebook page here

Ex-Matahui School Pupil claims Olympic Bronze

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Former Matahui School student Dylan Schmidt has won New Zealand’s first Olympic medal in trampoline gymnastics at the weekend – a bronze in Tokyo coming after a dramatic final in which several athletes struggled to finish their routines.

The 24 year old qualified third for the final behind Belarusian Uladzilsau Hancharou, the reigning Olympic champion, and his countryman 20 year old Ian Litvinovich and Schmidt was in the silver medal position until Litvinovich overtook leader Dong Dong from China and Schmidt for the gold medal.

Dong, 32, the gold medalist in London in 2012 and a veteran competing in his fourth and final Olympics, had looked a shoo-in for gold until Litvinovich, who qualified first and therefore jumped last, snatched it from him with a score of 61.715. Dong recorded 61.235 and Schmidt 0.675. – NZ Herald/Katikati Advertisers 5 August 2021.

Community rallies to keep School Open

5 August 2021, Katikati Advertiser, page 3

A dedicated group of parents and alumni have given Matahui School a lifeline by raising funds to allow the independent primary school to stay open, while a more permanent financial plan is put in place.

In term 2 Matahui School revealed it was struggling to maintain financial viability due to low enrollment numbers following the Covid-19 lockdown, and would have to close at the end of Term 3 unless financial assistance could be found urgently.

Members of a parent/alumni working group reached out to parents, grandparents and alumni and were successful in raising funds to cover the immediate shortfall.

The money raised will provide the students with stability till the end of term 4.

You can read the full article here

Lanterns Light Up Matahui School

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This is our latest article in Lizard News, you can read the full article below.

Matahui School students have been busy creating colourful Lanterns to enter a national competition as part of the annual Wellington Lantern Festival and is designed to inspire creativity and imagination in young people all over New Zealand.

The whole concept of painting on a transparent surface was a new experience for our students. We tested applying the paint using a PVA and paint mix, we looked at blending primary colours to create hues and secondary colours, we used different application techniques to create a textured look and thought about how the light will shine through. Students quickly discovered they were able to correct any blemishes and make changes as they went.

Seeing the final lanterns lit up in an ethereal, magical, school bush environment was a fantastic end to some well thought out lanterns. The Lanterns were difficult to take photos of and to do justice to, as they are absolutely stunning.

Our students at Matahui School would really appreciate people going on to: https://www.wellingtonlanternfestival.co.nz/national-competition and vote for their amazing lanterns. Voting opens 15th April and runs until 1st June 2021. Winners are announced shortly after voting closes, with the winners invited to the Wellington Lantern Festival in October. Up for grabs is a fabulous New Zealand travel package and $1000 voucher toward their school’s art fund, plus there are two runner up prizes.

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A Day in the Life of the Junior Class

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This is the latest article in the Lizard News, about our Junior Class at Matahui.  The full article is below.

By Donna McDonald, Matahui School Year 1-3 Teacher

We roll into our day with our learning through a play programme. I set up activities in the classroom that are designed to inspire the children to create, build and grow their imagination; inspired by the Montessori philosophy, wooden loose parts and natural materials are a big part of our programme. Our morning mat time includes music and song.

After morning tea, we practice reading, writing, poetry and spelling; we love learning through stories and poems. Term one has included a swimming programme where children build water confidence and learn the foundations of swimming and water safety. 

Math is one of our favourite parts of our day. We warm up with counting games that promote number knowledge and then split into groups where we do activities, applied knowledge worksheets and small group work with me. We love learning about coding and computational thinking too. 

Enquiry-based learning is at the centre of our curriculum. Enquiry-based learning is where I begin with an idea, and through discussion with the students I begin to understand what interests them about that topic. This term we are learning about our people and our community, with a focus on our school. This enquiry links into our forest school programme, Year 3 camp, and bush walks in our local community. We’ve been mapping our school, understanding its many purposes and uses, and then exploring ways we can make our school more sustainable. The children have chosen to build a sustainable water system to help collect rainwater to use in our garden and sandpit play.  

Another focus this term is learning about Photosynthesis: growing sunflowers from seed and experimenting with the conditions that plants need to grow. This term, our  families are donating native trees to help extend our forest block. Every child will plant their tree, care for it, and watch it grow over their time here at Matahui School. We will use the worm juice from our worm farm to fertilize our trees; and our learnings will help us understand how and what a tree needs to thrive and grow.   

An important part of our weekly programme includes nature and being among nature. We keep nature journals, learn about planting and weeding, cook our own food, and explore and discover our natural environment with our Guardians of the Forest programme. We explore and connect to nature in our Nature Everyday programme, link in science, and enjoy mindfulness under our favourite tree. The children love building huts and finding hideaways in our school nature block; and create rivers, cities, volcanoes and even villages in our sandpit.  

A big part of our education programme includes learning languages. We explore Māori and sign language through song, actions and movement. We also learn French and music with our specialised language and music teacher. Twice a term our junior students lead a community assembly which focuses on the Matahui School Value of the Week where we share our learning with the rest of the school community. This gives our students, even those as young as 5-years-old, the opportunity to practice public speaking: they are often very proud to showcase their learnings and artwork.  

Our hope is that when someone walks into our classroom it is warm, bright, calm, inviting, inspiring, exciting and a place to grow. We want to create a safe space where the children can learn about friendships, and develop socially, emotionally and academically. We are a family who love to share in our “aha moments” as we travel this learning journey together. 

Photo caption: Matahui School junior class master puzzles as part of their learning rotation. Puzzles improve our memory, problem solving skills and visual spatial awareness. 

Matahui Forest School Taster

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Matahui School would like to invite parents with preschool children aged 3, 4, 5 or 6 years to join us for a three-hour forest school taster held here at the school.

Our forest school taster will be held in the school’s native bush area fondly known as ‘The Huts’. Here the children can play, build, create and explore in a natural environment guided by an experienced level 3 forest school leader and qualified ECE teacher. 

As part of the taster programme the children will be encouraged to climb trees, explore the forest area, build huts, learn to weave or whittle, make forest trolls or fairies out of clay, create forest art, become archeologists for the day, and play, learn and create magic in a native bush environment.

We have the following dates available during term 4: 19 November and 3 December from 9.00am-12.00pm with a 30-minute break for morning tea (morning tea not provided). 

This forest school taster is aimed at preschool children aged 3 years or older, and parents are most welcome to join us too. The cost is $10 per child/per session. 

If you are interested in joining us for this unique experience, then please contact us on 07 552 0655 or email office@matahui.school.nz to confirm your child’s place. Your child can attend one session or both. Spaces are limited to 15 children, so get in quick.

Future scientists, engineers and mathmaticians

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The September 2020 edition of the Lizard News is out, featuring this article on Matahui School. 

So far, this term it has been a hive of activity at Matahui School, with a big focus on science, maths and engineering.

Our year 1 – 2 students followed a scientific method of inquiry when they grew their own Scobie and made Kombucha (fermented tea) last month. The students studied the Scobie’s growth, made predictions about the outcome, watched it grow, change colour and create carbon dioxide, used their senses to observe the changes (which included taste testing the Kombucha) before bottling and flavouring with homegrown fruits. The children finished off the experiment with a reflection on their predictions while they enjoyed a refreshing drink of kombucha. One child even commented: “Does this mean we are scientists now?’

Last month the EPro8 challenge was held at KatiKati College. Several students from our year 5 - 8 classes represented Matahui School at the engineering and problem-solving challenge. The EPro8 Challenge involves teams competing in practical problem-solving challenges, fun experiments, maths problems, and engineering challenges. The students had to work collaboratively, dividing up the tasks so that everyone was actively involved; and practiced teamwork, leadership, perseverance and cooperation. The year 7 – 8 class entered three teams and ended up going head-to-head in a final challenge for third place. Congratulations to all the Matahui students who competed in the challenge, but a big congratulations to Harry, Isabel, Macy and Matilda (aka the Matahui Machines) who took the third-place position and will now move onto the semi-finals. They made us proud!

The year 3 – 4 students practiced basic maths and science, built self-confidence and learned about healthy eating habits, when they prepared soup and homemade bread on a cold winter’s day as part of their learning last month. Cooking offers children the opportunity to learn about measurements and practice multiplication and division. It also provides children with a basic understanding of chemistry, such as learning about how yeast comes alive when you add honey and water and why we need hot temperatures to cook. The students chopped vegetables, diced onions and leeks and added fresh parsley and bay leaves harvested from the Matahui gardens. During lunch the soup and bread was shared with everyone at the school; a tasty treat for a cold winter’s day.

Matahui article in the Lizard News September 2020

Shakespeare doesn’t just write, he rocks.

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Matahui School students celebrated the life of British playwright William Shakespeare last week, in their biennial theatrical stage performance of the comedic musical Shakespeare Rocks!

Click here to read the full article.

N.B. They change the publication weekly, so make sure you click on the 13 August 2020 edition.

Principal awarded certificate of ‘courage’ for strong leadership through Covid-19 crisis

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Students of Matahui School awarded their Principal Mary Woods the value certificate of ‘courage’ for her leadership and handling of the Covid-19 crisis. 

Mrs. Woods and some of the Matahui School students

Each week the teachers at the school choose a student who has demonstrated one of the school’s core values and this student receives a certificate of acknowledgement at the Friday afternoon assembly. But when the Covid-19 crisis hit the students and parents decided it was their principal who deserved the acknowledgement for her courage and leadership.

Read the full article here>> Principal awarded certificate of courage