Matahui School Boat Day

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Matahui School students enjoyed a fantastic day at the Ōmokoroa Domain for the school’s annual Boat Day on Monday, 14th March.

The Boat Day was started in 1989 by former teacher Brian Miller to provide the students with a hands-on learning experience that fits with the school’s progressive education philosophy.

It’s now an annual tradition and has grown into a fun family day out for the students, teachers, and parents. School Principal Mary Woods says it is an opportunity for students to challenge themselves in a supportive and encouraging environment.

“At Matahui School, we believe it is important for children to test their boundaries and learn to take managed risks.”

The event saw children split into groups of mixed abilities and ages to participate in various activities, including kayaking, tubing, sailing (using an Optimist dinghy), and beach Olympics.

“Everyone had so much fun, and it was great to see all the students working together and helping each other. Our senior students act as leaders and

Boat Day enhances students learning by allowing them to try something different, work as a team, problem-solve, and
learn persistence.

Matahui School is a small independent primary school in the Western Bay of Plenty that caters for students in Years 1– 8.

Read the full article published on Lizard News April 2023 page 41.

Festival flower blooms

Matahui School creates a sustainable sunflower.

Read the full article on the front page of Katikati Advertiser, Thursday September 16 2021 below.

Bursting into spring is giant sunflower – not quite the plant species – but a creative one made of upcycled plastics and reuseable materials, that will be displaying during Katikati’s Festival of Arts in October.

Matathui School’s giant yellow sunflower is one of 111 large wooden sunflowers that have been distributed to preschools and schools in the area, to be decorated for the Festival of Art, hosted every two years by Katikati Open-Air Art.

Festival organiser Jacqui Knight says is was a real gift to see the sunflower from Matahui School, iwth all the Covid uncertainty about what events can and cannot be run at the upcoming festival.

“I think it is absolutely amazing, I don’t know here people get their ideas from, this one is fantastic!”

“I can not wait to see the others too.”

Designed to reflect the bright community spirit that surrounds Katikati, the Matahui School community has been working as a team – staff, students, parents and community members – on the giant sunflower. The students played an active role planning the project aimed at utilising reusable materials and upcycling plastics.

Principal Mary Woods says the focus on upcycling was thought to be the best use of plastic, as no further resources are required to process or recycle the plastic, it goes directly into another use – the ultimate in reducing consumption.

“It’s incredible the things that can be created out of a plastic bottle, can or glass container if you put your mind to it.”

The students reached out to the community for donations towards the sunflower which was painted before lockdown. They took their investigation of sunflowers a step further by examining them in great detail, up close, to find and develop the aesthetic and design.

During the lockdown “MrsB”, Kathryn Burtenshaw, teachers of the year 7 and 8 class worked on the project while communicating remotely with the students about here parts were glued on. Each piece was strategically placed to add character to the sunflower.

Students and families from Kauri Point village donated an array of plastic items, some from children’s toy boxes, and adults delved into their plastic recycling. Mrs B often found packages of plastic bits in her letterbox during alert level 4, a contactless delivery from community members.

“Every time the students see the flower they try to hunt down and identify where their donated piece is glued.”

“it’s almost like a Where’s Wally activity – one can spend hours looking at all the parts of the flower, so many different items have been collected and used.”

Mary says it has been a huge community project bring people together. “It represents more that just an art project. It shines a brightness on our community as we move forward into spring and summer.

“A time of colour, vibrancy, abundance, fresh food and good health.”

The sunflower will join others, soon to be on display at the Katikati library showcasing the talented work of our local children.

Chris Steel, Katikati Advertiser.

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 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

An Individual Approach to Education

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Here is an article we had published in the Hauraki Coromandel Post, explaining Matahui’s unique approach to the education of each individual student, you can read the full article below.

At Matahui School we understand learning takes many shapes and forms and all children are individuals and learn in different ways.  This is the reason why we have built a school ethos that acknowledges and values the different strengths of each student.  Instead of asking ‘Is this child smart’ we ask ”How is this child smart” Instead of fitting students into a box, we celebrate individual brilliance, we call these ‘super-powers’.  Dr Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple intelligences is embedded in everything we do to find students ‘smarts’ or ‘super-powers’.  Is your child word smart, logic smart, do they have strengths in math, music, drama or are they a natural scientist or palaeontologist? Are they fascinated with insects; do they care for  the environment? All of these are ways of being smart and we make connections with these intelligences and forest the in a safe nurturing environment where students can be themselves.

As we prepare our students for their futures, we teach them how to think and problem solve through our interdisciplinary approach.  Core subjects are integrated across different areas of learning to create relevant meaning for each individual student.  Students are able ton connect and gain understanding of concepts through engaging hands-on activities.  Our teachers at Matahui School guide students in their understanding key concepts while encouraging each student to think creatively, collaborate with their peers and teacher and be free to experiment and take risks.

Education outside the classroom, EOTC, is an important area where learning take place beyond the four walls of the classroom. Matahui School students are involved in a number of camps during the year where they are challenged to reach their physical and mental potential.  Another opportunity for EOTC is our Guardians of the Forest programme which allows students to have real-life experiences in a natural environment where they can play, learn and create; explore land and water and become guardians of our natural environment. Matahui School offer school tours every Wednesday during school terms, for anyone who would like to learn more about the programmes Matahui School offers students.

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: 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. 

A Journey through Kowhai Class Term 1 2019

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Self portraits by Charlotte
Can you see which one is happy, sad and excited?
Self portraits by Sammy, showing sad, angry and happy expressions.
We went to the Tauranga Art Gallery to see Emma Prill’s flower art. By Callaway
We made our own 3D flowers. Here is my crab flower. By Charlotte
The Chinese New Year celebrates the Nian dragon.
By Emma
Here are our stories about the Chinese dragon. By Anna
The Chinese dragon by Tyla
Here are our Chinese scrolls. We wrote our name in Chinese and our Chinese new year animal. By Emma
Chinese scroll by Luna
We had a great day on Boat Day at Omokoroa Beach.
By Isabella
We learnt about Impressionism in art and in our paintings we used little brush strokes to show light, dark and movement in the water. By Phoenix
We read the Maori legend ‘How Maui Caught the Sun’.
By Anna
We used the Koru design. By Luna
Can you see how the sun is feeling? By Isabella
How Maui Caught the Sun By Phoenix
We compared 2 legends – The legend of the Taniwha….
By Callaway
And…The legend of the Chinese Water Dragon. By Callaway
The legend of the Taniwha dragon. By Sammy
The legend of the Chinese Water Dragon. By Sammy
We wrote a bubble poem. By Tyla

Kowhai class would like to share some of their learning with you over Term 1 2019.

We have been learning to write persuasive texts.  They are trying to convince you which art form was the best way to express yourself.  Read their arguments and then you can decide!

My favourite art form is drawing. Drawing is the best because you can draw things that aren’t real.  You can use any colour. It looks like it’s real but it’s not.  You can use different types of pens. 
It is so fun. By Tyla

My favourite art form is painting. You can use little brush strokes to show light and dark and movement in the water.
You can paint whatever you want. I like painting. By Phoenix

My favourite art form is dancing.
You get to twirl and dance and jump.
Dancing is the best!
By Isabella

My favourite art form is painting. I like it because you can blend colours.  You can make different colours. You can make whatever you want.  You can take your art home and keep it forever. I love painting! By Anna

My favourite art form is drama. I love drama because you can act characters and I love making people laugh.  I love dressing up and I love being brave and calm in front of lots of people.
When I act, I can tell a story.
I love drama.  It is the best!
By Emma

My favourite art form is drawing.  We can draw things that are the best.  We make awesome pictures.
I feel creative!
By Luna

My favourite art form is music.
Music is the best because you get to listen to all different music.
Music is the best because you can play different kinds of music.
You can play ‘The Wind and the Sun’.  The wind is really loud.  The sun is really calm.  Butterfly Fly Away is very calm too.   What Does the Fox Say is very loud.
Music makes me feel happy.
By Callaway

My favourite art form is music.
You can dance to music.
You can play the piano and close your eyes.
By Sammy

My favourite art form is music.
The music is very nice because it is very beautiful to listen to music. 
I love to sing.
Music makes me feel safe and sound.
By Charlotte