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

Resene Wall Worthy Mural Competition WINNERS!

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We are thrilled to inform the school community that our wall worthy entry has
come out on top as one of the top 10 winners! Judges and the public were very
impressed with our entry. Thank you to all those who voted.

The Matahui School Resent Wall Worthy Mural

The mural represents Matahui as a community who wish to demonstrate an
awareness of the environmental impact our choices are having on the world
around us.

We have chosen a map that shows the positive impact we aim to achieve as a
school to help improve it.

Within our mural we have chosen animals and insects that are significant to
the environment we live in. The Bittern bird, our schools’ native bird, is
featured within our mural design.

Our aim is to have the mural completed by week 4 of term 4.

Read the full article here: Matahui School wins national mural competition

New principal brings strong skills to Matahui

Katikati Advertiser
24 Jan 2019

 

New principal Mary Woods with husband Jim, daughters Patricia and Catherine and three grandchildren.

Matahui School welcomes Mary Woods as its new principal in 2019 after a community farewell to principal Max Muller in December.

Mary brings a strong skillset and vast experience to the school in science, Future Problem Solving, IT and mindfulness. Her substantial knowledge of student diversity, curriculum experience and inquiry is expected to add value to a successful learning environment for children ranging from Years 1 to 8.

Mary is married to Jim and they have two daughters — Patricia and Catherine, and three grandchildren — Phoebe, Arley and Zoe. Mary and Jim have recently moved from Tauranga to Pahoia and are looking forward to settling into the community.

Students at Matahui have a diverse range of backgrounds, strengths and learning styles. The school’s philosophy of providing a solid learning environment that allows all children to foster creativity, critical thinking and leadership, is what initially drew Mary to the school.

Children at Matahui are encouraged and supported to collaborate with each other during a range of activities during class time, while enjoying ‘education outside of the classroom’.

Education outside of the classroom is one of the driving characters of the school where students work collaboratively while being challenged to reach their personal potential. Learning through play classes enjoy frequent camps and field trips, and involvement in various community activities and the school has a native bush area, fondly known as ‘The Huts’.

School starts at Matahui on Tuesday, January 29.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDENT VOICE

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At Matahui School we regard our relationship with parents and caregivers as a partnership. Communicating with them is important, hence the conversations we have with them and the report we write about the progress their children are making as learners are significant, but the most powerful form of reporting we undertake at the school is our end of year Student-Led Conferences.

The Student-Led Conference is a formal method of reporting where the students have the opportunity to discuss, present and demonstrate their understanding of what they have learned throughout the year, sharing the progress they have made with their family.

“Enabling” students so that we give them ownership and a genuine sense of responsibility for their learning so that they can discuss their work, reflect on and review their goals, and share their progress with their parents/caregivers is highly effective in giving the students a “voice.”

The student’s role becomes one of a leader/facilitator and throughout all stages of a Student-Led Conference, preparation, implementation and evaluation, the student is the key person.

Through involving and engaging parents/caregivers directly in how the students at Matahui School approach learning for understanding, the Student-Led Conference becomes an ideal opportunity to celebrate a child’s achievements as they present their learning portfolios.

The portfolios (which look different at each Year level), produced by the students, provide them with an opportunity to; identify strengths and learning challenges; demonstrate skills; discuss key and significant ideas and concepts; develop tasks for adults to undertake during the conference; collect evidence over time to illustrate progress during their learning journey; demonstrate self-reflection/self-assessment; verbalise why they have chosen to showcase specific pieces in their collection; and where appropriate, demonstrate what they have learned.

Our parents and caregivers truly become partners in learning when the students lead a conference. When students have a meaningful audience in addition to the classroom teacher, their learning takes on increased importance and relevance.

Listening to the child’s voice as they retrace their educational journey becomes much more meaningful and memorable than the words drafted in a written report. For us at Matahui School these conferences are the highlight of the academic year.