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.