Matahui School is a small, rural independent primary school located on Matahui Rd (across the road from Country Engineering), in the beautiful and sunny Western Bay of Plenty. The school is situated 10 minutes south of Katikati and 20 minutes north of Tauranga.
Matahui School recognises that everyone has individual strengths and learns in different ways. Matahui actively promotes and uses a broad variety of learning styles in day-to-day curricular activities. This means that each student not only develops an understanding of their particular strengths, but also of how to get the most out of their learning. It builds their confidence to tackle diverse and challenging situations. Matahui’s unique formula for teaching delivers astounding academic results and develops highly confident young people.
Matahui School appreciates differences. Everyone is welcomed and included. Students explicitly focus on Matahui’s core values as an integral part of their daily learning. Discussions, artwork, song, role-playing and assembly performances all serve to reinforce our ethos. This results in a connected student community where older students act as accessible role models to help younger students develop a strong sense of “what is right and appropriate” and how to contribute in a positive way to the school community.
“At school, what I see is teachers developing skill to help students change how they feel . The amazing power of this is:
* these skills are continually being modelled, valued and reinforced – they are “normal” thinking, not something unusual.
* the kids get to practice and apply these skills in real-life settings
* the kids see their peer group using these skills, which is highly reinforcing, and it helps them understand how other people think and feel (social-emotional “literacy”)
* they realise that adults use these skills, and that these are skills that you continue to use and refine your whole life.” (Matahui parent)
Students at Matahui School are very diverse in their backgrounds, strengths and learning styles. Children of all ages need to interact and engage with one another, both within and outside of school. Our oldest and youngest students regularly collaborate through our strong and active buddy system that supports our values programme, whether it be by sharing learning engagements, joining in play, performing in the school production or during excursions into the Aongatete Forest park. This allows our students to progressively take on responsibility for themselves and others, helping them to develop confidence in dealing with people, both as peers and as leaders. This means that, no matter how they learn best, there is an opportunity for each child to shine.
Learning at Matahui takes place in many shapes and forms. Children are all different, hence it makes sense that children also learn in many different ways. At Matahui we understand this, and 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 applying a blanketed approach to teaching at Matahui School we focus on nurturing individual talents. A key founding theory “The Habits of Mind” developed by Dr Art Costa is inter-woven into our curriculum and supports our students to develop real world thinking and life skills. We don’t try to fit students into a box at Matahui!
Underpinning Theories – Multiple Intelligences and Habits of Mind
MI theory was developed by philosopher Howard Gardner in 1983. Gardner’s premise was that people have many “intelligences” and that intelligence should not be measured only by a predetermined set of test questions. At Matahui we apply that same theory to our teaching practice. This combined with using a varied range of assessment tools allows us to further nurture the student’s talents. Dr Art Costa’s Habits of Mind are also interwoven into our curriculum. Being able to demonstrate the disposition to behave intelligently by not only having knowledge but knowing how to act upon it, supports our students in developing real world thinking and life skills. At Matahui school we appreciate differences and individual brilliance.
Matahui has a positive, enthusiastic and engaged community. Parents are actively encouraged to participate in the life of the school through sharing skills, talents, expertise, and experience. Through a strong supportive relationship between home and school, we acknowledge and respect the significant connection between the child, the parent and teacher. The school is governed by a strong pro-active Board of Trustees who appreciate “giving back”. To see regular updates from the school community follow our FB page Click Here.
At Matahui our learning environment extends beyond the traditional classroom. We add depth and real-life experiences by using the natural environment and the wealth of learning opportunities available within our local area. The school-wide Matahui tradition of Boat Day is a perfect example of these rich learning experiences for children. Other examples are regular school camps and field trips; visits to local galleries, museums and performances; and educational workshops either at school or at local venues. See our class “windows” [link] for examples of the rich learning experiences each class has been focusing on during the term.
Our School grounds include sports fields, edible gardens, sand pits, hut building, outdoor music areas, nature areas and an archaeological dig site. Our environment provides a myriad of ways in which learning through play becomes an extension of the classroom and an integral element of how our students make sense of the world around them. Immersed in this inviting and diverse setting, our students, create, investigate, explore, innovate and communicate whilst having fun.