Monday, April 30, 2012

Art Unveiling

Friday morning: It was a great event - our first powhiri and we received an outstanding art work from the constortium (the group of contractors who built the school). The art work was unveiled by the artist, Jeff Thomson, who was assisted by our two youngest students - Arthur and Ha-Yeon as they unveiled the work. The piece of art, called "Meccano New Zealand", is made of screen printed iron, cut into meccano-shaped pieces, put through a machine, corrugated and then bolted together in the shape of New Zealand. Hundreds of screen prints show New Zealand's native flora and fauna. The screen prints were made from items collected from around New Zealand - some even picked up from the side of the road. It is a magnificent piece, stands about 5m high, and looks perfect on the wall in our entranceway. Please DO come in and check it out. The photos below do not do it justice.

A HUGE thanks to the building consortium for their very generous gift/taonga which we will love and enjoy for many years to come and which, as I said in my speech, will remind me that nothing whole and complete is ever achieved without people connecting with each other.

Thanks to the parents who came to support our children as they took part in (led) their first ever powhiri. Congratulations to: Mycke, Keira and Caitlin (with a "C")  who did the karanga; to Megan and Sam who took karakia for the manuhiri (visitors); to Rosa and Gabriel who recited their mihi; to Yoshiki and Ryan who led the haka; and finally to all the children who sang; and, the boys who bared their chests (well most of them) and did a rousing haka. Tino pai rawa, tamariki ma!

The speeches and then presentations by the students were really appreciated by the contractors as was the delicious morning tea cooked by students with some contributions by parents.

Check out this video of the art work with Jeff Thomson the artist and the photos below:

Thanks to all for a lovely morning.

If you have any photos/videos from the event you could share with us, we would appreciate them.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Library News

It is great to start the second term with over 1600 books, videos and magazines available for children to read and enjoy.  Many children took books home to read during the school holidays. All of those books are now due back at school so please encourage your child to return them and choose some more.

The library website also had a lot added to it recently.  There are a number of links to ebooks, online stories and audio books so children can enjoy reading via our virtual library.  Tumblebooks is a particularly good site for younger readers and all children have usernames and passwords to access books in Bug Club. 

We have joined Scholastic Book Club and brochures will be sent home by Monday 30 April so you can purchase books if you would like to. There are several different forms and your child will receive the brochure(s) that are most suitable for their age. Please make out cheques to Scholastic New Zealand or complete the Credit Card payment form.  The current book club orders close on Wednesday 16th of May.  Send completed order forms and payment to the library to be placed in the box for Scholastic Book Club orders. See Carolyn at the library if you have any questions. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Term 2 (and beyond): Important Dates

There are a number of important dates that we would like you to be aware of:

Friday, 27 April, 10am, Amesbury Hall: Unveiling of artwork being presented to the school by the building consortium. You are all invited to attend. The artist, Jeff Thomson, will be present to talk about the piece he has been commissioned to create for us. I am told it is about 5metres high and it is painted corrugated iron. I see this as our opportunity to say a BIG thank you to all the contractors who have put so much thought and effort into the development of our school.

We would like to put on a nice morning tea for the consortium of which there will be about 20 - 25 members present. If you are able to help provide a plate of something yummy, please let Gail at the office know.

Friday, May 4, Amesbury School Cross Country Championships and trials for Northern Zone Cross Country Championships

Thursday, 10 May, 9.30am, Amesbury Hall: Official School Opening. Hekia Parata, the Minister of Education will be officiate. The formalities will take 30 minutes, followed by morning tea and a tour of the school for the Minister with narration and performances by students.

Once the Minister leaves, after an hour, there will be official opening day photographs followed by a concert performed by students.

Saturday, 12 May, 2pm: Amesbury Hall Official Opening. Her Worship the Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown, will be officiating. This opening will recognise and celebrate this joint initiative between Wellington City Council, Ministry of Education and the Amesbury School Establishment Board of Trustees.

The ceremony will be 30 minutes followed by afternoon tea. PushPlay activities will be provided out in the playgrounds.

Monday/Tuesday 14th-15th May, Student/teacher/Parent conferences: These will be three way collaborations in which children will talk about their learning, achievement will be celebrated, learning needs will be identified and Individual Learning Plans will be confirmed.

Thursday 17 May, Northern Zone Cross Country Championships. We are planning to take a team of 10 students year 4 - 6. More information will be provided as soon as it is received.

Wednesday 6th June, 5.30 – 7pm, School Community Evening, Family fun – Banana or the Bag!
Homemade soup and buns.

Tuesday 12th June, PSW Interzone Cross Country.

Thursday 21 June: Northern Zone Hockey.

Tuesday 26 June: Regional Cross Country Championships.

Wednesday 12th September, 11.30am: ArtSplash! Festival Music Rehearsal. Year 4 - 6

Wednesday 12 September, 7.45pm: ArtSplash! Festival Music Rehearsal. Year 4 - 6

Friday, April 20, 2012

Term One Learning Celebration

Yet another first ever - our foundation "Learning Celebration".  It was very exciting to see the celebration led solely by students, who, I am told, wrote the narration and put their group presentations together. It was moving to look around and see proud parents, students and teachers. What a great occasion! One father leaned over to me and said to me, "You must be really proud." He was right - I am....hugely. Not that we don't have lots to improve - we do and , actually, always will because we are on a journey - but when I think of what we have achieved, where we are going, and the empowered, learning students we are enabling, I am delighted. My highlights of the celebration included:

1. Our bicultural heritage being so strongly celebrated. Every child who spoke introduced him/herself with a mihi. There was haka, waiata-a-ringa and karakia. I know this brought tears to the eyes of more than one parent and teacher.

I would like to honour this community - parents, teachers and students - for its willingness to acknowledge the importance of NZ's bicultural heritage. While some communities have struggled to do more than pay lipservice to tikanga Maori, this community has embraced it and I have no doubt that your children will be stronger, more highly accomplished New Zealanders and participants in the global world as a result. Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou.

Thanks to Crisanna, our amazing Te Reo and Kapahaka teacher.

2. Mandarin - I loved hearing the students authentic, tonal pronunciation of mandarin. They were awesome! I saw lots of smiles by parents too. Thanks to Hong Chen (Lulu), our wonderful mandarin teacher.

3. Junior students making their own choices about which piece of art work they wanted to show and showing it off so proudly.

4. The senior students' ownership of our school and their learning as they spoke of the school development inquiries they are currently involved in.

5. Students meeting with chef and other experts and sitting around board tables having discussions.

6. Children positively supporting other children's efforts

7. The whole community's delight in Corey's accomplishments on the Xylaphone

8. The wide range of accomplishments shown.

9. Parents sitting on bean chairs and all manner of other furniture.

 10. Harakeke's ten guitars (perhaps not quite 10!) I have a band of men and all.....

11. In general, our very colourful community and school. Loved the look of the orange furniture and green and orange uniforms in our hall. Classic!

What were your highlights? Please use the comment below to share your highlight.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First ever Amesbury School community evening

Not surprisingly, it has been a term of firsts. I guess this will continue for the rest of the year. Not only was this our first School Community evening, which we hope to hold every term, but it was our first event in the Amesbury Hall - the community hall which is a joint venture between the Ministry of Education, Wellington City Council and Amesbury School Board of Trustees.

It was exciting to have children and parents arrive on Wednesday 4th April at 5.30pm. The evening kicked off with a family activity - The Great Easter Egg Hunt. Holding tight to a piece of string (don't let go or you might be disqualified!) and watched in secret by our invisible Easter Bunnies, families followed a map to find the hidden treasure and take part in activities along the way. Everyone was rewarded with Easter Treats.

Family storytime in the library

That was the "family, fun and friendship" and then, of course, there was the "food" - "food" for the belly and "food" for thought.

For "food for thought", Tara and Angela gave great presentations to the parents while Urs and others supervised the children. Angela described the school's learning cycle which is being used with all students in their inquiries to make the learning process explicit which, over time, will empower students to become self-directed, life-long learners.

Tara explored the school's online environment to show parents the wide range of information they are able to access. Both presentations made me very proud of the teachers and their ability to articulate the vision of Amesbury School, as well as proud of what we have achieved in just one term of operation.

A BIG thanks to all those who turned out to our first School Community evening.

Coming up: Our next School Community evening: 5.30pm, 6 June 2012 with Amesbury School's version of "BANANA OR THE BAG"!
                                                                                                        Robiony-Rogers writing rhymes

      Van Rij family Singing in the shower - "Happy Birthday to you"
    The Law family's tuneful rendition of Old MacDonald

                   Plenty of laughter and enjoyment

Shooting hoops


AS Students @ Football Tournaments

A group of 11 year 4 - 6 students were the first to represent Amesbury School at a sports' event. In fact, they participated in both the Northern Zone Schools' Football competition and the Primary Schools' Wellington Football Tournament.

Though they were a new team and many of the participants were not regular Football players, the team represented our school in fine style.

Lunctime at the soccer

"Mother's Coffee Club" waiting to depart
                                                            On the field battling hard

Harakeke Blog: Here is a link to a student's BLOG posting about the PSW Football Tournament:

"Thank yous" and appreciation: I was very impressed with the way students committed themselves to practicing at lunchtimes and their enthusiasm on the day. A big thanks to John Murrihy who coached the team and took a number of lunchtime practices. Also thanks to Zara and Serena Murrihy who reffed on behalf of our team as well as helping out at practices. Thanks, of course, to the parents and teachers who provided supervision, transport, supported from the sideline and shared food. Oh and thanks to North Wellington Football Club for lending us uniforms.

Sporting events coming up this term: Netball; Northern Zone, PSW Interzone and Regional Cross Country; Hockey - we hope there is interest and support.

PS. If you are interested in/able to help us get a team into the Hockey tournament - please let us know. The Northern Zone Hockey Tournament is 21 June.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Parent survey - a reminder

Kia ora koutou

After a bit of a break, I am back on board and looking forward to catching up on a few things before school starts as well as doing some big picture planning.

Over this week I will put up postings to catch up on our end of term activities and then I will begin to focus on term 2 - which is a BIG one!

However, in the meantime, I just want to remind people who have not already done so, to fill out the parent survey. I will collate this information early next term as well as information collected from Harakeke students, and report to the Board of Trustees and the school community on the "state of play" of Amesbury School. We will use this to celebrate some things we have done well and to set some goals for what we can improve in the future. We are committed to continually improving what we do.

Please follow this link and provide us with feedback: