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Updates from Jude

Also see the Positive Education page - one of Jude's passions!

13 April 2018

posted 12 Apr 2018, 18:02 by Carolyn Brett

This term has seen more longer weekends and longer sunnier warmer days than many before! This has allowed the Inquiry around the Guardians of the Forest to take full advantage of the beautiful natural environment and remove the confines of the classroom walls for learning. When we look at our Strategic Goal of 'connecting learners', it's not just the children we are talking about here - it's also the 'bigger' people - us - the staff and parents. Teachers have been engaged in full on Professional Learning since the Teacher Only Days before the children came back this year. The main focus has been the teaching of writing (as we really aim to make shifts this year). Formative assessment practices (that's the ongoing minute by minute, day by day judgments that inform planning) and ongoing learning around Positive Education.

If it's what teachers do minute by minute that has a significant impact on achievement and schools base their existence on achievement, in the widest sense, then it's essential that we place a good deal of energy, time and resources into teacher practice. Much of our learning has involved a heavy research base, observation, coaching,  presenting, inquiring,...... roll on 3.15pm the 'other side' of being a teacher starts. Some of our teachers have benefitted from attending Conferences outside of our fair city, from connecting with other schools either online or face to face, having colleagues visit........ it's dynamic, the expectations are big, only those who are committed and passionate about what they do have the drive to keep on learning like our teachers do.

It's also our parents and wider whānau, who are in this connecting learners goal - there is no escape! We have plenty of  learning opportunities in these Newsletters, Parent Connection Points, Seesaw, Blogs, Parent Workshops, Meet the Board sessions, Goal Setting and Reporting sessions, Student Led Conferences, Rising 5s..... ParentNet Catch Ups..... Assemblies, Volunteering on trips or in the classroom, Pōwhiri... a wide variety of ways to suit different needs and work commitments. You can even learn plenty helping out with sossies or pizzas!

Next term, look out for at least one Positive Education Whānau Day, Matariki Celebrations, Progress Meetings........ as we build up to a legendary Arts Celebration in Term 3 this year. In the meantime, in appreciation of all of your support and care this term, and we look forward to keeping our connecting learners goal healthy, well rested and fed in Term 2.

6 April 2018

posted 5 Apr 2018, 19:32 by Carolyn Brett

In 2017, our children came to school from 27 different early childhood learning centres or home care arrangements. That's some number when we think about the range of experiences our children arrive with. Some have been in more free play environments, others very structured, others with experiences facilitated by parents, in home nannies, a little bit of everything....... the combinations are endless. 

Resourcing the Rising 5s, the Transition to School programme has been strongly supported by the Board and gone from strength to strength over many years. When we add up and see the number 27, it reinforces the need for this programme more than ever. The opportunity for parents to get to know more about the learning priorities and expectations of our school is promoted by holding 'Parent Connection Points' at Rising 5s as well, a chance for some Q and A without the children, a rare moment!

Autahi, our New Entrant space, is on a slightly different reporting cycle than the rest of the school. You will get plenty of information from the teachers about this. Gillian Cowie will be joined by a second teacher, Carl Pynenburg, from Term 2. Carl has already been working extensively across the school and will be a familiar face to many already. Nau mai, Haere mai, Carl!

For parents in Tautoru and Māhutonga/Matariki, you can expect Progress Meetings next term around Week 7. Look out for exact timings in the Newsletter as you will need to book online. These written and verbal reporting sessions with your child's base group teacher are without the children. Behind the scenes there will have been a hive of activity as sometimes a number of different teachers are involved in the writing of one report, so plenty of rich chat happens along the way. This is the beauty of an environment like ours - teachers will see and hear things differently. Working collaboratively they form a 'whole' view and test each other's thinking. 

The first part of the written report, the top box, holds the gold. This is where teachers will be specifically discussing the learner attributes, character strengths and competencies. This is where you should be able to feel more of the 'essence' of your child. Progress against the curriculum expectations in Reading, Writing and Maths to date will also be shared. 

A huge thanks to our camp teachers and parents. A very smooth operation and a great opportunity for children to give things a go and overcome challenges. The outdoors certainly is a terrific context for building resilience and pushing through...... It's not a new message, but you may be interested in this recent article about Early Childhood Educators and Researchers discussing this.

29 March 2018

posted 27 Mar 2018, 19:01 by Carolyn Brett

Last week I was asked to visit a base group at a particular time..... I knew something was up!

As well as a very large group hug, I was presented with a book of thanks to the staff. Each child had contributed a page as a 'random act of kindness'. Here's a snippet from the crew:

".....arranging fun and happy things....."
"I realise you use all your effort teaching us in an interesting way..."
"We will support you...... you have made us full of fun and joy..."
"Thank you for giving people rewards for being themselves"
"Thank you for all the plasters and advice"
"....for being a  good person..."
"...everyone being so friendly and kind to the environment and other people"
"....we know it's hard work...."

We so appreciated the effort and also the thoughtfulness. There is depth and understanding of what we aim for. 

Additionally, we received an email from a parent this week whose whānau are leaving Wellington ....

... we are going to miss Worser Bay School terribly. We enjoyed an incredible connection with the school community and will never forget the wonderful opportunities the children have had to grow, develop, learn and thrive under your care. 

What an amazing journey it has been .....- I really believe the kids have developed a great love of learning  ........seriously positive learning mojo.... healthy dose of Worser Bay style ako....!

So for us, as a staff...... it's one of those magical moments when we see all the 'stuff' behind the scenes celebrated like this.

You have to be real, it's not all rainbows and glitter - now that's where the word resilience comes in, I'll leave that for another time!

23 March 2018

posted 22 Mar 2018, 14:28 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 22 Mar 2018, 14:29 ]

If you were in Assembly last week, you would have heard me read a comment from one of our seniors straight after a standardised Maths assessment. They said "Today I used a growth mindset in the PAT Maths test. When I came to a hard question I persevered and found my way around feeling negative and did my best. I also found understanding a few questions hard and I tried my best to understand."

I often wonder what it would have been like to go to school at a time when mistakes are welcomed, where understanding how connections are made in the brain, where 'if you can't learn to fail, you fail to learn' is celebrated. As I was deemed a good reader, when I wasn't working independently in a workbook (never marked),  I spent every reading session with another child reading on our own in the library! In my head it was for the entire Standard 4 (Year 6) but maybe I'm exaggerating. There appeared to be no expectation that I could go further or deeper in my learning. Out of sight....... out of mind!

Education has changed in so many ways within a world that has changed in so many ways. It needs to remain relevant and future orientated, while maintaining a strong human element. I often talk of the head and the heart... it's not an either or.

In author Paul Tough's book, "How Children Succeed: Confidence, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character", he talks about the growing evidence that inner resources count more....... .than anything else. I have a copy if anyone wants to borrow it. 

Character strengths are actively taught in classroom programmes, highlighted and drawn upon. As a staff, we acknowledge and call on each others' character strengths daily. You will see them clearly identified in our Positive Education model in last week's Newsletter piece. One of the commonly used free tools for adults is the VIA (Values in Action) Survey. This has been widely researched and used across all cultures. I know that some parents have also been interested in undertaking this survey.

There are many, many strengths - these 24 serve as a great start. My top 5 being humour, leadership, creativity, social intelligence and love....... I deliberately engage these daily - especially in times when I need greatest resilience.

I wonder what growing up may have been like if I understood myself at a deeper level earlier, instead of spending a year alone in a library?! (Well, according to my memory!)

16 March 2018

posted 15 Mar 2018, 15:02 by Carolyn Brett

A few years ago, I completed  a Certification in Positive Psychology. It was fortuitous that this was available, possibly for the only time in Australasia, through the Wholebeing Institute which is US based.

The Residentials were based at Geelong Grammar School (aka GGS), south of Melbourne. It was here that I learned about what you get when you actively teach the science of wellbeing, what's commonly known as 'Positive Education'. Positive Education or affectionately known as 'Pos Ed' has been a key focus for us at WBS since this time. Many of you attended the Wellbeing Parent Workshop last year and were introduced to the GGS model, which we have also adopted.

Pos Ed has been a feature of GGS for 10 years now. To celebrate this anniversary, they have come up with a list of key discoveries they have made over the 10 years:
  1. Positive Education is more of a philosophy than a program. It is a way of living, a way of teaching, a way of dealing with mistakes, a way of nurturing a sense of belonging and a sense of community.
  2. Positive Education is an evidence-based, strengths-based, proactive, whole-school approach to nurturing individual and community wellbeing. It is the combination of these four elements which makes Positive Education innovative.
  3. Staff wellbeing is a vital ingredient to the success of Positive Education.
  4. Positive Education is helping us to educate the whole child.
  5. Whilst we believe flourishing is a combination of ‘feeling good and doing good’, we also believe it is helpful for us to think of flourishing more from a caring orientation, rather than a feeling orientation. Our goal isn’t to feel good, our goal is to do good – to care for others, to care for causes and to care for one self.
  6. Positive Education is sowing seeds for life. Some of these seeds will germinate straight away and some seeds may lie dormant for a period of time before germinating, and some seeds may never germinate. Our goal is to sow seeds generously.
  7. Borrowing a tagline from IPEN, Positive Education is not preparing students for a life of tests, but instead is preparing students for the tests of life.   
  8. Positive Education is an ongoing journey requiring the hearts, hands and minds of one’s school community. Remember to enjoy the journey.
  9. Doing Positive Education well is really hard …. and really fun! Whilst the importance of our work is vital, we can and should ensure our work around wellbeing is playful and engaging.
  10. The four cyclical and related processes of Learn, Live, Teach and Embed are critical to the success of implementing Positive Education.
  11. It is important to remember that wellbeing is both taught and caught. It is critical for us to role-model behaviours in line with wellbeing and to consider the impact our school environment is having in helping or hindering the key elements of Positive Education.
  12. Positive Education is the science of education at its best.  
This year we are very much focussed on the Positive Relationships piece, along with growth mindset, character strengths and looking more deeply into neuroscience and the brain. 

The Wellbeing team of teachers are working towards at least 2 Pos Ed days this year, which we would love you to be part of. We will ensure we get the word out in good time. Last year we had the very impressive 'Grow your Mind Day' and 'Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence Day'.

Some of you will know of the work of Professor Martin Seligman. You may have come across the book 'Flourish' or 'The Optimistic Child' amongst many of books he has authored. Martin Seligman, along  with a team from  University of Pennsylvania , have trained and worked alongside GGS in this work. WBS can benefit through their altruistic pursuits!

To hear more about this field, please find a short TED TALK by Martin Seligman.

What could we do if were 10% more deliberately using our strengths each day?

9 March 2018

posted 8 Mar 2018, 17:48 by Carolyn Brett

As you will have no doubt heard, the end of National Standards was announced at the end of last year. A year before National Standards came into being, the New Zealand Curriculum expectations were developed. Enter National Standards and this piece really got put aside.

Now we have a fantastic opportunity to highlight those curriculum expectations and more. Our reporting systems, sharing both progress and achievement will continue. You will still meet with teachers four times this year. Your children will be central to both the Goal Setting Meetings and the Group Student Led Conferences (Terms 1 and 3) and you will be meeting with teachers, without your child, in Terms 2 and 4 to receive both verbal and written reports. 

Whilst the Ministry of Education team is busy behind the scenes undertaking consultation as to what reporting across learning areas could look like in the future, we want to be talking with you as to what's important to you in terms of reporting on progress. What do you really, really want to know? What's important for our children to know?

The Assessment section in the New Zealand Curriculum document speaks loudly:

"Assessment for the purpose of improving student learning is best understood as an ongoing process that arises out of the interaction between teaching and learning. It involves the focused and timely gathering, analysis, interpretation, and use of information that can provide evidence of student progress."

The Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, is aiming for transparency and therefore all of the Cabinet Papers can be located on the Ministry of Education website. This paper outlines the removal of National Standards, if you are interested.

Some of you may have heard the interview with Sir Ken Robinson on RNZ last Sunday morning. I recommend a listen.

Sir Ken picks up on some points about the difference between having high standards (which, of course, we want!) and National Standards. He also discusses the 'bleaching out' of education and how this militates against the personalisation most required for these times and our children's  future. 

It's no secret, I'm a fan and I'm keen to read his new book coming out soon - for parents: "You, Your Child, and School"From The New York Times bestselling author of The Element and Creative Schools comes an essential book for parents to help their children get the education they need to live fulfilling, productive lives.

Let me know if you are interested and read it, as if a few people are keen, we could get together after we have digested it for a bit of a debrief and chat big ideas. 

2 March 2018

posted 1 Mar 2018, 17:42 by Carolyn Brett

Approximately 5 years ago, we developed a 10 year vision for  Māori at WBS. Actually, we have managed to almost get there in half the time! 

Some of the key achievements to date:
  • Highlighting Whetūkairangi as a significant pa site
  • Magnified the lens on our local environment as a context for learning, i.e. kaitiaki of te ngahere - guardians of the forest
  • Focussed staff professional learning programme and practice 
  • Provision of a variety of  authentic experiences and school 'rituals', i.e. Powhiri, (Welcome) Poroporoaki (farewell), Matariki, Celebrations, etc.
  • Development of our own WBS karakia and haka
  • Integration of Te Reo me nga tikanga across learning areas and inquiry learning
  • Integration of the Tātaiako cultural competencies into teaching, planning and practice (see below).
Wänanga: participating with learners and communities in robust dialogue for the benefit of Mäori learners’ achievement. 
Whanaungatanga: actively engaging in respectful working relationships with Mäori learners, parents and whänau, hapü, iwi and the Mäori community. 
Manaakitanga: showing integrity, sincerity and respect towards Mäori beliefs, language and culture. 
Tangata Whenuatanga: affirming Mäori learners as Mäori. Providing contexts for learning where the language, identity and culture of Mäori learners and their whänau is affirmed. 
Ako: taking responsibility for their own learning and that of Mäori learners. 

One of our lofty goals is to have our Year 6 leavers graduating with conversational fluency in te reo. We are not there..... yet!

Continuing to build the language remains a focus for us. Many of you commented after the Powhiri how evident this is, year after year. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to give such positive feedback. It gives us a 'yes, we can do this!', the motivation to keep improving.

Some of you have asked me for my words at the Powhiri. Here they are, although I may have digressed on occasion:

Tēnā koutou katoa e hui tahi nei i tēnei rā.   
E ngā rangatira,  Ximena, Carl, Cloe, Therese me James.
Nau mai haere mai 
Ki tēnei tūranga hou kua riro nei i a kōutou 
Kei konei mātou hei tautoko , hei manaaki i a koe.
Nō reira, Nau mai, haere mai ki Te Kura o Whetukairangi 

We warmly welcome you with respect, care, open minds and open hearts:

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngahere. 
Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao. 
The bird that partakes of the miro berry reigns in the forest.
The bird that partakes of the power of knowledge has access to the world.

We hope that it’s not just our youngest people who will partake in the power of knowledge to access the world - that we will learn with you and from you and that our relationship is reciprocal.

All schools have unique features - this can be based on the physical space, the local environment, the desires of the community, the needs of the children, the networks and relationships, the skill, passion and energy of all of us. Although we work under our big NZ Curriculum Framework - Tomorrow’s Schools Policy, introduced in 1989, has meant we really have the opportunity, as a community, to create something pretty remarkable, and I know, as do many, that we most certainly have. 

However, we never finish, we never arrive. It's a bit like an unfinished symphony. Every child, family member, staff member who is welcomed into this school brings richness, brings texture. We will continue to develop and strengthen the school together. Two days ago, our Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced we were embarking on the biggest Educational Reform since 1989, Tomorrow's Schools. Whilst this is potentially exciting, I would certainly hope that schools don't lose the importance of community in any new policy direction. 

At the end of each year, all Year 6 graduates are farewelled from the community and an aspect of this ritual is the very much anticipated ‘Year 6 Speech’. Last year, a student arrived who had only been with us for a few months and had never been schooled in NZ. I would like to take some lines from her:
  • The children smiled and laughed and made me feel welcome
  • I was relieved there was no drama or conflict (in CAPITALS!)
  • I learned it doesn’t matter what your age is - you can play with anyone here.
This education of the whole child, actively teaching the skills of wellbeing is at the heart. To us, it’s a taonga, a treasure of this school. 

Encouraging a community to flourish is my personal mantra and I certainly hope you experience this in some way in your time here. 

He aroha whakatō, he aroha ka puta mai
If kindness is sown then kindness you shall receive.

No reira

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa

Ngā manaakitanga

Powhiri Speech from Andrew Wilson on behalf of the Board of Trustees:

Kia ora

Ko northfleet te waka
Ko maungatapu te māunga
Ko maitai te awa 
Ko whetūkairangi te marae
Ko Stephanie taku hoa wahine
Ko Hunter taku tama
Ko Ella raua, ko Greer aku tamahine
Whakatu toku turangawaewae
Te whanganui-a-tara toku kainga inaianei
Ko Andrew tōku ingoa 

No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa
Ki te atua - tēnā koe
Ki a papatuanuku – tēnā koe 
Ki te kura – tēnā koe 
Ki te hunga mate
Ki te hunga ora
Tēnā koutou katoa
Hello everybody 

Warm greetings to you all
To god/the spirit – greetings
To mother earth – greetings
To the school – greetings 
Farewell to those who came before us
Welcome to all those who are with us
Greetings to you all

As the Chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, it is a privilege and honour to welcome you and your whanau, to the school and community of te kura o whetūkairangi

Today is one of our most special events of the year as it one of the few very special occasions where we have our students, teaching and support team, and community all together in this very special place. 

While I take great delight in welcoming you all this morning, I would like to make special mention of Ximena and Carl who have joined our terrific teaching team this year, Cloe, as support staff last year, and I would also like to warmly welcome James and Therese and who are on student teacher placement with us. We are delighted to have all you in our waka and look forward to learning and laughing with you. 

As a kura we are very clearly focused on pursuing our vision of valuing the whole child; knowledge building and inquiry; and embracing collaborative learning. 

To achieve our vision we are committed to achieving our strategic goals of:
  • Educating for the future
  • Providing rich and powerful learning opportunities; and 
  • Connecting learners
As a kura we are committed to a single overarching core value, which sets the tone for the way we behave – which is manaakitanga – or respect – for ourselves each other, and our wonderful environment. And today is all about treating you, the newest members of community, with respect and, in so doing, demonstrate the value of manaakitanga to you as you become members of our community.

Our current Board - and successive Boards - lead our community as kaitiaki – or guardians – of this site and of the kura. This is the same responsibility that those who lived and worked here for hundreds of years before us, accepted, discharged and handed on to us. 

And it is now our turn, as a community, to strengthen the environment in which our tamariki learn and thrive - and, when our time comes to move on, to hand it on in a better state than it was in when we accepted this responsibility. 

We do this best when we all work together and I would encourage you all - and those that can’t be here this morning - to make the most of the many opportunities to be involved in supporting our kura in ways that work best for you and your whanau. 

You will find that we get to know each other through our tamariki, and our kura gives our tamariki - and all of us - the opportunity to learn, play and thrive together.

My own whānau have been part of this community for over 10 years, and my advice to you is to seize the opportunities to be involved in it with both hands. You will have the chance to make a positive difference, get a lot back in return, and you and your whānau will also have a lot of fun! 

I would like to leave you with a proverb that, although well known, is – I think – very appropriate given what this morning is all about:

He aha te mea nui o te ao? - What is the most important thing in the world? 
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! - It is people! It is people! It is people!

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa

23 February 2018

posted 22 Feb 2018, 18:38 by Carolyn Brett

Last week we had the Education Review Team working with us. A big question for the review was whether our Curriculum is enacted or whether it sits on the shelf, a beautiful looking document - covered in dust!?

They were especially interested in our Curriculum Learner Attributes of "I am a thinker", "I am a goal setter", "I am connected" and "I am powerful".

To attempt to get beneath the surface and get a sense of whether our Curriculum was just words or authentic, the team looked through documentation with a fine tooth comb, talked with teachers and spent a good hour and a half in classrooms talking with individuals and groups of students about their learning and school life in general. Children can tell you!

If you were at Karakia last Friday, you would have heard me talk about my fears about these discussions with children after a long break and this being their first full week back at school! I sat in a 'comfy' chair in the staffroom, waiting for the 'results'. Would they remember their goals after too many swims in the sea?!

I had no reason to be concerned! The evidence showed that our Curriculum is very real, that both teachers and children demonstrate the Curriculum in action. The piece of feedback that stood out for me, and the team found unusual and actually rather incredible, was that when they asked groups of children in Tautoru what they would do if someone was upset, only one child said that they would immediately defer to an adult - the others all had an action they would take initially - for example, "I would make them laugh", "I would help them with their work". They demonstrated all Learner Attributes and what we know as Learner Agency. This is not that common in children of this age. This sense of "I can!".

We want to continue to provide opportunities for our children to grow these attributes and competencies for they are life long and will take them places. Next time your child defers to an adult for a quick fix, as tempting as it may be, please first stop and have a think about whether this is something we can expect of them to sort out and support them to do for themselves. 

This reminds me of the well known quote by Maria Montessori:

"Never help a child with a task at which they feel they can succeed."

Positive Accomplishment is one of the strong contributing factors to student wellbeing after all.

16 February 2018

posted 15 Feb 2018, 17:18 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 15 Feb 2018, 18:19 ]

We have made it to the end of the first full week of school in 2018. It's been full of action in every which way - whether it's been inside, outside, alongside the classroom. This notion of 'classrooms without walls' isn't new. As you will witness at home with your children, so much learning happens that is not within the confines of classroom walls. 

One thing that always stands out for me, as I observe and listen to children working together outside of the confines of 168 Seatoun Heights Rd, is literally the space this allows for children to be viewed from a different perspective, for strengths to be identified that otherwise may be lying low or undiscovered. It may also be that it is this opportunity which provides impetus for building greater self efficacy in areas of learning that don't come so easily. 

Additionally, we have never known so much about learning as we do now as we have never known how much about what happens in the brain when learning occurs. Technology has advanced so much! So what's important?

Extensive studies have identified the following elements:
  • Personalised learning: no two individuals learn in the same way, nor do they bring the same prior knowledge to a learning experience. The way we learn is as unique as our fingerprint. 
  • Socially constructed learning (Johnson, 1981): the collaboration, peer-tutoring and reciprocal teaching that occurs when students work together results in a deeper understanding of the material being covered. 
  • Differentiated learning (Bloom, 1974): the prior knowledge we all bring to a task means individuals require different levels of challenge, pace, content and context. 
  • Learning that is initiated by students themselves (Ramey & Ramey, 2004): typically when a student initiates a learning experience or exploration, they learn more. 
  • Learning that is connected to the physical world and authentic contexts: children learn through interaction with others and the physical world (Malone & Tranter, 2003).
(From Mark Osborne, Core Education, 2013)

The current focus for Inquiry Learning across the school is Kaitiaki o te Ngahere, Guardians of the Forest! This provides stunning opportunities to get outside and connect learning to the physical, real and authentic world and across many different learning areas. It will definitely provide opportunities for unrealised strengths to be tapped.

The Newsletter, Blogs, Seesaw, and upcoming Goal Setting Meetings, plus the Open Morning, will provide plenty of scope for you to support learning outside the four walls too. For those of you at the Wrap 2017 you will have heard me talk about the strength of the triangle - the strongest shape of all. Our triangle being the children, teachers/staff and yourselves. Let's have an extra strong 2018.

9 February 2018

posted 15 Feb 2018, 17:18 by Carolyn Brett

We have got off to a terrific start to the year, if not slightly odd with the 2 short weeks. I'm not sure whether this easing back into things is a good idea or not, but what I am sure about is that we are all revved up and determined to make this year even better than last year!

Soon you will have your Goal Setting Meetings with your child/ren and their base group teacher. Just like new years' resolutions, we need to get focussed on a couple of areas for improvement, but not too many, as then it becomes too hard and well...... we may never start! That's why these resolutions often fall off the radar.... quickly!

Research tells us that having goals is incredibly important. They serve 4 critical functions:
  1. Goals direct our attention, both cognitively and behaviourally, toward what matters.

  2. Goals energise people, and difficult goals are more energising than easy goals or no goals.

  3. Goals impact persistence, and hard goals particularly impact persistence because they prolong effort - impacts performance.

  4. Goals lead to the discovery of our skills and resources.
Yes, there are SMART goals but we like the notion of SMARTER goals - where the E = exciting and R = rewarding (as well as the mantra of specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound).

Having such a strong emphasis on the whole child and wellbeing at our kura, we view the setting of goals as key. This happens regularly throughout the day, the week... but these upcoming Goal Setting Meetings set the direction for the year. The more challenging the goal, the more likely we are to build perseverance and passion = 'grit', and it's grit we need! 

We also like to keep the child at the centre, what do they want to work on, what about their strengths - what are they already good at and how might we support that to build on that? For example, what about the child who naturally mentors others, supports their classmates and shows leadership of themselves and others? Where might they be able to take those skills in 2018? Let's aim high!

Then there is willpower and waypower - how do we support our children to break their goals down into 'kaizen' steps - small manageable stepping stones so that these smaller accomplishments provide the motivation for the bigger ones?

So, easing into 2018? I don't think so! Please have a think before the meetings as to what's really important, have a chat with your child/ren, and teachers will be also having conversations leading up to these meetings as well. They are also a great opportunity to get to know your child's base group teacher a little more as well, even if they are timebound! 

I've talked about this concept of grit before and am sure to again. If you are interested in finding out more, please check out Angela Duckworth's work. You may even want to take the quick survey for yourselves - our teachers did!

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