By Demelza Topp | Posted: Friday January 27, 2023
Tēnā koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te kura Amesbury mo te rua mano rua tekau ma toru. Kaore au e mohio. Ka nui te koa me hari ki te kite ki a koutou. A very warm greeting to you all. Welcome to Amesbury School in 2023. It is hard to believe that a new year is upon us but we are really looking forward to seeing each of you again or for the first time. Our teachers have been hard at work preparing learning for all our ākonga and we are excited to get back into it and to continue supporting students in their formal education journey.
This article contains some basic admin information for Term 1, along with details about our Module 1 learning and the main events that are coming up this term. It is relevant for all students throughout the school. If you have more than one child at school, you will receive an email for each child. However, you only need to read the following information once!
This term Koru has five whānau groups, Harakeke has five whānau groups and Pōhutukawa has four whānau groups. The role of your child’s whānau teacher is to act as a learning advocate for your child at school. They are your first port of call if you have any questions, comments or concerns about school or your child. The whānau teacher is not your child’s overall ‘class teacher’, most students will work with multiple teachers throughout the year, but the whānau teacher will have particular oversight of your child.
Our teaching teams for Term 1 2023 are:
Koru: Sonali Singh Nandra (team leader), Angela Herman-Childs (learning leader), Davina de Witts, Gina Quintero, Hannah Sadler and Sophia Hughes
Harakeke: Natalie Douglas (team leader), Jemima Colquhoun (learning leader), Jingwen Zhang, Eilís Ni Chaiside and Rupert Webb
Pōhutukawa: Onaitta Setefano (co-team leader), Gar Kee Wu (co-team leader), Brent de Saxe, Ciara Lynch and Lisa Bengtsson (learning partner)
We would like to introduce two new teachers to our school, Jingwen Zhang and Sophia Hughes. Jingwen came to New Zealand as a Mandarin Language Assistant and stayed on to complete her teaching degree. She has been teaching the year 7 and 8 students at Hutt International Boys' School (HIBS) for the past couple of years. Sophia will be beginning her teaching journey with us which is very exciting. She has come to us highly recommended. They both bring unique strengths that add value to our teaching teams and we are really looking forward to working with them.
*Lisa will continue to be a learning partner in Pōhutukawa providing extra support to staff and students. She is doing an excellent job and the teachers in Pōhutukawa are noticing a lot of growth in their practice.
*This year Kirat Singh will move into the ELL / Learning support role. She will work with students and teachers to provide extra support. Kirat will also continue doing an amazing job to keep our library in tip top shape.
*Navy Ny has been with us since Amesbury School opened in 2012. We refer to her as Wonder Woman. She is a fantastic teacher aide and also has many other roles that she completes with efficiency and a cheerful smile. When Navy is away, it takes at least three people to cover all her tasks.
*Nicola Love is a new teacher aide who will be based mainly in Kōwhai. Her oldest boy, who attended Amesbury School, has just completed his schooling and her youngest son has just started at Amesbury School. She has been in our school for a long time and we are really excited to welcome her to the team.
*Yamama Abdulqadir is our amazing Arabic bilingual support worker. She works with students who are native Arabic speakers.
After a bit of a hiatus, this year we will be once again welcoming a Mandarin Language Assistant to our school. Her name is LYU Liping and she comes from Huanggang City. We are looking forward to meeting her when she arrives in early March.
*Jenny King and Demelza Murrihy-Topp will also be providing release throughout the school as necessary. Jenny will work as a learning partner with Harakeke and Demelza will work with Koru as a learning partner.
We use LINC-ED Hero for all our communication, learning and administration. Here is a link to more information about this platform and how you sign up. Hero will be regularly updated with information about school admin, events and general educational information, along with information about events in our local community. Any notices that can be public will also be published on our school website.
We have a school planning site, where planning for all teachers is stored and can be accessed by everyone. No personal student information or names will be included in this planning. Any documents or planning including specific names are kept as private documents and cannot be accessed by anyone except Amesbury staff. Here is the link to our planning site.
Module 1 Learning
Again this year, we will have three learning modules - Living as my best self (term 1), Living as kaitiaki (term 2) and Living together (term 3 & 4). This article contains a brief overview of our first learning module.
The focus for our first learning module is living as my best self. Students will begin by exploring “who am I and what makes me who I am?”. They will look at where they whakapapa to (their family tree) and they will work on clearly, confidently and fluently reciting their mihimihi. Students will also explore two concepts - what makes us unique and red threads (our absolute passions). This learning will then be used to support students to contribute more around home, at school (kaitiakitanga roles) and in the local community. The plan is to make these contributions as meaningful and sustainable as possible.
As part of this module, students will also explore what helps them to be their best selves as learners and to also be their best selves with others. By the end of the term, students should be able to clearly articulate what enables them to effectively learn and then make deliberate choices to put these strategies into practice. We are also hoping that students will have a strong understanding about how we treat other people with kindness and respect, and that they will make deliberate choices to work with a range of students, not just their close friends.
While we will veer off on various tangents, those were the main focuses for this term.
Our term 1 learning celebration will happen on Wednesday 5 April from 1:50pm. This will be run in a bar camp style where individual or small groups of students present what they have discovered about themselves as human beings and as learners. This could include their learning map, their hero’s journey journal, their red threads or their experience contributing to the local community. It will be a hands on learning celebration where students will showcase a range of learning.
We are currently exploring options for a trip linked with storytelling and kiwiana. We will let you know once the dates and details have been confirmed.
Term 1 Health Module
Our term 1 topic will be “keeping myself and others safe”. Through this topic, students will cover bullying (both in person and online), unwanted behaviour and touch and where to seek help when I am feeling worried for myself or another person. By the end of the term, students will be clear that they are the boss of their bodies and that they say what happens to them. Students will also be able to identify safe, unsafe and confusing touch as well as behaviours and situations that may make them feel uncomfortable, and they will have a repertoire of strategies to deal with these situations, including identifying safe people to talk to.
*For students in years 0-2, they will learn that they are the boss of their bodies and they decide what happens to it. They will also explore safe and unsafe touch as well as behaviours that may worry or confuse them. Throughout this topic, they will be given a range of strategies to keep themselves and others safe, such as saying no, moving away and talking to a trusted adult.
*Students in years 3-4 will look a bit more in depth at unwanted behaviours and touch, including secrets and tricks. They will also learn about consent and different strategies that they can use to keep themselves and others safe.
*Our year 5-6 students will learn about the different types of abuse and where they can access support if they find themselves in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation. They will also learn what to do if another person discloses information about abuse or an unsafe situation.
If you would like further information about each session, please follow this link.
Because these topics are sensitive and the content needs to be age appropriate, we will teach them in year levels (years 0-2, years 3-4 & years 5-6) rather than hubs.
While care will be taken to present this information, we know that for some children this topic could potentially be traumatic. If you think this will be the case for your child, please let your child’s whānau teacher know so that we can keep an extra eye on them.
Finally, if you would prefer that your child did not learn this information at school, please let your child’s whānau teacher know which sessions you would prefer they were not involved in by Sunday 12 February as we will begin this topic in week 3.
Our Term 1 mihi whakatau to welcome new students will be held on Friday 3 February. Parents and whānau are welcome to attend. This will begin at 2.15pm in the hall.
Meet the teachers at Amesbury
We will hold our Amesbury Meet’n’Greet on Friday 3 February from 5:00-7:00pm. This is an opportunity for all parents and children to come along and meet new teachers or reconnect with familiar teachers. Each hub will also talk about what they do so you have a greater understanding about how your child’s hub is organised.
Your child will be issued with everything they need for the year, including books, pencils and felts/colouring pencils. There will be a cost of $45 for the year for this. This cost is charged to school accounts at the start of the year.
If students have their own personal stationery that they would also like to use, they are very welcome to bring it in and keep it in their tote tray or bag. All students in Years 5-6 will be issued with a Chromebook and all Years 3-4 will have access to their Chromebook when necessary at school. Younger students will have access to a range of devices. If you would like to purchase a Chromebook so that your child can use it at home and at school, please contact Gar Kee Wu ([email protected]).
Clothing and lost property
Named items will be handed directly back to your child. There will be a small lost property box in the main school office for any unnamed items, but no items with clear names in them will be held here.
In order for all items to be returned to their owners quickly and easily, please ensure that all uniform items are very clearly named with your child’s name before the first day of school. Please be aware that children will often be the people reading the names on clothing, so ensuring that names on all items are clear and easy to read is important. Thanks for your help with this. We recommend purchasing fabric label pens, name stamps or iron-on name tags to make ownership of items very clear. Here are a couple of label companies to consider: Precious Labels (orders can be placed on Kindo) Stuck on You or Name it
Toys/Belongings at school
While we do not recommend that students bring toys to school, we do not have a ban on this. If your child chooses to bring a toy or another item of interest to school, it will need to be put away in their bag during learning time and we cannot take responsibility for lost, traded or broken toys/items. Therefore, we do recommend that your child leaves any treasured possessions at home.
Schools are legally required to account for the safe whereabouts of each child every day, so notification to the school office should be before 9am if students will be more than 15 minutes late or not be attending school.
Please provide a reason for a late arrival/absence as schools are required to record this information. Absence notifications can be made by:
Absence form on the school app *(preferred) or school website
Email – [email protected]
Telephone – 04 477 3423
Text – 021 86 55 28
If your child arrives at school any time from 9:00am, they must sign in at the office, not in the class/hub.
All absences are to be advised to the office, with extended leave requests copied to the Principal.
First Day of School
School begins for the term on Tuesday 31 January at 9:00am. Please read and follow the information below to ensure your child has a great start to their first day of school in 2023.
Our Hub will be open from 8.30am. We ask that students take their shoes off before coming into the learning space, putting their bags in their bag spaces and signing in. Teachers will be available at this time to support students to sign in and find their bag spaces. There will be activities set up for students to engage with throughout the morning.
At the end of the day students in Hannah and Angela’s whānau can be picked up from Kōwhai by parents, guardians or older siblings. The rest of Koru Hob will continue to be picked up outside on the basketball court.
Our Hub is open from 8:30am and we will all be here to welcome your child for their first day. When the bell rings at 9am, students will meet in the space their bag will be kept. This will be projected on the screens, along with the student timetable. We ask that students take their shoes off before coming into the classroom.
We encourage students to check the screen when they get to school. Teachers will sign students in on Tuesday, following this students will sign themselves in every morning. At the end of the day, students are released from the hub. If students are not walking home by themselves or going to Kelly Club, they will be in the drop off/pick up zone.
Our Hub is open from 8.30am and kaiako will be here to welcome all ākonga for their first day. We ask that ākonga enter in through the door between the blue sports shed and Harakeke Hub, this will be labelled with an ENTRY sign. Ākonga do need to take their shoes off and neatly put them outside either against the wall (not in front of the doorway) or on a shoe rack before they enter the hub. Also their bags will need to be placed either outside, in the bag space in the hall or against a designated wall in the hall.
Every morning we will have a ‘What’s On?’ projected on the big screen in the hall telling ākonga what to expect throughout the day as well as any other notices they may need to know. Ākonga will need to sign themselves in at the sign in screen in the hall before the bell rings at 9am. At the end of the day, ākonga are released at 3pm from the hub.
*Please note that it is a sunhat term. Students are required to wear a named Amesbury School sunhat when outside during Terms 1 and 4 - this includes during all breaks and while outside during school time. Sunhats are $15.00 and can be purchased via Kindo/the online school shop. Orders can't always be processed and issued overnight or the same day so best to order in advance so there's time to collect and clearly label before they are needed. Children without sun hats will need to stay in the designated shaded areas during break times.
*We ask all students to take their shoes off before heading inside - there are shoe racks outside of Koru, Harakeke and Pōhutukawa to put shoes on.
*Hubs are open for students from 8:30am onwards. We ask that students do not arrive at school prior to 8:30am, as they are not supervised by teachers at this time. Kelly Club operates a care programme before school for students who need to be at school before 8:30am. Please see the Kelly Club information page on our website for more details. We encourage all students to be at school by 8:45am as this allows children time to settle in, put their bags away, read the timetable for the day and then say ‘hello’ to friends and teachers before the bell goes.
Term 1 Dates 2023 As always, our school events are all added to our school calendar as soon as we become aware of them. Please follow this link to our school calendar, housed on our school website. Some events may be added to our calendar as we go through the term, so please keep an eye on the weeks coming up on the calendar. Here are the main school events to date:
Tue 31 Jan First day of term 1 2023
Wed 1 Feb BoT meeting
Fri 3 Feb Mihi whakatau
Fri 3 Feb Amesbury Meet’n’Greet
Mon 6 Feb Waitangi Day - school closed
Wed 8 Feb Co-curricular lessons begin
Fri 10 Feb Co-curricular lessons begin
Wed 1 Mar BoT meeting
Tue 7 Mar Amesbury Open Morning
Wed 29 Mar Co-curricular lessons last day
Wed 29 Mar BoT meeting
Fri 31 Mar Co-curricular lessons last day
Mon 3 Apr Student conferences (Davina only)
Tue 4 Apr Student conferences
Wed 5 Apr Student conferences
Thu 5 Apr Term 1 Learning Celebration
Thu 6 Apr Last day of Term 1 2023
Enjoy the last few days of the school break and we look forward to seeing you all next week.
The Amesbury Team