Monday 16th December 2019
END OF THE YEAR NOTICES
Wet Weather Plan has been activated for School Rose Graduation Festival Tonight
Rose Graduation for Class 7 and their whanau will be held in the Whare at 6pm tonight.
Children from classes 1-6 are NOT now required to attend tonight as previously advised. A ceremony will be held during the day instead.
End of Term and Last Day of the school year
School and Te Arakura year finishes at 1pm on Tuesday 17th December. Your children’s reports will be handed to you in their classroom at the end of school.
Kindergartens operate as usual till 3pm on Tuesday 17th December. Kindergarten’s parents are invited to the annual Shepherds Play. Meet in the Whare after drop-off for a 9.20 start. We ask that all the parents and family be seated by 9.10am, for the children to arrive at 9.15am. The doors will be closed at 9.20am, with no admittance thereafter.
Oscar Program is closed in the afternoon on Tuesday 17th December.
Go to the end of this newsletter to find the most important information for next year.
The children of John Davidson would like to thank the people of Tauranga Waldorf School for the huge outpouring of love and support shown in this time of loss.
Souls do not die when the body dies
All human souls come from one great soul
Like small drops of a great lake
Full of love
Love and kindness
Delaney, Jessie, Reuben, Francis and Joey
From the School Faculty
The last days and weeks of a school year are invariably times of mixed feelings and emotions and this year has been a doozy. Watching the 23 senior students who are just so ready to march right on through the Rose Arch at their Graduation tonight, we teachers smother smiles, remembering when they were Class 2 and could hardly line up without a full on brawl and bush lawyer/ freedom fighter-style trial to follow up.
Watching the very same class debate, negotiate (and jostle, but less physically ) with each other to eventually decide how they will present themselves to the community tonight has been quite the spectacle. Certainly, reflective on the colorful journey this group has travelled over these last 7 years!
Viewing them move further into the graduation design and rehearsal phase, (with plenty more jostling and bargaining I can tell you) has been affirming. Experiencing them actually seeking and taking advice from those of us who – even just last year, nah actually even just earlier this year – KNEW NOTHING, has been a surprising and thrilling experience, indeed.
Having them show up to honor our colleague and their art teacher John Davidson at his memorial last Friday felt like a graduation in itself. And it was certainly a threshold experience of sorts for Class 5 children and their parents who supported them to manage this loss as a whole group and in ways that would have made John so very, very proud.
The death of a teacher is a huge thing for a class and a school to manage and it has to be said that the last weeks of 2019 have been overwhelmingly marked by this event. Our end of year routine has been upended with just about every detail needing to be rethought and rearranged. What has been so very moving has been the way that Class 5 and their very wonderful parents have pulled together to support all the children but also to support we adults in our grief and loss. I thank every single one of you who has taken a moment to care and reach out to another in these weeks. That care is what has collectively pulled us all through. And a quality that I saw shining very brightly last week at the National Olympic Pageant.
As we watch the graduating children this evening farewell the school, which they, their parents, and you their community, have shaped and moulded. I guarantee we will again know ourselves to be part of something very, very special. I hope too that you will all be able to carry the spirit and quality of these last weeks, into your Christmas celebrations and summer break.
Arohanui te whanau
Postscript – Class Teacher Placement 2020
As I’m sure you can appreciate, one of the things that was turned completely on its ear in these last weeks is the Class Teacher Placement process for 2020. With John’s passing we are now looking at everything anew and because of the extremely short time frames, we are as yet unable to confirm appointments for term 1.
Given the circumstances the Board have supported a school wide focus on stability for all classes as a first position. Practically what this means is that:
- Te Arakura will continue their transition to school with their current staffing pool.
- Class 5 (who will be class 6) will begin the year with teachers known to them (details still being worked out) and more information on this will be communicated over the break.
- There will be no significant change for any of the other classes other than accommodating some teacher leave and contract variation requests.
Michael and I expect to be strongly involved with a number of the classes and our wonderful Sheryl will continue to work with all of us to keep the ship steady.
Our final 2020 class teacher placement including any new appointments will be confirmed as soon as possible and this will be communicated to you once confirmed. Thank you for your understanding in this.
This term we have seen a few changes. The six year old children have moved on to Te Arakura, some little ones have moved on from Kotahi into the bigger kindergarten groups and we have welcomed many new children and families in to our groups.
We are so very blessed to belong to such a kind and thoughtful community who have been so warm & welcoming of all the new families to Rose Ring Kindergartens.
Demolition of Spring Rose kindergarten has begun and is moving along steadily with lots of banging and noises, inspiring the children to come up with all sorts of explanations, stories and role play.
Sam & Simone and their group of children have made a seamless transition to and of becoming Autumn Rose. The bigger space has been a real joy for both teachers and children, even tidying up is effortless now!
Donna, Deanna and the Spring Rose children braved some wild and chilly weather early on in the term while operating an outdoor kindergarten. To the parents of these children, special thanks for your understanding and support. Your washing machine surely got a good workout over these months with the kind of play that comes with an outdoor programme.
As the term unfolds the weather has become a little more predictable and A LOT warmer. Children have been enjoying spending their afternoons playing, sitting, lying and cooling down in the wairere. Retreating to the shade and breeze of the wilderness also brings relief from the heat of the day and a squirt with the hose in the sandpit is a fun and welcome way to cool down.
Inside the kindergartens, Advent is present in the kindergarten rooms. Seasons tables, wreaths, circle time, story time and verses gently brings reverence, awe and anticipation to the children.
From the Board of Trustees
Kia ora katoa!
I’m sure I think this every year but didn’t that one go fast?! It feels like a very full year this year, and at times a bit of a roller coaster. But such is the fabric of life and it is truly heartening to see the community come together not only to celebrate times of joy and to mark occasions, but in times of loss and sadness. I had the absolute privilege to attend John’s memorial celebration and it was so beautiful and so fitting – a wonderful celebration of a wonderful man. We were truly blessed that he shared his last two years with us.
At our last meeting of the year we received a final 2019 student achievement report which is based on both teacher judgements and standardised national testing for C3 to C7 (for reading, writing and maths). Having closely monitored student achievement for the last years, the board notes a consistent trend of starting off slow in C1 to C3 (which is in line with the delivery of our curriculum) gathering speed in middle school and then finishing with a hiss and roar at C7 where our results compare very, very favorably to both other Steiner and State schools.
Even though the National Standards no longer exist, TWS elected to continue to use the 80% target for achievement for all classes in reading, maths and writing. As always, recommendations are included in the End of Year Student Achievement report to address areas for improvement. I’m very pleased to report our classes are tracking well against the targets and wanted to share these snippets with you:
- Reading levels have progressed across the school and a high level of reading is evident. The end of year data indicates that both girls and boys are achieving well with a small gap between girls and boys, with a total of 79% of boys and 87% of girls achieving “AT” or “Above” expected levels.
- Writing remains the lowest area of achievement in the school: a trend common across all NZ schools. In Classes 1 – 7 as in previous years girls continue to achieve higher than boys in writing, with 67% of boys and 82% of girls achieving AT or Above expected levels. Here we can see the biggest difference in boys and girls, with last year’s gap of 10% widening to 15% maing this an area for improvement. This is a 1% drop for the boys from last year, but a 6% increase for the girls (and represents about 2-3 children over all classes).
- Maths 2019 end of year data has girls (88%) that for the first time, at a higher level than boys(83%)with 83% in the AT or Above expected level category. It is really good to see the high standards of Mathematics being maintained through the class levels and recommendations focus on continuation of current practice and the development, trial and implementation of strategies to improve group learning processes for the students, and overall student involvement.
The 2019 end of year Student Progress and Achievement report can be found on the website if you’d like to read more about how well our children are doing – take a look!
Thank you so much to all of you who shared your thoughts and ideas as input to our strategic planning process – it is very appreciated. The following were most commonly identified by you:
We will collate these thoughts together with those of the WST and the College of Teachers and draft the plan to be ready in the new year.
The Student Wellbeing survey is another survey conducted every year. Overall our results showed high scores (in the 90 to 100th percentile) in 13 out of the 15 categories with a dramatic decline in Aggressive Student Culture in Classes 3-7. This may be attributed to the school piloting a Social Skills Program although this was not implemented in all classes. Focus areas for 2020 will likely include:
- Continued exploration of explicit teaching around what respect means for all classes.
- Investigating how to support students to express themselves freely and guiding students to listen attentively, especially the senior classes.
- Continue to implement Non Violent Communication and social skill principles.
Thanks to every member of the schools team – true professionals – who have shown dedication, passion and enthusiasm in delivering the curriculum to such a high standard, and to Louise and the Waldorf Schools Trust for being kaitiaki of our special character. The reports from special character related programmes (the listening and extra lesson programmes) show they have truly remarkable results that have a deep and long-lasting impact on our children’s development and ability to learn. And thank you too, the parent liaisons and parents who have supported the teachers in and outside the classroom to enable them to deliver the education we chose for our children, supported each other in times of need and celebrated our successes.
The school and its grounds are looking particularly fabulous so thanks to the Waldorf Schools Trust and our wonderful Anne for their heartfelt dedication to our beautiful land and surroundings. Their vision in innovating both the outdoor classroom and therapeutic streams of our learning journey contribute so much quality to the learning journey of our tamariki. They have become cornerstone of our school much appreciated by all –and wowing visitors to our school!
So, the only thing left for me now is to wish you and your whanau a wonderful holiday blessed with many moments of peace, joy and lots of laughter – keep safe and see you next year!
Lisa Hickling (On behalf of the Board of Trustees)
From the Waldorf Schools Trust
2019 has been a busy and very satisfying year for the Waldorf Schools Trust with a lot of sound maintenance as well as infrastructure development happening within both the school campus and the early childhood section. As the Proprietor of a State Integrated school we are required to maintain our integrated buildings to the same level as state schools and given just how far behind we started we’re feeling as though our catch up is going well.
There are several programmes in the school and kindergarten that the Waldorf Schools Trust takes responsibility for and we have been really happy to hear reports of the way the teachers are developing the farm, garden to table, bush and outdoor classrooms and the very positive and in some cases profound effect these have had on both learning and wellbeing for the children. This is one of the streams in our strategic vision for the school.
A second stream of ours is the therapeutic classroom – the auditory retraining and development program, extra lesson, nursing therapies and parent mentoring – and again the end of year reports have shown the very tangible results that these extras bring to the children. It is cheering to see and hear how both the school and kindergarten constantly experiment with how to implement these programs to gain the most advantage for the children.
The Fair this year needs a special mention too and our warmest congratulations and thanks must go to the 2019 Class 2 who showed such wonderful spirit in very challenging conditions. This determined and hardy group of parents demonstrated that we can turn it on in rain or shine. Many of us have heard and agreed ourselves that this was one of the most enjoyable Fairs ever.
What was even more unexpected was the takings and final figure. $15. 064.37 is the fundraising end result which is a handsome amount by anyone’s standards and not so very far short of other years.
Of course our ability to maintain all the things about the school and kindergarten that you treasure and that your children will remember are only possible because of your pledged donations. As a final word the Trust would like to sincerely thank all those of you who take this part of your special character commitment so seriously. In our experience money that is freely gifted goes twice as far and gives at least double the value. We hear that those fine parents who contribute pledges through cleaning and homework programs for the children are also giving wonderful value too, far in excess of what could be purchased for the same services.
On behalf of the Trust I wish you all a happy and a holy Christmastide,
(for the Waldorf Schools Trust)
From the Office
Thank you to all the families who have returned their pledge form – at this moment we are still waiting for 24 pledge forms, and if you are one of the families who has not found the time to return yours, we would really appreciate your efforts to do so before we close tomorrow Tuesday 1pm. We have 85 children on the waiting list chomping at the bit to be enrolled, so your courtesy and clear instruction as to whether your children are returning would be appreciated. Please do not take it ill if we contact you.
And an even bigger thank you to everyone that has been keeping up with the donations and contributions that they have pledged, with no lesser thanks also to the people who have had to make alternative arrangements and communicated with us about that. The wonderful helpful hands delivering deeds and making the rooms so nice every weekend, supporting the teachers and children having that calm feeling which a well-tended room provides is something we are all incredibly grateful for.
Without the deeds and the financial donations the Waldorf Schools Trust would not be able to deliver the Special Character Education you have chosen for your whanau and the children could not flourish as they are. So well done community.
The Welcome Bay Lions Club actively supports our school each year firstly by providing a fundraising partnership opportunity through their Christmas raffle which many of you got behind in 2019. Recently several members of this service group attended a whole school assembly to present us with the fruits of your labour – a handsome cheque ! For every $5.00 book we sold, the Lions donated back $3.00 which, when calculated out meant that we can now add another $900.00 to our Fair total of 15K. A very happy outcome and one that we can feel both proud of and grateful for.
The other support the local Lions club offers us is via their Student Scholarship Scheme. This year a $250.00 Services to the Community Award was presented to Thomas Winter with a second Citizenship prize awarded to Alia Edwards.
We warmly thank the Club for their interest in us and generosity to us.
Community Te Reo Initiative
To end the year they way we began, we’ve included below some lovely phrases for home use and send out a challenge to you all to down load these and stick them on your fridge.
Language learning like reading or maths doesn’t happen in a vacuum – exposure and immersion are the key so please do your part in supporting our communities use of te reo. Try these, it’ll be fun..
From the Farm
Thank you to the families who have been feeding our animals during the weekends and term breaks. See you next year and have a wonderful summer.
Anne, the Gardener
M 022 162 7709
NEXT YEAR COMING EVENTS
Rambling Rose Kindergarten at Michael Hut from Mon 13th Jan to Fri 24th Jan – 9am to 3pm – for families who need it.
Mon 27th Jan Auckland Anniversary – School and Rambling Rose Kindergarten are closed.
Rambling Rose Kindergarten at Michael Hut from Tue 28th Jan to Fri 31st Jan – 9am to 3pm.
Fri 31st Jan – Class 1 Individual Parents Interview
Mon 3rd Feb – TERM 1 starts for School, Kindergartens and Oscar Program.
Tue 4th Feb – TERM 1 starts for Playgroup.
Thu 6th and Fri 7th Feb – School is closed for Waitangi Day
Fri 7th Feb – Rambling Rose Kindergarten at Michael Hut – 9am to 3pm.