Poutū-te-rangi / Maehe 2020
Wednesday 18th March 2020
Wed 1st April SCHOOL PHOTO
- Thu 9th April LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, School ends @ 1pm – Kindergartens ends @ 3 pm
From the Faculty
Kia ora te whanau,
In the last weeks we’ve launched another round of parent education with parent coach and mentor Mary Willow and, with hindsight, I’m reflecting that our timing for this couldn’t be better.
The idea that children are not little adults, that they do not come fully functioning and that they deserve a childhood free from the stress and worries of adult life, is central to Steiner education.
But with fear, stress and panic swirling all around us about where Covid-19 virus could take us, it can be hard to decide how much to tell the children, how much to explain. It feels very good therefore to have a child anxiety expert like Mary on tap for advice and comfort on how best to handle things, especially on talking to the children in sensible, yet sensitive and authentic ways. More on this from Mary below and if you would like to join the parenting groups, call the office to hear about how you can catch up on the sessions you have missed and how to join the ones that are establishing themselves.
At a practical level, we are concentrating on effective measures to protect and promote health for the children, working on excellent hand-washing, sneeze and cough etiquette, healthy eating and changing our hand-shaking and handholding practices. We are daily and sometimes hourly receiving updates from the national office of the Ministry of Education about the virus and what we need to know and have in place, and are following these, including ongoing risk assessments as they come to us.
I’m happy to tell you that thus far the advice has not been too challenging to implement, the children are adapting well, and we are undertaking further planning and future proofing as well. As this goes to print we see that the current protocol which requires a school to close for two days whenever there is a confirmed case to allow the officials to undertake tracking and tracing and undertake any further risk assessment has been enacted at the first school. Please continue to let us know if there are any special circumstances for your family.
Steering your family in turbulent times, by Mary Willow
Little children, from toddlers right through to 9-10 years of age, can be easily pushed out of their more dreamy fantasy state that is their natural heritage. When this happens, they go rapidly into fight/flight/freeze/fold – their emergency defence brain.
I call this the Guard Dog mode – which gives a picture of the PURPOSE of the ensuing tantrums, meltdowns, avoidance or freak-outs. Guard Dog mode sees the child springing into action to protect ME (and me only) NOW, (this instant) and in MY way (and my way only). Guard Dog mode is about self-protection (whether needed or not).
Teachers and Parents of older children know that with a firm and understanding hand, the storms of the early years really do diminish and that on the way, around 9 or 10 and older, the children begin to open a brand new ‘critical eye’, as if seeing the realities of life for the first time. Every year their ability to become a little more objective grows, although the way they experience this will have a lot to do with their temperament so, just like teething, it may not necessarily be smooth sailing.
Although they are gaining perspective, their Guard Dog or Littler Self is still present, strong and watching out for the safety of Me. It can still hit out, blame everyone else, run for cover or try to control everything, but when the adults around them are both kind and firm, the children are carried securely through. The storms pass more quickly, happen less often and in a Waldorf setting are helped by the curriculum with all its age-appropriate stories of the growing human consciousness.
Covid-19 is bound to set our own adult Guard Dogs into a myriad of individual responses as well. Our Guard Dogs can respond fiercely to calamity, stress, fear and loss just as the children’s. This is neurologically normal and even essential in real emergencies. However, as adults we are able to CHOOSE HOW to respond, whether and when to act or not. This is the time for us to be careful and wise.
My advice about how to manage thinking about and talking about Covid-19 with the children is very simple and based on this natural law of child development:
‘It is not what happens to and around our children…it’s what we, the adults, do with it that counts.’
We can succumb to fear and activate the children’s guard dog brains (which will harm and regress them) or we can ‘up our game’ and increase our self-mastery by moving on into the practical here and now.
I once watched a group of parents picking up their children from school immediately after an earthquake. The children of the calm parents were unfazed. The children of the panicky parents were all crying, fearful and even hysterical. It was so clear.
So what to do about Covid-19? Here’s my advice.
Be the Captains of the Ship. Get clear about what discussions belong only up on the bridge with those in charge (the parents), or what can be shared with the more senior officers (the older children).
Children under 9-10 are too young to be exposed to the news of the world (the possible storms ahead). Their bodies, emotions and minds are simply asking: what is the world around me here and what are we doing now?
From 10-14 they are the crew. They may need to be given certain information at some point about the lie of the land (the science), the passage ahead (the bigger picture) and the Captain decisions, but it should all be delivered matter-of-factly with the Captain hand firmly at the helm. We can explain in more detail as they grow older, but it is not yet time for them to make the decisions on the running of the family ship. ‘Yes it’s a challenge, yes we are entering stormy waters, but everyone ‘to your posts!’ and follow commands’.
On deck keep the crew (the kids) in the practical here and now. In simple terms if they have heard something that makes them fearful, listen and let them offload (don’t over- or under- listen), say kindly that you understand, validate their feelings as understandable, a quiet hug, a wee chat, but then MOVE ON. Keep your eye contact low at these times or you will mutually panic each other. Much better than trying to reason with their fears or talk them out of it, let them bubble up and blow away, then move on into practical activities.
Fear can be expressed in children not just as anxiety but also as avoidance, hyperactivity or a greater urge to angrily control others. Fearful children cannot easily control the overwhelm. The Parents and Captains need to be the boss of the child’s fear. YOU decide when the fear doggies are allowed out for a run around (the barking mad offload) and YOU decide when the fear is firmly put away (I like to think ‘tied up but with a juicy bone of calm and judicious parent empathy’) till the next set time for offload. This way you are repeatedly leading their experiential brains from reactive to responsive behaviour. It is this repetition of positive action that processes fear and builds the neural pathways of RESILIENCE. It is the body brain that ultimately writes the story. The kids that got out and helped the adults dig the liquefied silt in Christchurch did better than those bogged down in exposure to fearful, emotional adult talk.
The children are simply asking themselves: how do the adults deal with this or that? They are imitating us, both our outer actions and inner courage, our moral response and calm in the face of a storm. The ideal parent response is ‘we will always find a way.’ Repeatedly move it on into the practical…at ALL ages. The children are learning by doing. The underlying philosophy needs to be that challenges wake us up, make us more adaptable, bring us together (even if quarantined!). How do we help?
The younger children don’t even need to know that there is a world-wide pandemic. They need to know what today is. But what if they know already? What if they ask ‘will we die?’ The truthful answer is that you don’t know and the helpful answer is (firmly) that ‘we will take one day at a time: we will work on the problems and look for the good in every moment and every day’. This is our greatest parenting task: that no matter what, we will show them how to look for the good in every person, place and situation. And when ‘sh*t happens’…we will deal with it with calm captaining, holding the ship steady, navigating the way step by step, with courage and love.
It’s not what happens to and around our children: it’s what we, the adults, do with it that counts.
Will we take this opportunity to hardwire our kids for calm, practical, positive response?…or will we hardwire them for fear? (which by the way is the foundation of hate) Our children have come to complete OUR OWN growing up. They are saying to us: ‘transform yourself for the sake of me’. Will we panic or will we allow this situation to grow clarity in our thinking, courage in our hearts and calm in our response to humanity?
Mary Willow, March 2020.
Kia ora Parents and Whanau,
I would like to express a big THANK YOU to the Spring Rose parents for your patience over the last few months of ‘homeless-ness’, the expected time of outdoor kindergarten and also the unexpected delays.
I would also like to thank the whole kindergarten community for trusting us and for accepting a variety of new faces assisting the familiar permanent teachers in Rose Ring Kindergartens.
It seems that our pool of relievers and teachers are growing up and are transitioning to school, just like the children.
Suzanne is a great addition to class 1 and indeed able to bring her expertise to all of the primary classes. I hope they are willing to give her back to kindergarten at one point!
Jen has moved to Christchurch to new beginnings.
Nyree has made it straight to class 3! She is assisting a new girl, needing a full teacher aid.
Flavia hasn’t left Rosebud Playgroup, but has taken up a role in kindergarten, relieving the Spring Rose and Autumn Rose teachers for lunch breaks every day.
Aliz is now permanently relieving in Kotahi and Summer Rose for lunch breaks.
Jess has moved on to Toi Ohomai to follow one of her passions.
Sam has finally recovered from her terrible morning sickness, which was a severe 24/7 sickness, more accurately. She will be around for about two days a week for the next few weeks, in various roles.
Hayley is rostered on for Fridays in Summer Rose and often my savior when I need a reliever on call.
Our new teachers are:
Kirsty, who is co teaching, until the end of term 2, with Tina, in Summer Rose.
Madeleine, Simone’s co teacher in Autumn Rose, till the end of the year.
Dianna has just started in Kotahi in a full-time permanent position. She is Jan’s co-teacher and excited to get to know Waldorf Education in practice.
We are also fortunate to have some parents who kindly made themselves available and are volunteering in kindergarten when we need an extra pair of hands.
With so many changes, we have come to the point of needing to register with two reliever agencies, so we can get an extra teacher by short notice, on the odd days. Unfortunately those relievers are not familiar with Waldorf Education. They are however respectful of our ways and are keen to be learning as they spend time with us.
Thank you for being such supportive Whanau!
P.S. If you have friends interested in our kindergartens, please feel free to invite them to our Information Afternoon that will take place on Monday 30th March at 3.15 pm. There is no need to register, just report to Reception on arrival. Please arrange for alternative care for children if possible.
And so new life has been given to a much anticipated, newly renovated kindergarten room – Spring Rose.
Back in the early 1990’s the Spring Rose building was moved on to its current location in the kindergarten grounds as the first and only kindergarten for some years. At this same time Kotahi kindergarten was Class 1,2 & 3! Autumn Rose was another building added and joined on later.
Spring Rose used to be fondly remembered as the Famous Mrs Wendy’s kindergarten. Since first being established on the site, Spring Rose has had very little work done it.
This is no longer the case, as of Monday 9th March the newly renovated Spring Rose kindergarten was officially blessed by the School and Kindergarten Teachers with the support of Louise Gawn and Ellis Bryers.
Spring Rose Teachers and children are settling in to new rhythms and establishing a sense of belonging in their new space after months of being in an outdoor programme.
From a new look kindergarten to a new Kindergarten Teacher
We would like to give a warm welcome to our new teacher, Dianna, who begins her full-time position in Kotahi kindergarten co-teaching with Jan Ioane this term. Dianna is an experienced teacher who we all look forward to working with and we are sure she will be a great asset to the teaching team.
My name is Dianna, I grew up in Napier and attended Waikato University where I studied a Bachelor of Tourism. There I met my wonderful husband Brendon and we moved to Tauranga where I further studied a Post Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education. Together we have three adorable children; Sophia 7, Joshua 4 and Ruby 2.
I have held a teaching position in Montessori Education where I furthered my studies and achieved an International Diploma in Montessori Education. When the director sold the center I continued to work with the new owners as a mainstream early childhood teacher in a mixed age setting with children 0-6 years old.
In my spare time I love cooking, reading and spending time with my family. Together we enjoy going to the beach, going for walks and camping.
I am excited to be a part of the teaching team at Rose Ring Kindergarten where I can grow and learn more about Waldorf Education. I am looking forward to spending time to get to know you and your child in a nurturing and unhurried environment.
From the Board of Trustees
At the first Board meeting of every year, several matters are routinely attended to .
The first is the election or in this case re-election of the Board Chair, Lisa Hickling. The second is the approval of management and financial delegations and the third is the ratification of the annual plan. Every 3-5 years this includes as was the case this year, a refresh or update on the Board’s Strategic Plan is also ratified.
Most of you will remember the parent consultation that was undertaken in Class parent meetings towards the end of 2019. The findings from these forums encouraged us to focus our new Strategic Plan towards consolidating and building on the developments of previous years. As a result, the corresponding 2020 Annual Plan represents very much a “steady as she goes” approach. The priorities this year continue to be student achievement and student wellbeing, with targets set for both accelerating writing and for those children who demonstrate learning and behavioral differences.
Staff development to support these targets are again prioritized and an area which we have a strengthened focus is, in further evolving our bi-cultural kaupapa and emphasis on te reo Maori and tikanga. The schools partnership with this community will include opportunities for digital/cyber safety and awareness, non-violent communication training and developmental milestones training.
You may have noticed new building projects around the school and these are also contained in the annual plan along with amphitheatre development, all being the responsibility of the WST. If you would like to find out more detail, please take a look at the Tauranga Waldorf School Annual Plan 2020 which you can find on the school website.
From the Waldorf Schools Trust
What: WALDORF SCHOOLS ( BOP) TRUST 2020 FOUNDERS AGM
When: Sunday 5th April 2020 @ 3 pm
Where: The Whare, R364 Welcome Bay Road All Welcome
The Waldorf School’s Trust Founders AGM is a yearly event where its annual reports are presented and the appointment of trustees take place.
This meeting is also a time when our founders and pioneers meet with current trustees to hear about and monitor the way their original dream and vision – Waldorf education for the children of the Bay of Plenty- is progressing. The school’s Board of Trustees is also routinely invited to ensure that our parent community is represented by those elected to act in their interests.
The meeting is open to anyone who’d like to attend to hear reports from the school, the kindergarten and the Waldorf Schools Trust itself. The Waldorf Schools Trust is a governance group which operates as the school’s landlord as well as keeper and protector of the school’s Special Character as required under our Special Character contract with the Crown. The Waldorf Schools Trust also operates as governors of our kindergartens.
This meeting is a chance to hear about progress against the Waldorf Schools Trust’s Strategic Plan and a warm welcome is extended to all members of the parent community as well as interested others.
Sunday 5th April 2020 at the Whare.
Waldorf Schools Trust
From the Office
Thank you to all the families who have started their contributions for 2020. If you wish to discuss your contributions please make contact with me on email@example.com
The termly overview will be sent out with the 2020 Tax Donation Receipts during the month of April.
Just a reminder that all payments received by 31/3/2020 will be included in this receipt, this will allow you to claim the rebate early.
Thanks again for your ongoing support.
From the Farm
BIODYNAMIC 501 STIRRING
I need your help please, no experience needed. We will stir Biodynamic 501 for an hour, then mist spray it all over the school grounds. This spray works with the light forces to strengthen plants and control diseases like fungus and mildew.
When: Saturday 4th April before sunrise at 6.30 am.
Meet: In shelter, at the end of field. ONLY in fine weather.
Bring: A mist sprayer if you have one. I have spares.
Please help! It is a fun activity. Text Anne 022 162 7709
PARENTS WORKSHOP, PROPAGATING NATIVE PLANTS
Learn how to collect seeds and take cuttings from a range of native trees and shrubs. Planned for life style block owners. Pots will be available for you to take cuttings home in. You can take the seeds you collect home too.
Cost: $ 10.00
Time: 9 am – 11 am
Meet: in Shelter at the end of the field
Date: Saturday 28th March
Bookings: Text Anne 022 162 7709
WANTED: Knitters of all ages
With the weather cooling and the wind starting to nip keenly we are starting to think about warm hats.
Last year’s class 5, building on their fame as Famous Providers of Baby Blanket to the Prime Ministers daughter, Neve, ( as featured in the Women’s Weekly and other publications) knitted their own school hats. This year’s class 5 will hopefully repeat that project.
We were lucky to have the Greenwood park knitting club provide beautiful soft perindale hats for the class one children and so we would like this year’s class to have them too. Are their any knitters out there who would help? Any kind neighbours or grannies that would be prepared to support us?
You’d will be given the wool and a simple pattern- just email or call the office and we will organize everything for you.