Pipiri / Hune 2020
A newsletter to celebrate the exceptional
Tuesday 30th June 2020
Last Minute Reminders for LANTERN FESTIVAL – Thursday 2nd July
This is a family festival, so please keep your children with you and enjoy quietly the beauty and the magic of nature as a whole family. Teachers will all be engaged in running the festival and will not be available to supervise. To be successful the festival needs absolute vigilance from every single adult.
Please park around the neighbourhood at Utopia Heights or on Welcome Bay Road. Only Class 5 parents who are catering will park with teachers up on the hill.
The festival starts at the bottom of the driveway. If you live behind the school please still come down to the Welcome Bay entrance to ensure you have the full experience.
Kindergarten families are welcome through the blue gates from 6 pm, School families will start the lantern trail from 6.30 pm. Walk through as many times as you like.
Food is served from 5.30 pm in the kindergarten parking area by Class 5 families. Please bring cash for nachos $ 5 each, hot Apple drink $ 2 each. Please eat your food in this area too.
Do feel free to bring grandparents, aunts and uncles and neighbours too if you wish. We have plenty of lanterns that we can share with visitors.
Class 7 will be hosting the event again this year in their leadership role as senior students and we would really appreciate you taking instruction from them if needs be and remember they are new to the role and are bound to develop more confidence and skill as the year goes by.
From the Faculty
Kia ora o te whanau,
Here we are so close to the end of Term 2 2020, a term notable for its challenges – and challenges at a level and nature that few of us had previously dreamt of.
Yet despite the trials and tribulations we have weathered in recent months, as a community of humans whose mission is to provide a Waldorf Education for their young, I must say that I continue to be inspired by our collective efforts. In particular, in these last days, as I’ve watched faces turn increasingly grey with exhaustion, I feel enormous admiration for the passion, commitment and stamina of my colleagues in continuing to deliver to you and your children.
I’ve watched your children’s teachers over these last months pick up their craft and put it into a completely unfamiliar on-line format with an attention to detail and a level of artistry that allowed for both new learning and comforting familiarity for their classes. Without counting the cost either, they expressed a true dedication to the children that is unsurpassed.
Teachers worked tirelessly over Easter and the term break to achieve this and returned to work, depleted but willing to start all over again, with classes that had lost their form. Many families were able to make a great deal of the home learning situation. The children had widely different experiences and, while thrilled to see each other again, settling down to learn together was not foremost in their minds.
So at the same time as I’ve watched teachers pulling classes back together, we also witnessed a miracle – a polished and hilarious Class 4 play, which impressed and delighted all who watched it – even our sophisticated and cynical seniors. This play was put on just weeks into this crazy term and without the usual support offered by our long time mistress of the costume room, Louise Gawn, who has taken leave. All credit is given to Trudy Kendall who jumped in to fill this gap and keep the show on the road.
Right now Class 6 are in the thick of rehearsal for their bi-lingual Matariki Play, which leads our celebration of this important festival. Again it is without the usual aids, but has been supported in a rewrite by parent Christina Nuku, who has been working with all staff weekly over the last months to implement our bicultural strategy. At the same time Class 3 are preparing for their harvest feast which will be the opportunity for this class parent group to come together in what has been another mammoth effort above and beyond. Class 2 parents, bless them, took the opportunity the other night to start planning this year’s Fair and were able to farewell their class teacher Ayla, who has taken early maternity leave. Shirley Bacica who has been working with Ayla in this class over the last weeks, has now stepped fully into this role.
None of this would have been possible without our stalwart administrative staff who have been unflinching in their efforts to support the teachers. Our office has been working with two key members down over this whole period, with the extra workload shared between those still standing. So a huge thank you to every parent who internet banked or sent an email rather than popping in. For everyone who remembered to phone or txt an absence, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m not sure we could have coped otherwise, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for ensuring that we did.
As we come to the end of this term I want to extend my thanks to all of you. I want to thank you for all that you did for your children’s schooling during lockdown. I want to thank parent liaisons who, realizing some people were lonely and struggling, have gone out of their way to connect, or whispered to us of things that were needed in ways that we could support. It does, as they say, take a whole village.
Of course I’m very aware that some classes have not had the opportunity to meet up as yet, so the Lantern Festival on Thursday night is going to be a wonderful reunion, and the timing is excellent. Class 5 will be catering, with nachos available from 5.30pm. Please pray to the weather gods, come and enjoy what is arguably our most visually spectacular community festival, with us all together again – at last.
I look forward to seeing you there and remembering, as we walk our beautiful campus by candlelight, finding the secret grottos, the soundscapes and the tableaux, that even in times so turbulent, some magical things never change.
Kia Ora Kindergarten Whanau and others
Here we are half a year into 2020. And what a weird few months have we had!
Looking back and remembering the first days of the Rāhui seems almost surreal. For the kindergarten teachers, it meant rushing into ‘boarding up’ the premises, making swift calls to establish what would be needed in the ‘home office’ and to merge home life with work. Without having a clear picture of what work would even mean for us. Teaching via screen? Sending resources to families?
How to keep a connection with children?
How to co teach and collaborate with colleagues?
Like anyone else, we discovered zoom and found ways to work as a team and in partnership.
In the early years, in particular, we never view a child as a totally independent individual. When we transition a newly enrolled child, in reality we transition a family into the Rose Ring Whanau. While this is not always so obvious in ‘normal’ times, it is always the base of our understanding of the relationship between home and kindergarten.
So during the Rāhui our usual practice of relating directly to the children was replaced by one connecting with parents. By sharing our knowledge, by offering individual support, sometimes tailored to one family, sometimes by newsletters or forwarding articles and by linking people, so bubbles could be joined.
It was an intense couple of months; life was so different to what we are used to. And still, it kept going, with challenges and with opportunities, with sadness and with pleasure.
Some children became a sister or a brother!
When level 3 was announced, we had no idea what to expect. What would that mean for us, how could we work under the required conditions? Who would or could return to kindergarten? Zoom was running hot!
Fortunately all our teachers were able to start work on site again, to be receiving the children and to provide the familiar setting and program. What a pleasant surprise it was, to see the children arriving in such a wonderful and settled way! It was amazing to see them happily hopping off their family vessel and walking up to the classrooms to meet their friends and teachers.
If I didn’t know it any better, it seemed to be a mere weekend since the last time they played together! It was a touching moment and there were a few tears shed by the teachers…
Fortunately the advice from the Ministry of Health for Early Childhood Education is very reasonable and common sense, meaning that our little ones’ days at kindergarten are completely normal. Resulting in very normal days for the teachers too. We are quite protected here and can focus on mud balls, racking leaves, building huts, grating cheese, getting wet, quarreling, finding worms and celebrating birthdays.
In short, at kindergarten we care about the important things in the life of pre-school children. We provide and protect a pace that allows for trying, for slipping, for frustration, for plotting, for discovery, for satisfaction, for celebration and also for tears.
Fortunately the initial need for all to bring their lunchboxes is no longer relevant, to the relief of teachers and I very much guess for parents too. What still remains is the drop off and pick up arrangement.
While the ‘drive through’ transition had been born out of compliance with safety measurements, it is having quite unexpected effects. Some of them we treasure, some provide a challenge and barriers.
Thank you to those parents who have commented on what the experience is from their side. Your voices are heard. They are feeding into the planning of a drop off/pick up setting that works for the whole site. Please read the Board’s letter for more information about this ongoing project.
I would like to take the opportunity to be again clear that all parents are welcome to drop off their children and to take them to the classroom. Due to the heavy traffic on the driveway, parking is only possible at 9am, between the Crafty Pukeko and the blackboard at the end of the driveway.
All parents who are wanting to pick their children up from the class room are welcome to do so. Due to heavy traffic on the driveway, parking and personal pick-ups are an option before 2:30am and again at 3pm.
We would like to warmly invite you to come ‘onto the deck’ this week, on the last day your child is attending. As much as the relaxed arrival of the children in the morning is appreciated, the teachers are missing seeing you. And, more selfishly, I do need your signatures on the sign in sheets, before we head off for the term break.
The staff ware quite excited and looking forward to an intense three days of professional development in the middle of the term break. We would love to offer an evening too to the Kindergarten Whanau, on Friday, July 10th.
If there is an interest, Emma Ratcliff would be offering a introduction into her field of working with children. She is an expert in understanding children’s quirks and challenges, working out what the thresholds are they coming up against and how we can help children to grow so they can master the thresholds and the tripping stones they are facing now and the ones inevitably coming up in the future.
Please contact me with your expression of interest for a parent evening on July 10th. This is a wonderful opportunity and I would warmly encourage you to take it up.
For the Rose Ring Kindergartens
From the Board of Trustees
Over the last term you’ll be aware we’ve been operating our drop off/pick up areas quite differently. These changes were initially introduced by all schools as a result of the requirements of the management of the Covid-19 pandemic and then continued on, at the request of our teachers who tell us there have been some advantages for the children’s learning, wellbeing and self -management.
From observations and feedback, the board considers that the new traffic management system appears to be providing a service that works and delivers sufficient benefits for enough people to consider keeping it. We are also conscious of retaining and enhancing the sense of community that is a vital and much valued part of our school and we have some ideas around this including improvements to the Friday Market concept. Our ideal solution however is one that provides all three options 1. a park option, 2. a drive-through option and 3. a safe walking/ biking option. We would also very much like to have a staff carpark if possible. While the current drop-off/pick up changes were initiated in response to COVID-19, it is very timely to be considering this now as parking was becoming increasingly problematic, as we’re sure those frequenting the upper school can attest to.
In working through the process to reach this decision, we’ve sought expert advice from an independent transportation specialist, Tauranga City Council traffic engineers and Travel Safe staff. This has been done to ensure we get things operating as safely and efficiently as possible. The experts have complimented the school on the new system, and praised the behaviour of parents, which we thank you for. Once we have firmed up the plan for moving forward we will be putting it out for feedback. However, a couple of changes to the current system have been suggested, which we plan to implement as soon as practicable. The term break will be used to redesign our parking areas and a new double stacking system for the kindergarten will be employed which will alleviate congestion further up the school. More details about this will be emailed out just before the start of Term 3.
Initially the new arrangements will be organized using temporary traffic management equipment – cones and signs and traffic bars etc because we want to closely monitor, continue to experiment and tweak and of course collect feedback. You will read in the Waldorf Schools (BOP) Trust news that the school architect is also involved in this plan to ensure that anything we do doesn’t get in the way of a building program that is becoming increasingly urgent.
Finally, we’d like to thank you all for the patience and respect and cooperation you’ve shown in working with us to find a solution to what has been a long-time and ever -growing parking problem and deficit – change is never easy. Changes like this are only possible and able to be implemented if we consider the needs of others as being as important as our own. I am proud to be part of community that is modelling these values for our tamariki.
From the Waldorf Schools Trust
It’s a little way back now, but during the Alert level 1 lock down period, the Waldorf Schools (BOP) Trust held its Annual Founders meeting. This is a meeting where the performance of the school, the kindergarten and the Waldorf Schools (BOP) Trust itself is held to scrutiny by the Founders Trust – a group of Trustees who as pioneers are long -time supporters and who collectively carry the ultimate responsibility for our mission as a Waldorf School within the international movement.
The reports from this meeting, which is open to all community members and which this year for the first time was held as an online conference, can all be found on the website on the Waldorf Schools Trust page. If you have questions about how your donations were used to support the children’s learning in the 2019 year you will find all the details and much more here.
Over the lockdown period the Waldorf Schools (BOP) Trust was able to complete a much needed water mains project which now means that we have something like an adequate water supply all over the property with all current buildings now plumbed to the mains rather than to each other. This is part of a strategic upgrade of infrastructure which will in time, allow further and much needed development of the school and kindergarten campus.
Roll growth in both our primary and early childhood sectors has been huge in the last years and the need to upgrade and extend accommodation for both is ongoing. To achieve this in a well -planned and systematic fashion, the Waldorf Schools (BOP) Trust has recently re-engaged our school ‘s architect to complete a whole campus property masterplan which we hope will form the basis of a new development strategy which can take us soundly into the future.
We look forward to sharing the results of this, with you in the next months.
Waldorf Schools (Bay of Plenty) Trust
- Friday 3rd July LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, School ends @ 1pm – Kindergartens ends @ 3 pm – Oscar Programme is closed in the afternoon
- Monday 20th July TEACHER ONLY DAY, School, Rose Ring Kindergartens and Oscar Programme are closed, Rambling Rose Kindergarten operates from the farm, 9am – 3pm for families who need it
- Tuesday 21st July School Term 3 begins, Rose Ring Kindergartens, Rosebud Playgroup and Oscar Programme all return
- Wednesday 22nd July, School Photos 2020
- Thursday 23rd July, School Individual Photos 2020
- Friday 25th September – Last day of Term 3 – Spring Festival