End of term round up
The holiday break has crept up on us fast and here we are at the end of a very solid first term in which a number of learning initiatives have been quietly seeded and are growing very nicely.
Just this last week we watched a very excited and may I say beautifully behaved group of Class 1 children transition to the main school campus after an extra term in the Outdoor Classroom.
We have also watched an unprecedented number of children being given the opportunity to undertake Extra Lesson in a whole new format. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce to the whole community Aliz Hartmann, who is an Extra Lesson teacher. Many of you will have seen her around the traps – either relieving in the kindergarten or working in the school supporting the extra lesson homework and general program.
We are really excited to be trialing small group learning support which will more than double the number of children who will receive what we know to be a very effective and transformative learning foundation program. Aliz’s Waldorf teacher training was undertaken in Hungary where she hails from, and on settling in New Zealand she has taken this further into post graduate studies. We are thrilled to welcome her to the staff and College of Teachers.
The elephant in the room
You have probably noticed the increased supervision we have had on the driveway in the last few weeks. If you have wondered what the extra people and the monitoring with clipboards and cameras is all about, read on. If you are completely bored with this subject just skip down a bit. I totally understand.
Most of you will know the history of our drive through system which we developed in response to Covid Contact and Gathering Restrictions and which, discovering there were some real benefits to it, have kept on. Some of you may remember that we were always going to have to develop some sort of drive-through option as our Education Centre Rules only allows us to have 120 parks on site. With 40+ staff and more than 180 families, you can see the problem.
Another reason we have wanted to keep on with a drive through system is that our neighbour’s at Rangataua Heights have long been concerned about the safety of the old parking system. Parallel parking on our side of the driveway had meant people backing out into traffic which we had to admit caused high risk to both pedestrians and cyclists. So, an agreement to manage walkers and bikers via the adjacent reserve was a good solution and one which has worked well on the whole.
Our neighbours feel though that these new measures, along with the drive through-zones, still do not adequately address their Health and Safety concerns and after an initial period of harmony they are once again agitating. They have issue with the fact that despite our assurances that the driveway will be free of pedestrians, this is not always upheld and they are unhappy about the traffic jams that happen from time to time which frustrates us all but which actually results in impeded access to their own driveway. Which we have to admit is not really fair.
Our Proprietors – the Waldorf Schools (BOP) Trust – have received a letter of complaint from these neighbours which includes a list of demands – some of which are reasonable and some we find a little less so. Given that going forward the driveway is going to need to accommodate even more cars than we currently have – including those from 10 sections in the land currently adjacent to the office block – we are going to have to find a way to live and work with this.
The alternative, which would be highly undesirable to all, is that we, like most other schools, would have to find parking spots around the neighbourhood, in a one kilometre radius from the campus. Given the busyness and narrowness of Welcome Bay Road this would mean many parents parking up at Utopia Heights and the ridge around the school and then walking on down. Quite a trek I am thinking and to be avoided if we can get our system to work.
The things that we can all do that will help are:
- Avoid whenever possible stopping on the neighbour’s side of the driveway (left hand side going up towards the carpark). It cannot always be avoided but we especially ask that you don’t get out of your cars on the driveway on that side which is one of the culprits apparently of the jams that sometimes happens and
- Always drive to the very front of any queue that you are in to ensure we are leaving as much space for others behind us as possible. It might seem sensible to stop close to your child’s classroom but it only takes ten seconds for six more cars to arrive and a blockage to occur.
Our aim is to have no clogging of the main two lane carriageway and a reasonable flow at all times. The Waldorf Schools (BOT) Trust have engaged a lawyer to look at the various issues, rights and responsibilities concerning our shared right of way and we look forward to a clear picture of all these things. In the meantime, it is important that we all cooperate as best we can and try to give as little grief as possible. Thanks so much to you all for your patience and cooperation.
Have a great holiday break. Ka kite