Week 4 -  Term 4  -  2019

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Calendar of Events -  Term 4:


Kia Ora, Talofa Lava, Malo e Lelei, Bula, Namastē, Namaskar, AyubowanKia Orana, Taloha Ni, Kumusta,  Aloha Mai E, Fakaalofa Lahi Atu, ‘Alii, Malo Ni, Halo Aloketa Aloha, Nī Hāo, Sawatdeekhrap  Sabaidi, Terve, Dobradan, Bonjour, Hola, Guten Tag, Ciao, Salaam, Olā, Zdravstvuyte, Konnichiwa, Ahn Young Ha Se Yo, Hoi, Merhaba, Jambo, Yasou, Shalom, Salamat Siang, Ahoj, Xin Chāo, Sawubona, Bok, Yiassoo, Hej, Dia Dhaoibh, Cham Reap Sour, Hoi, Vanakkam.


Go Confidently In The Direction of Your Dreams:


I have been thinking about what I want to focus on, not as a member of the teaching profession, but as a person.  Here are some of those thoughts:

Find amazing people to surround yourself with.

Trust first by giving others the benefit of the doubt where possible.


The sooner you forgive the sooner you can be healthy inside.

Try to give more than you receive - if the opportunity for a good or kind deed comes along, take it.

If it’s a passion, then commit to it and be true to it.

Teaching is a “people business”, and I believe that there is a considerable need for us to look at ourselves and what we need to be happy if we are inspire those we connect with every day.  Time is a gift and I am going to try to make the most out of every moment by focusing on living better each year, than I did the last.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau


Farewelling Sonia Sole:


Thank you all for your support and understanding regarding many of our staff attending Sonia Sole’s funeral on Tuesday.

Sonia was one of our most dearly beloved reliever teachers and had been a part of our WHS whanau for a great many years. 

I had the honour to share a few words at her funeral, and would like to also share them here.

At a recent Monday morning staff meeting I shared that we had lost one of the bright lights in our Western Heights firmament. It was like a star we had all looked to for inspiration and encouragement had been switched off.


One thing I do know about stars though is that their light takes a long time to travel to us, so even when a star disappears, it’s light continues on.

I take heart from this as I find it hard - as do we all - to come to terms with Sonia no longer being with us.

Sonia was a living expression of light and love, of warmth and generosity, of kindness in action, of compassion and empathy, and beneath it all, a wicked sense of humour.

We loved Sonia. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach - I think that really applies to us all - and while we loved that Sonia fed us with regular, surprise morning teas for the whole staff, we loved her for so much more than that.

Sonia was - and is - family. She was gran to our kids, mum to our staff, and aunty to our community. She brought extra supplies for children, goodies for the staff, and taught us all to love and appreciate poetry.

You’d never imagine Sonia was 81, just like we’d never imagined a time without her with us. Although Sonia has passed, her poetry, her beauty of spirit and her kindness of heart linger on like a light within us.         Thank you Sonia - we love you.


WHS Quiz Night:


What an awesome night this was. Teresa, Kelley, Helen and Teresa’s friend Nat put so much effort into organising sponsorship, prizes and the planning of the event. Teresa’s husband Neil was MC and Quiz Master and did a brilliant job.

We owe a huge debt of thanks to these five people for all their hard work. We raised $4500 towards our Tiger Turf for the courts project and everyone who attended had a great time.

Special thanks to sponsors and all those who donated prizes and items for our hampers.


The top price for a hamper was $450 - a really great price to achieve. 

Congratulations to all our student artists who created some fabulous art to be auctioned.

Thanks to everyone who attended, your support was greatly appreciated.

The winning team were “William Shatner’s Pants”, followed closely by my “Wicked Habits” team and “Hawaii 5-0”. Well done to all teams.


Diwali Celebrations and Visit to MCS:


On Friday our Indian Dance Troupe and the children from room 19 - accompanied by eight hugely supportive mums - travelled by bus to Mangere Central School. They were welcomed with a Powhiri calling them into their school hall. The lighting of the Diwali Lamp began proceedings and our children then performed a number of dances and items.

Riya was a student teacher here last year and now teaches at MCS. She had her own group of dancers and hosted the combined Diwali celebrations.

Maithri was our compēre and stole the show with her energy, enthusiasm and huge personality. They loved her!

MCS made our children very welcome and gave them huge applause and support.

Thanks to everyone involved - to the children, the mums, and to teachers Dana and especially Smita. Smita inspires our children to produce outstanding performances every time!

This was a message from Riya:

I just wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU to you and your school for coming to MCS and showing us your Diwali Spirit. Your performers were amazing, so professional, energetic and confident. I hope that I can put on assembly performances like this in the future.

Many teachers gave me great feedback from your performances as well, especially about your little girl in red (Maithri) who was your speaker, the kids loved her too! 

I hope you enjoyed your time at MCS and we hope to have you back again in the future 😊

 Diwali Performance MCS 

Below are photos from our own Diwali Celebrations at WHS last week.


GLEE Club Preparations:


Our GLEE club are busy preparing for their performance on Thursday 28th November.

A group of GLEE students had the opportunity to record their song professionally in makeshift recording studio. A huge thank you to Neil Watson for giving up his time and bringing in the resources to make this possible. In case you didn’t know Neil is our lovely Isla Noakes' husband. 


Catch Ups:

Please ALWAYS drive to the top of the zone to drop off your children. The bottom gate is a yellow line - no stopping, no dropping - zone.

Also be alert - if you are on your phone you are not aware of children in the zone or of cars moving up.

I try to be out there every morning and afternoon. Your help would make a huge difference to everyone’s safety - and sanity. Thanks.

Sun Smart - Play Smart:


Summer seems to have arrived with a bit of a heat-wave. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, so we really do need to take sun-safety seriously.

In terms four and one we expect children to wear a hat when outside. Ideally a wide-brim hat or a bucket hat. Caps are better than nothing but they don’t protect the neck and ears.

No hat means play in the shade - your support in helping get this message through to all our children will be appreciated.

I will be talking with our Board of Trustees at our next meeting to look at ways we can support and encourage our children to wear hats. One possibility is subsidising or purchasing school hats for children. We will keep you informed.


Starting Later Is Key:


In New Zealand our children CAN start school at age five, but do not HAVE to start school until age six. In many high-performing countries, children do not start school until seven, and in some boys do not HAVE to start until age eight. Their pre-schools are focused on play and provocations - questions, activities and challenges that inspire and ‘provoke’ learning.


In England children now start formal schooling, and the formal teaching of literacy and numeracy at the age of four. A letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal ‘schooling’ in England from the current effective start until the age of seven (in line with a number of other European countries who currently have higher levels of academic achievement and child well-being).

This is a brief review of the relevant research evidence which overwhelmingly supports a later start to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences to children’s development as learners, and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age.

There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies. 

Anthropological studies of children’s play in extant hunter-gatherer societies, and evolutionary psychology studies of play in the young of other mammalian species, have identified play as an adaptation which evolved in early human social groups. It enabled humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers. Neuroscientific studies have shown that playful activity leads to synaptic growth, particularly in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for all the uniquely human higher mental functions.

In my own area of experimental and developmental psychology, studies have also consistently demonstrated the superior learning and motivation arising from playful, as opposed to instructional, approaches to learning in children. 

Pretence play supports children’s early development of symbolic representational skills, including those of literacy, more powerfully than direct instruction. Physical, constructional and social play supports children in developing their skills of intellectual and emotional ‘self-regulation’, skills which have been shown to be crucial in early learning and development. 

Perhaps most worrying, a number of studies have documented the loss of play opportunities for children over the second half of the 20th century and demonstrated a clear link with increased indicators of stress and mental health problems.

Within educational research, a number of longitudinal studies have demonstrated superior academic, motivational and well-being outcomes for children who had attended child- initiated, play-based pre-school programmes. One particular study of 3,000 children across England, funded by the Department for Education themselves, showed that an extended period of high quality, play-based pre-school education was of particular advantage to children from disadvantaged households.

Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. 

By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later. 

In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously.


Lotomalosi’s Sportsmanship Award:


At right:  Malosi won the Gleora League Club ‘Best Sportsmanship’ award for the Under 8 ‘Destroyers’.

Well done Malosi.

Speaking of Well Done and League - awesome, awesome achievement by Tonga in beating Australia in the rugby league on Saturday night. 

Mate Ma’a Tonga!


And to finish with the Well Dones, Well Done South Africa for an outstanding win in the Final of the World Cup. Worthy Champions!

As a side note, the speech by the winning captain Sia Kolesi was the most humble and inspiring speeches by a sports captain I have ever heard.


Short Tech Tip = A Weekly Series:


Instant image search (Chrome only) If you hold down the "S" key and right click on an image, it will open an image search on a new tab.


Random Fact = A Weekly Series:


Wisdom of Children = A Weekly Series:


Parenting Tip = A Weekly Series:

Good luck to our two Jump Jam teams competing at the Nationals in Tauranga this Saturday. 
Thanks to everyone who has supported our teams and HUGE thanks to Jenna Aalbers and Rebekah King for all their awesome work with our teams.

Free ice skating!

Get your skates on at Westgate Shopping Centre’s free ice skating rink.

Sat 7 – Sun 20 December.

11am to 6pm daily.

Find out more at westgate.kiwi


David Pogue’s Life Hacks - A Series - Food Tips:


Thursday’s Thoughts:


Kindness is the Key:


Cats and Dogs This Week:


Signs of the Times:


Western Heights School

126 Sturges Road


Auckland 0612

P -  09 8361213

E -  macash@mac.com

M - 021 779 009

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