Week 3 -  Term 4  -  2019

View Online

Visit    https://goo.gl/JATwKZ    to follow  Whanau Time live. 


WHS YouTube  with 109 school videos https://goo.gl/OECvhD


Click on the Calendar icon for our Live Community Calendar


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.


This Week’s Thoughts:


Taken from a speech Former US Naval Admiral and Navy Seal trainer William H. McRaven gave at the University of Texas in Austin in 2014.

"If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.


It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.

Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in the life matter.

If you can't do the little things right, you will never be able to do the big things right.

If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made.

And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better."


Farewell Sonia:


Many of you will have known one of our longest-serving and most beloved reliever teachers, Sonia Sole. 

Sonia was one of the most popular relievers we had here. She always brought extra supplies for her children to use and had wonderful stories and resources to make her lessons interesting and engaging.

Poetry was a favourite of hers and children under her guidance had their creativity awoken and wrote beautiful poems of their own.

Sonia loved our children and our staff whanau. She would bring in a special morning tea for all the staff about once a term, just to show her appreciation for her WHS whanau. She had a great sense of humour and was as kind and caring as anyone I have met.


At our Monday Morning Communication meeting I described it as we lost a bright light in our Western Heights firmament. Sonia will be much missed by us all.


Sonia had been fighting cancer for 19 years, sadly this year the cancer became aggressive and this past weekend Sonia passed away.

One staff member told how when she shared that news with her high school daughter, her daughter burst in tears, she had loved Sonya as a reliever teacher that much. 

I think that sums Sonia up well. She meant so much to us all.

Sonia’s funeral is next Tuesday at 12:30pm at Morrison’s Funeral Home in Henderson. About half our staff will be attending. This means classes will be doubled up for the afternoon. We apologise for the inconvenience. If parents are not working and it is convenient for you to collect your child early at 11:45 on Tuesday, you are welcome to do so. Your child’s teacher would need to be informed so we have a clear record of who will be here and who won’t though please.


Diwali Assembly:


Rooms 9 and 19 put on a stunning Diwali Whanau Time Assembly last Friday. It featured a drama, piano and singing, three dances, costumes, ceremonial lighting of the Diwali Light and so much more.

A huge congratulations to the children and their teachers - Mrs D' Lima and Ms Leaning. Also huge thanks to the mums and dad who did so much to make it all come together.

This Friday the children from Mrs D’ Lima’s Indian Dance Groups and her class will be travelling to Mangere Central School to perform at their Diwali Celebration Assembly. It should be a very special occasion.

Below are some screenshots taken from the video of our Diwali Assembly. The photo quality is therefore lower than usual - apologies. However, there is a link to the whole Whanau Time video from our LiveStream to Facebook  - now uploaded to our YouTube channel - should you want to view it. Enjoy.

PS:  Next week we will have lots more Diwali Celebration photos to share.

 Diwali Celebration Whanau Time - Rooms 9 and 19 - 25 October 2019 

Kindness in Action - Thanks to Julie Grant and her Mum:


Hi Mr Maindonald,

I just wanted to share this picture with you!

I am a Midwife at Waitakere Hospital.

My daughter Thea Green is in room 3 with the lovely Miss Grant. Miss Grant and her beautiful mum spent the whole school holidays knitting gorgeous blankets, booties and hats for the babies who need to have a stay in our Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). 

About 15% of babies born on our ward need some extra help with breathing, glucose monitoring etc. These beautiful items will be donated to the bubbas and their families. SCBU Waitakere want to extend a big thank you to Miss Grant, her mum and  Western Heights Primary School for such a thoughtful and special gift!

We are so grateful :)

Kind regards 

Nikki Green


Catch Ups:


Below -  Westie Rocks are becoming quite a “thing”. It is so cool to see our children out and about, active and exploring and having fun in our community.


Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm - Part Two:


Many preschool and kindergarten teachers have told me that they are extremely upset— some to the point of being ready to resign—by the increased pressure on them to teach academic skills to little children and regularly test them on such skills. They can see firsthand the unhappiness generated, and they suspect that the children would be learning much more useful lessons through playing, exploring, and socializing, as they did in traditional nursery schools and kindergartens. Their suspicions are well validated by research studies.


A number of well-controlled studies have compared the effects of academically oriented early education classrooms with those of play-based classrooms (some of which are reviewed here, in an article by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn McLaughlin,and Joan Almon). [1] 

The results are quite consistent from study to study: 

Early academic training somewhat increases children’s immediate scores on the specific tests that the training is aimed at (no surprise), but these initial gains wash out within 1 to 3 years and, in some studies, are eventually reversed. Perhaps more tragic than the lack of long-term academic advantage of early academic instruction is evidence that such instruction can produce long-term harm, especially in the realms of social and emotional development.

A Large-Scale Study of Children from Poverty in the United States

Similar studies in the United States have produced comparable results. One study, directed by Rebecca Marcon, focused on mostly African American children from high-poverty families.[3] 

As expected, she found—in her sample of 343 students--that those who attended preschools centered on academic training showed initial academic advantages over those who attended play-based preschools; but, by the end of fourth grade, these initial advantages were reversed: 

The children from the play-based preschools were now performing better, getting significantly higher school grades, than were those from the academic preschools. This study included no assessment of social and emotional development.

An Experiment in Which Children from Poverty Were Followed up to Age 23

In a well-controlled experiment, begun by David Weikart and his colleagues in 1967, sixty eight high-poverty children living in Ypsilanti, Michigan, were assigned to one of three types of nursery schools: 

  • Traditional (play-based)

  • High/Scope (which was like the traditional but involved more adult guidance)

  • Direct Instruction (where the focus was on teaching reading, writing, and math, using worksheets and tests).

 The assignment was done in a semi-random way, designed to ensure that the three groups were initially matched on all available measures. In addition to the daily preschool experiences, the experiment also included a home visit every two weeks, aimed at instructing parents in how to help their children. These visits focused on the same sorts of methods as did the preschool classrooms. Thus, home visits from the Traditional classrooms focused on the value of play and socialization while those from the Direct-Instruction classrooms focused on academic skills, worksheets, and the like.

The initial results of this experiment were similar to those of other such studies. Those in the direct-instruction group showed early academic gains, which soon vanished. This study, however, also included follow-up research when the participants were 15 years old and again when they were 23 years old. At these ages there were no significant differences among the groups in academic achievement, but large, significant differences in social and emotional characteristics.

By age 15 those in the Direct Instruction group had committed, on average, more than twice as many “acts of misconduct” than had those in the other two groups. At age 23, as young adults, the differences were even more dramatic. 

Those in the Direct Instruction group had more instances of friction with other people, were more likely to have shown evidence of emotional impairment, were less likely to be married and living with their spouse, and were far more likely to have committed a crime than were those in the other two groups. In fact, by age 23, 39% of those in the Direct Instruction group had felony arrest records compared to an average of 13.5% in the other two groups; and 19% of the Direct Instruction group had been cited for assault with a dangerous weapon compared with 0% in the other two groups. [4]

What might account for such dramatic long-term effects of type of preschool attended? 

One possibility is that the initial school experience sets the stage for later behavior. Those in classrooms where they learned to plan their own activities, to play with others, and to negotiate differences may have developed lifelong patterns of personal responsibility and pro-social behaviour that served them well throughout their childhood and early adulthood. 

Those in classrooms that emphasised academic performance may have developed lifelong patterns aimed at achievement, and getting ahead, which—especially in the context of poverty—could lead to friction with others and even to crime (as a misguided means of getting ahead).

I suspect that the biweekly home visits played a meaningful role. The parents of those in the classrooms that focused on play, socialisation, and student initiative may have developed parenting styles that continued to reinforce those values and skills as the children were growing up, and the parents of those in the academic training group may have developed parenting styles more focused on personal achievement (narrowly defined) and self-cantered values—values that did not bode well for real-world success.


[1] Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, & Joan Wolfsheimer Almon. (2015). Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose. Published online by the Alliance for Childhood. http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/sites/allianceforchildhood.org/files...

[2] Linda Darling-Hammond and J. Snyder. 1992. “Curriculum Studies and the Traditions of Inquiry: The Scientific Tradition.” Edited by Philip W Jackson. Handbook of Research on Curriculum. MacMillan. pp. 41-78.

[3] R. A. Marcon, 2002. “Moving up the grades: Relationship between preschool model and later school success.” Early Childhood Research & Practice 4(1). http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n1/marcon.html.

[4] Larry J. Schweinhart and D. P. Weikart. 1997. “The High/Scope Pre- school Curriculum Comparison Study through age 23.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 12. pp. 117-143.


Short Tech Tip = A Weekly Series:


If you type any flight number on Google, you can see exactly where the plane is.


Random Fact = A Weekly Series:


Wisdom of Children = A Weekly Series:


Parenting Tip = A Weekly Series:


Dhwani dancing at  the Aotea centre on Diwali festival .

Dhwani dancing at Aotea centre on Diwali festival .

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

Office eMail



Update Email Address


View Online


As part of our ongoing initiative to move towards Zero Waste, we no longer send home printed newsletters. This way of keeping you in touch with our school is mobile friendly and enviro-friendly.


Should you not want to receive our newsletter via email, please click the Unsubscribe link above.


Ash Maindonald



Thank you for reading our newsletter.

Thank you for supporting our awesome school and wonderful teachers.

Direct Mail for Mac This email is powered by Direct Mail for Mac. Learn MoreReport Spam