Week 2 -  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.


This Week’s Thoughts:


This Friday at our Whanau Time Assembly we celebrate Diwali - the Festival of Lights.

Diwali is about goodness, peace, kindness and empathy. Empathy is about understanding how others think and feel.

When we understand this we will have respect - because we understand.


Empathy and understanding lead to action.  Diwali is all about - goodness and kindness in action. This is also what WHS is all about - it’s how we Love to Learn to Lead - by being Kind and by Paying it Forward.

So Happy Diwali - Shush Deepavali -  to ALL our WHS community.


More Building Updates:


We have been promised we will have four additional - but temporary - classrooms installed and ready to be used by the start of term one, 2020. This is great news because our school roll is already at over 720 children. Our predicted roll for 2020 is 722, but I am confident we will go past that next year. By 2023 we are officially predicted to hit 850 students - requiring 11 more classrooms than we currently have.

By taking temporary classrooms, we have given ourselves time to undertake a longer term project of building four new permanent classrooms. This will be a two year project realistically, so I am going to be pushing hard for a two story, eight classroom block to be built that will accommodate our rapidly growing roll, and accommodate the actual numbers we are predicted to have by the time the project is due to be completed.

At the same time, we are upgrading our middle school classrooms - at three rooms per year - starting with rooms 16, 17 and 18. This is due to happen over the Christmas period, but we know it will take longer than hoped. Realistically, this means rooms 16, 17 and 18 will have to be housed elsewhere for four to six weeks at the start of the year. Fortunately we will be able to move four year two classes into the new long term-temporary rooms. This will free up some rooms for 16, 17 and 18. When they move out, the rooms they were in can be used for our ever expanding cohort of year one classes.

 It may sound confusing, but we are confident it will all work, providing those four long term-temporary classrooms are ready to go as of day one -  Monday February 3 - 2020.


NZ Prime Minister’s Scholarship Award for Jenna Aalbers:


This is big news and we are incredibly proud of Jenna for winning this prestigious scholarship award. 

Some background information: 

The scholarship aims to:

  • Strengthen New Zealand institutions’ connections with their counterparts in key Asian countries

  • Promote understanding of the strength and quality of New Zealand’s education system and raise awareness of New Zealand as a preferred education destination

  • Improve the international skills of the New Zealand workforce

  • Strengthen people-to-people connections between New Zealand and countries in Asia through participants building lifelong friendships and networks.

  • Strengthen New Zealand’s ability to engage with key trading partners

  • Improve New Zealanders’ understanding of key trading partner’s business practice and culture                                                      


Long-term outcomes of the scholarship – we want Prime Minister’s Scholarship recipients:

  • Applying their skills, knowledge and abilities; embracing different cultural contexts and developing as genuine, respectful global citizens, and;

  • Using their skills, knowledge and networks to contribute to engagement and cooperation between New Zealand and key trading partners


Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and whose study programme clearly meets the goals and requirements of the scholarship will additionally be expected to display academic strengths and personal attributes such as independence, initiative, maturity, and confidence, plus: 

  • The potential to succeed in academic study abroad

  • The ability to represent New Zealand (and, where relevant, their home institution) positively; particularly the quality of a New Zealand education experience

  • And most importantly - be willing and prepared to put into practice the aims of the scholarship.

Jenna will be travelling to India at the end of this year to take up this scholarship award. It will be a life-changing experience for her I am sure.


Champs Again:


I doubt there would be any primary  school in New Zealand that could come close to matching our recent run of sporting success. New Zealand Champions in Rippa Rugby and Jump Jam. North Island Champions in Jump Jam, Auckland Rugby Champions two years in a row, Festival Rippa Champs, Zone Champs in Softball, Rugby, Touch and Athletics and runners up in Cross Country and Swimming. Zone  winners in Netball and football, and winning teams in the Saturday netball competition -  the list goes on and on and on.

Now we have won the Zone Touch Champs yet again in 2019 - for the fourth year in a row!. 

Our Girls team finished third - a great effort. Our Boys B team finished fifth - another great effort. Our Boys A team  won all eight of their games, scoring over 50 touchdowns and only conceding one against!

As Coach Jamie commented, a great way to farewell some special boys and girls as they head to Intermediate School.

Huge congratulations to all our teams who competed , and to our overall Champion A Team. Thanks Hannah Hollands for the photos. Thanks Nuree and Tim and Jamie Laufiso for the coaching. You are all awesome and our children are so fortunate to work and train with you!


Being Kind to Animals - Room 15 Supporting the SPCA:


This year as a Pay it Forward Room 6, 9 and 15 chose to support the SPCA as their Annual Pay it Forward Project. We put posters around the school and Zoe Bourchier wrote an appeal in the Western Heights newsletter to collect blankets and sheets for the SPCA. Furthermore we used the SPCA Education resources to learn more about the SPCA itself and the fantastic work they do. One of the things they have is instructions and videos on how to make toys for the animals. Room 15 studied these and became ‘experts’ at certain toys. We then set up a day with the Juniors in Room 6 and 9 and the older kids taught the younger kids how to make the various toys at stations.

The SPCA had heard about what we were doing and gifted Room 6, 9 and 15 a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ and stickers each. When Zoe dropped of the collected blankets and toys the SPCA was most appreciative of the collection and told Zoe that the toys arrived at the perfect time as it is kitten season at the moment.

A huge Thank You to everyone that donated or supported us in our Pay it Forward this year! Sincerely Room 6,9 and 15


Catch Ups:


Please Note:

School Photo Orders are due back by 8 November please.


Early Academic Training Can Harm Kids In The Long Term:


“Children must master the language of things before they master the language of words.” – Friedrich Froebel, founder of kindergartens, 1837

I remember a friend of mine who taught English to 6-7 year old Italian kids. She was constantly plagued by parents who kept insisting that the children should learn something about English grammar. They did not realize that their children did not yet have the logical and reasoning capacities in their brains to get their heads around functions of nouns, verbs and tenses. My friend tried explaining this to the parents but they were never really convinced. Fortunately my friend refused to give in and the kids went on learning English through playing, games, singing and drawing.


You can see the parents’ agenda, though. Their faulty reasoning is that the earlier you start getting your head round all the academic stuff, the better you will be and the greater progress you will make. They want them starting earlier and earlier on letters, numbers, homework and worksheets.

Research does not back Standardised Grades to be reached by Standardised Ages:

Most research shows that these parents are totally wrong. The situation is not helped by the fact that Common Core Standards set down by the US education authorities require that children should start reading and math early on. But language and literacy games and experiences are the activities which can lay the foundations for children to become expert readers. Why start too early?

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.”- G.K. Chesterton

A 1930s experiment which is still valid today

L.P.Benezet was a schools superintendent who conducted very interesting experiments in the 1930s in Manchester, New Hampshire. He asked some teachers to drop arithmetic from grades 1 to 5.

”For some years, I had noticed that the effect of the early introduction of arithmetic had been to dull and almost chloroform the child’s reasoning faculties.” – L.P. Benezet

This was an outrageous suggestion at the time. The results were astounding though. Children who had abandoned arithmetic were taught to count and measure things. Children were also asked to talk about topics that interested them rather than reciting things they had learned by heart. The idea was to give them hands on experience with numbers, but also to communicate and reason logically.

By the time of the sixth grade, those children who had been in the experimental classes were doing much better on tests of story problems and had a much better understanding of numbers and measurement. They were not doing too well on the standard arithmetic tests but they soon caught up. They were also still much further advanced on the story problems by the end of the sixth grade.

German educationalists were wary before implementing change

It is fascinating also to look what happened in Germany more recently in the 1970s. There was a proposal that the school curriculum should be modified. There were suggestions that there was too much emphasis on learning through play in the kindergartens. Legislators and educationalists were thinking of moving to a more instruction based syllabus. But first, they wanted to carry out an experiment.

They involved over 100 kindergartens. Half of these were to use more academic type instruction while the other half were to continue basing everything on play. No prizes for guessing which children came out on top. Those who studied through play did better on reading and math tests by grade four and they were better at coping with social and emotional challenges. As a result of this experiment and others, it was decided to hold back on academic instruction in the early years of education.

Let the children play

Pediatricians and educationalists are now convinced, more than ever, that play is essential part of a child’s development as a whole person and is an important element in the happiness and well-being of each and every child. This has been borne out by numerous research studies and also advocated by the great educationalists such as Maria Montessori and Jean Piaget.

It is crucial that child playtime is not reduced in the kindergarten or pre-school stages and also not overwhelmed by screen time or early academic training. Let the children play and learn!

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers


Short Tech Tip = A Weekly Series:


Delete an entire word Instead of deleting a single letter, pressing Ctrl + Backspace will delete the entire word behind the cursor. This makes deleting text quicker if you mess up a whole word.


Random Fact = A Weekly Series:


Wisdom of Children = A Weekly Series:


Parenting Tip = A Weekly Series:


Bruce McLaren Intermediate School 

 All enrolments for 2020 need to be in to our school office by Friday, 1st November. If you need enrolment forms, please call the school office on 836-3175 or visit our school website: www.brucemclaren.school.nz

The due date for Scholastic books is Friday 25 October.

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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Ash Maindonald



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