Week 5 -  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.


Happiness For Many of Us Can Be a Choice:


People - particularly of the older generation - often speak fondly of how good things were in the “good old days.”

The reason that everything was better back when everything was worse is that when everything was worse, it was actually possible for people to have experiences that were a pleasant surprise.


Nowadays - the world we live in - there tends to be an an expectation among the well-off that everything should be perfect. Expectations are so high that even great stuff often isn’t seen as being all that great.

I have a different take on it - and yes I am a  “the glass is half full” person.

I think the secret to happiness is:

“Moderate Expectations.”

I am 60 now and I am so lucky. Every day is a good day. Some days are better than others, but every day is a truly good day. I come to work with a smile on my face every day. I come home to my family with a smile on my face every day too. How lucky is that!

Every day when I’m not sick, not stressed, there’s no drama and I don’t have to do a lot of things I don’t like - is a really great day.

We tend to think we need to accomplish all these big things to find happiness, but then we get so wrapped up in them that we forget to take care of the basics. 

  • Do I have a loving family to care for? 
  • Am I able to make a difference for others each day? 
  • Am I healthy?  
  • Am I living within my means?  
  • Do I enjoy my work?  
  • Am I spending my workday with good people? 
  • Plus - A great four-shot Flat White also helps

Wanting to do more, be better, and greater is honourable, and achieving huge goals always comes with a burst of endorphins.

But if you can settle for staying healthy, calm, and not having to do too much stuff you don’t like - that’s how you really win.

An 82-year-life is about 30,000 days. Out of those, probably 27,000 will be unremarkable.

Life’s about learning to love those days. Happiness really is enjoying the little things.


Jump Jam Nationals in Tauranga:


I honestly do not know where to start. The effort, commitment and achievements of our Junior and Senior Jump Jam Teams and their two coaches, Jenna Aalbers and Rebekah King, was off the wall, off the scale, off the hook - whatever phrase you choose, it won’t do justice.

Our two teams trained so hard and long. The effort, thought, creativity and planning that went into their routines and costumes was stunning. I got total goosebumps and shivers down my spine when our teams took the stage. They looked phenomenal! 

Our Junior Team performed “Afro Circus” - they told a story as part of their routine. Their level of creativity surpassed that of all the other teams. The team that won were very tight in their formation and performance, but we really stood out for the variety within the theme, and the creativity within the routine. They achieved an outstanding third place, and we think the difference between third and second must have been a fraction of a point.

Our Senior Team again had continuity within their uniform while also including variety and creativity. Their Year 4 to 6 Xtreme Division was officially described as the toughest, tightest, highest standard competition in the history of Jump Jam competitions. The teams between them received the highest ever number of Distinctions in one event - 23. For the first time ever, six placings were awarded instead of three, and the team that won dropped only one tenth of a point in total.

For our girls to finish third in the toughest competition in the history of Jump Jam is quite unbelievable. 

We did take away some ‘learnings’ as the All Blacks say. We have traditionally repeated our Jump Jam performance at a full school assembly after Nationals. Doing it before Nationals would give our girls experience performing live on a stage - something some had never done before. 

Some schools have full-time choreographers and Jump Jam coaches. We cannot compete with that investment, but we have consistently shown that our own incredibly talented and dedicated part-time coaches can still compete with the best professional coaches out there. I am so proud of Jenna and Rebekah.

I also need to thank our parents for their awesome support and our staff for their brilliant support. We had a huge complement of WHS staff there on Saturday and the teams, coaches and I really appreciated their commitment to our school.

PS - I am not allowed to upload the performance videos to our YouTube Channel but I can upload them to Facebook. Sadly I cannot do a live link video insert into our newsletter for Facebook video posts - only YouTube.

There are two short clips that we were allowed to put on YouTube - live link below.

Also our Facebook links are here:



JumpJam Juniors
JumpJam Seniors

Western Heights Extravaganza - Afro Circus

Jasmine Huang

Athena House

Timo Yelash

Ella Taylor

Sienna Brown

Kayla Ballard

Nikita Karup

Danelle Odendal

Jayda Fuller

Cece Matthes


Western Heights Mavericks - Captain Jack

Piper Ashby

Alexis Laud

Nicole Chang

Danelle Odendal

Ella Taylor

Lyla Dodd

Saqqara Jones

Ella Williams

Sophie Scott


Athletics Sports and Appointing Teachers for 2019:


We will do a full story on these next week - with lots of photos. Typically I will have about 600 photos to sort through for junior athletics and the same for middle/senior athletics. So quite a big job.

I haven’t had as much time to be out sharing in the athletic sports as usual because this week we are observing short-listed job candidates teach, and then conducting interviews prior to deciding on our staffing for next year. 

There are some really tough decisions to be made, but that is a good thing because we have had a huge field of applicants, strong on experience, qualifications and curriculum knowledge. This is one of the main advantages of having such a great reputation as a school - really good teachers really want to come and teach here.


Catch Ups:


PLEASE ALWAYS Move Right to the FRONT of our Drop Off Zone at ALL TIMES!

NO EXCEPTIONS - no stopping by bottom gate or parking on Yellow Lines - PLEASE!

Sushi Yu is available on Mondays.

Their ordering timetable through to the end of this year is:

Monday 18 November

Monday 25 November

Monday 2 December

Monday 9 December - this is the last one for this year

They will start orders again on February 10 next year.

Scholastic Book Orders are due back Friday 22 November.

At Right:  As a follow up to our pieces about Sonia Sole, here is an item written by Bella sharing how much Mrs Sole meant to her.


At Left:  Jessica with a stunning red rose almost as big as she is!


Five Proven Benefits Of Play:


A new paper in the journal Pediatrics summarises the evidence for letting kids let loose. "Play is not frivolous," the paper insists, twice. "It is brain building." The authors — Michael Yogman, Andrew Garner, Jeffrey Hutchinson, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff — ask pediatricians to take an active role by writing a "prescription for play" for their young patients in the first two years of life.


"Play is disappearing," says Hirsh-Pasek, a developmental psychologist who is a professor at Temple University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. By targeting doctors, she explains, the paper hopes to build on the success of a literacy initiative called Reach Out and Read. That program reaches nearly 5 million children annually by giving out children's books at doctor visits. "You have an opportunity there to change behaviour", she says.

Prescribing play for kids? Really?

 It's a sign that "we're living in different times," comments Anthony DeBenedet, a doctor, and co-author of The Art of Roughhousing and the author of Playful Intelligence, who was not involved in the paper. But he calls the article "beautiful" in the way it marshals the hard evidence in favour of climbing trees and talking on banana phones.

Play is, by definition, intrinsically motivated. People and many animals do it just because. But apparently parents and teachers these days need more of a nudge than that to make the space for play. 

So here are some of the research findings that appear in the paper.

  1. Play is essential for healthy brain development.

    In order to grow and develop healthy connections, our brains need plenty of something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. This paper cites studies showing what happened when young rats were allowed to tussle and tumble together. Half an hour of this kind of play actually changed the expression of their genes in a way that promoted the production of BDNF.

  2. Play reduces obesity and associated diseases.

    Toddlers with plenty of chances to run, jump and climb grow into kids who are physically confident and more likely to be active and healthy adults. One study cited in this paper looked at children in Head Start preschools, which serve low-income communities. The young ones who got at least an hour a day of outdoor play showed significant improvement in their body mass indexes. Those who got the most outdoor time were 42 percent less likely to be overweight by the end of the year, with positive associations strongest among children who grew up in the least-safe neighborhoods.

  3. Play helps children manage stress and even recover from trauma.

    This is an emerging area, and "we need much more research," says Hirsh-Pasek. The paper cites animal studies, as well as a study of a yearlong intervention in a preschool. Young children with disruptive behavior were assigned to play regularly, one-on-one with a teacher, with the adult letting the child take the lead. This is an approach known as "banking time," as in storing up warm, relationship-building moments. Compared to a control group, the children showed improved behavior and reduced cortisol, a stress hormone.

  4. Play helps families bond.

    Continuing with the theme of banking time, play is also important for building relationships between parents or other caregivers and kids, Hirsh-Pasek points out. "The conversations with kids that come out in play are brain-builders." And play encourages emotional attunement — getting on the same page, feelings-wise — which in turn can help children learn to regulate their emotions when the cookie crumbles.

  5. Play contributes to academic skills.

    No, everything doesn't have to be about test scores! But play is also good for test scores, says Hirsh-Pasek. This paper argues that at tender ages, improvisational pretend-play, not direct instruction, is what really feeds both language development and general knowledge, not to mention, again, kids' intrinsic motivation. 

Hirsh-Pasek suggests that parents start small. "Playing with blocks for even two minutes helps you use words together. It builds greater STEM learning skills. And I think it benefits parents, too!"


Short Tech Tip = A Weekly Series:


On myfridgefood.com you can put in whatever you have in your fridge and it will tell you everything you can make with it.


Random Fact = A Weekly Series:


Wisdom of Children = A Weekly Series:


Parenting Tip = A Weekly Series:


At Right:  I just had to share this. The United States Nuclear Arsenal is no longer managed by programmes running on Floppy Discs. I’m guessing there are plenty of parents out there who have never even seen a Floppy Disc. 

This isn’t old technology, it’s ancient! I am relieved to hear they have moved on at last.


This is why we love Seesaw - 723 new Learning Samples uploaded this week, 601 Likes from family members and 1,531 parent interactions with those Learning Samples. 

Love the Live Learning in Action.


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


Thursday’s Thoughts:


Kindness is the Key:


On the topic of Kindness, check out this website - Care For Three at        careforthree.com


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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