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Week 10, Term 2, 2018

Kōtare & Tūi children working together

The number of children in our Kōtare whānau has risen to nearly 30, and next term there will be a steady stream of new children arriving, starting on the first day.  As our Kōtare classroom layout makes it difficult to work with such numbers, we have decided that a group of Kōtare children will work with our Tūi whānau during Terms 3 and 4, for part of each day.

There are currently only 51 children in Whānau Tūi, which means there is plenty of space for a group from  Kōtare. Even with the extra children in the morning there will still be less children overall than there were in this area during 2017.

The 13 Kōtare children will continue to start each day in Room 5 and will go to Room 1 at 9.20am for reading, writing and maths.  They will return to Room 5 at 12.20pm, and stay with their Kōtare teachers for the afternoon. The Kōtare children have been spread between the 3 Tūi homegroup teachers who will now share responsibility for their learning and wellbeing with the Kōtare teachers. Teachers from Tūi and Kōtare have worked together to align their timetables and will continue to collaborate to ensure that transition times run smoothly.  

There have been some changes to the learning programme in Whānau Tūi to accommodate the Kōtare children.  Mrs Campbell will now take a literacy group each day from Monday - Thursday, which means that there will be 4 teachers working in the space every morning.  This gives a ratio of 1 teacher to every 17 children, which is well below the ministry funding ratio and will provide all of our children with extensive opportunities to work closely with an expert teacher.  

At Ridgway School we choose not to move children from one homegroup to another during the school year, despite this being common practice in many schools for Year 1 children.  We believe that it is important for children to have strong relationships with teachers, in order that they are well understood and catered for in both their academic learning and emotional wellbeing.  We do however, frequently organise for children to work in various spaces with different teachers. This allows children time to get to know a range of teachers and benefit from the varied strengths that different teachers bring to each whānau.  We want our Kōtare children to maintain their strong relationships with Ms Weren and Ms Hanify, and also with their friends who will remain working in Rooms 4 and 5. Spending the afternoon with Kōtare will enable these important relationships to be maintained at the same time that new ones are being built with Tūi teachers.  Keep in mind also that many of our Year 2 children in Tūi already know children from the group that will work in both spaces as they were in Kōtare together last year.

We have absolute confidence that our Kōtare-Tūi organisation is the best solution to the unique set of circumstances we are currently experiencing.  It is to be expected that there could be some initial worries for some children as they adjust to the change. This is completely normal and they will quickly adapt with encouragement and more positive experiences. As with any concern or question you may have, please don’t hesitate to speak with your child’s homegroup teacher(s) or to chat with me.

Do enjoy the school holiday break with your children.  Stay warm and read lots of books together.

Kathryn Smith

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