Parent Workshops

Parent Connection Point Info 19/09/18
On Wednesday 19th of September we had a parent info session where we covered some of what you can expect in Autahi.  Please find the slides here.

Some of you had some questions around what you can do in preparation for your children starting school.  Much of what you can do at home to prepare your children for school is to start giving them responsibilities and building independence around their things and those responsibilities.  Here are a few things that you can start doing to help prepare them:
1. Let your child practise putting on and zipping up their own jackets
2. Give them time to practise putting things into a school bag and zipping it up themselves
3. Start teaching them how to tie their shoes (or get velcro!)
4. Read to them
5. Start practising writing their name and identifying their name 
6. Remind them that none of us can do EVERYTHING, but ALL of us can do something--start to instil the idea that we are learning something. 

These are just a few ideas but will be helpful for your child/ren starting school with a small amount of independence. 
Thanks again for those who made it and for those who couldn't, please look at the slides and let me know if you have any questions!

Parent Connection Point 21st March, 2018

A few weeks ago we had a parent information session with Term 1 and 2 families.  It was a lovely opportunity to get together, meet other families and get a general overview of the priorities in Autahi, what early literacy and numeracy look like and what that can look like at home. I also asked parents a few questions around hopes for their children, passions they might like to share and if there was anything they were uncertain about.

In looking at parents' hopes for the first year of school, the resounding response was around confidence in themselves and as learners and building relationships.  This is fantastic as it so closely aligns with our Positive Ed curriculum and our focus on the whole child.  Throughout the year we continually focus on the different realms of the Positive Education model, looking at positive relationships, emotions, purpose, accomplishments, health and engagement. And we often explore these ideas through the lens of our character strengths.
Image result for positive education model
We had some feedback on how transition has been going so far and what aspects of the program have been working well. 

There was an opportunity for parents to share some of their strengths and how they might like to help in the class.

We had an opportunity to share anything we were uncertain about.

We also ran through information on the program, looking at Positive Education, inquiry and play all the way through to general overviews of early literacy and numeracy.  You can access the slides here: Autahi 

It was a lovely opportunity to meet new parents and share how Autahi functions.  If you missed out, please follow the above link to read the information and if you have any feedback or questions you can email at:
Parent Connection Point March 1st, 2017
For those of you who were able to make it to today's workshop, thank you very much.  For those that couldn't make it, here is a rundown of what we covered. 

If you missed out and would like to add to any of these posters please either email me at: or comment on the blog.

Our workshop today looked at early literacy and what that means for us at school and at home.  Please follow this link to a slideshow that covers that content:
Early Literacy

We also discussed the learner attributes and our bigger concepts that we cover through our inquiry. These are at the end of the slideshow above.  Our big inquiry this year is around 'power' and we have been looking at that through the lens of our power to make or break someone's day and our power as learners to grow our brains and keep on going. 

Some big things to note about us is that we learn through play, discovery and experiences.  This means that we aren't usually sitting at tables, quietly working--there is a place for that too--but we are inquiring and actively seeking out new knowledge.  

Please stay connected and if you have questions, let me know! 
Thanks again,

Parent Workshop--Transition to Tautoru and Literacy
We had a parent workshop a few weeks ago.  We talked about our literacy program and how it varies within the class and our transition program.
  • Every Friday we have been transitioning into Tautoru.  Children are having an opportunity to work with different children and get to know their new teachers. 
  • Children are working through different curriculum areas so that teachers have the opportunity to see where they have strengths and where their needs are. 
  • The junior block will be working closely together next year and many of the systems and routines will carry through both spaces.  
  • We have been having lots of fun and are getting to know what it will be like next year! 
  • Children beginning school spend a lot of time building up their foundation literacy skills by participating in shared readings of poems and big books.  We work on alphabet knowledge and letter/sound matching activities. We work on building their bank of high-frequency words (rocket words).  Reading at home should not be stressful.  Suggested activities: searching for rocket words, practising them in fun and engaging ways.  Reading poems and favourite books, being read to.  Children working on these skills will bring a variety of reading materials home: poems, some early readers, and their pixelhouse reading matrix (this is also on our blog).
  • Children who have been at school for longer and have a solid grasp of the basics explore more challenging readers.  They also read poems which look at high frequency words, spelling patterns and blends. As the texts get harder, there may be fewer given in a week as some may be read for more than one day or may be used to explore a variety of comprehension skills.  When they finish being able to instantly recognise lists 1-5, they transition to spelling rockets. We have been trialling Spell-Write-Online and are hoping for your feedback to let us know what you think!

Earlier this term we had a parent workshop in which we discussed writing and specifically 'the helping circle'.  As a staff we have been undergoing professional development with Sally Muir this year around writing.  One of the tools she has shared with us and that is being used across the spaces is 'the helping circle'. 
 The helping circle is described as:
the whole class team assembles in a ‘helping circle’, usually at the beginning or
end of a writing session, so that writers can share their work and consider the
effect of the writing and what might improve it. After receiving an initial
response, the writer will expect some specific feedback about the effect of the
writing and the choices made. Over time, as students gain confidence and success
in the Helping Circle they will also expect to be helped, questioned, nudged and
challenged to improve. Initially the teacher takes the lead, modelling the
expectations of the helping circle and establishing protocols around language
that builds confidence and skills in developing writers. As students are guided to
respond competently and confidently, the responsibility shifts more to the
students themselves for response and help. They become less dependent on the
teacher and more confident in using the community of writers within the
Loane/Muir ‘I’ve Got Something to Say’

In Autahi our helping circles range from sharing what we've written and looking at the direction we write in to checking for capital letters and full stops and even to adding in more interesting vocabulary and beginning to edit on our own.  

Last week we had our parent workshop. 
Thank you to all of the parents that were able to make it. For those that couldn't, here is a summary of what we covered.

First we asked for some feedback about what was going well so far.  
This is what we got: people have been enjoying Rising 5s, our transition to school, how children are making friends within our class and the use of praise and incentives to keep motivation up. 

We asked for feedback for ways we could improve the start to school.  We really appreciate the feedback.  
Some of the suggestions included: having buddies with older students, having more visits to school before children start and having more "real" class activities during Rising 5s. 

Next we addressed questions. 
The themes: people were a bit uncertain about homework and the role parents play in that, reading at home, how kids learn to write and how friendships are encouraged.  

Our responses: Fortunately, some of the suggestions are things that we already do! 
  • We have got senior buddies who come in a few times a week to do buddy reading and writing with our new children.  This has proven to be really helpful for children when on the playground because they know some of the big kids around! 
  • Children starting school are invited to attend Rising 5s afternoons for 2 terms before they start and can make a minimum of 2 school visits--more visits are welcome if you feel your child needs it and all you need to do is come see us.
  • Rising 5s is our developmental discovery time in which we have a variety of activities that we do have out during normal class time as well. School visits provide more guided instruction.
  •  Homework shouldn't be stressful! We are trying to encourage reading--this can be done by reading together, being read to or children reading to you. 
  • Other homework includes exploring and practising their rocket words--these are high frequency words--and we encourage trying to do this in fun ways--chalk, shaving cream, glitter.
  • Here is a link to the presentation we shared and it includes more information around early literacy in the classroom: Early Literacy Presentation Link 
What next: At the beginning of next term we will be inviting you to some Coffee Connection mornings to connect with other parents in our space and address anything you're still unsure about.   We will also be conducting more parent workshops. Watch this space for dates! As always, if you're unsure about anything please send us an email or come see us.

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