programme is integral for children to learn to become proficient writers. From time to time, extra one-off homework tasks may be set.
Children at Kiwitahi School are split into two houses: Kikorangi House and Kowhai House. The houses are created to develop the delivery of the arts at Kiwitahi School, and also to create a strong reward and competition system. Sometimes, siblings will be paired in the same house, sometimes they will be split. Each house competes for house points for good behaviour, good work, good manners. There are also bonus points that can be scored during our regular house competitions. The house with the highest number of house points at the end of the year will be awarded the Kiwitahi House Cup for Most House Points during our end-of-year prizegiving.
The WiFi internet supplied at Kiwitahi School is provided by the government-funded Network for Learning (N4L). N4L comes with built-in browsing safeguards that prevent children from accessing inappropriate material whilst at school. Each child has access to an iPad, and each iPad is managed through a central computer that has further blocks to prevent children working around the internet safeguards. We teach children safe internet habits and work with parents to strengthen this at home, too. We also talk to children about the importance of seeking permission from others when taking photos or videos, and about fact-checking information that has been sourced from the internet.
The Kiwitahi Hall is a community resource not attached to the school. The school is fortunate to be able to use the Hall for a variety of events (prizegiving, performances, discos, etc.). However, the Hall is not managed by the school. For information on hall hireage, contact the Kiwitahi Hall Committee.
Launchpad (formally known as Bibles in Schools) is taught to children on a Wednesday afternoon in the library. In accordance with policy, this is an opt-in additional aspect of what is on offer at Kiwitahi School. No child is left out or ostracised if they do not take part in Launchpad lessons. Regular and resounding community feedback shows strong support for Launchpad to continue at Kiwitahi School.
We have a beautiful and well-stocked library. Each week, the children are taken for a formal library session with their teacher. During this time, they are able to select two books that they can issue. These can be issued for two weeks, kept at school or taken home. No more books can be issued until the others are returned. The library is overseen by senior pupils who are elected as librarians. The library is also available at break times and lunch times for children who wish to read quietly.
Prescription medicine can be administered at school providing parents have completed a Medicine Authority form. Dosage and regularity will be recorded in the medicine notebook which is housed in the office with the medicines. Paracetamol can be administered to children whose parents have selected this option upon enrolment. If paracetamol is administered, parents will always be informed.
We are privileged to have Mrs Jane Fergusson who visits our school on Thursdays to teach piano and guitar lessons. These lessons, whilst they occur during school hours, are in fact not part of the curriculum delivery at Kiwitahi School. Therefore, parents must pay for these lessons. The pupils learn to play their instruments to a proficient level. Feedback from parents is that these lessons are very worthwhile. The musicians also have opportunities to perform their learning in front of the school and invite parents from time to time.
We ask that parents label all of their children’s clothing. This helps us to find the right owner when clothing inevitably gets lost. There is a lost property box at the front of school which is regularly checked. However, we encourage children to take responsibility for themselves and their own belongings, first and foremost. Lost property that has not been collected for a month or more may be added to our spare clothing collection, or donated to Hospice.
We encourage healthy eating at Kiwitahi School. It is expected that all children will have a healthy lunch provided to their children each day. We ask parents to limit the number of salty or sugary foods and also ask that children only bring water to drink at school. Children are welcome to keep their bottles at school and fill up from our taps when required. After community consultation, late in 2021, we will be entering into the School Lunches programme offered by the Ministry of Education. From this time, lunch will be provided to children at no cost to parents, if parents choose to take up this offer.
Sometimes, it is necessary for children to bring small amounts of money to school (for BookClub, fundraising, etc.). We ask that parents text the school number so we know who is bringing money to school and how much they are bringing. This way, we can ask children to put the money safely in the office, and ensure that the money makes it to where it is designated to go. However, for day-to-day schooling, we ask that children not bring money to school. The school will not be held responsible for money that goes missing.
The school publishes a newsletter that celebrates the achievement of our pupils and keeps our community up to date with events that are happening at school. We try to avoid the newsletter becoming a ‘to do’ list and try to make it as much of a narrative as possible. We are happy to send out advertisements through our Facebook page as we try to avoid the newsletter becoming a classified publication. However, we are happy to support our community when the need arises. Please contact the school to discuss how we can help. The newsletters are published approximately every three weeks and go home to school families. They are also delivered to all members of the Kiwitahi community through our rural post driver.
Parent and School Committee:
We have a strong Parent and School Committee (P&S – sometimes referred to in other schools as PTA). The P&S work hard to fundraise to support our school and contribute directly into the children’s education. They provide the swimming lessons (see Swimming Pool below) and contribute to providing funding for our third teacher. The P&S meets regularly and is always ready to welcome new families to join.
Parent, teacher and pupil interviews are held twice a year (usually Term 1 and Term 3 – the opposing terms for written reporting). The purpose of the interviews is to provide a formal chance for parents and teachers to discuss children’s progress in school. We encourage parents to allow their children to join the interviews as this makes the discussion more meaningful for them. It also allows the children themselves to take the floor and demonstrate their learning. Bookings can be made through the Skool Loop app through the >Interviews option. If booking times do not work for particular families, parents are welcome to email their child’s teacher and arrange a more suitable time.
Permission for Trips:
Upon enrolment, parents are offered the option of signing a blanket consent form for trips and events that happen onsite or near the school site. See Blanket Consent above for more details. This is to relieve some of the paperwork that goes to and from school. If parents do not sign the blanket consent form, the school will still contact parents about trips to ask for permission. For trips of a larger scale (for example overnight camps), permission will always be sought from parents.
Reporting to Parents:
Kiwitahi School prides itself on its regular communication with parents. Our policy is, “No surprises.” The school is required to report to parents on academic development of children during the course of the year. We do this twice: once in May (before 1 June – Moving Day for many dairy farming families) and once in December. Both reports focus on development in the core curricular areas (reading, writing and mathematics) as well as reporting on the arts and sports. Each report comes with a pastoral message from the child’s teacher which talks about attitudes, friendships and moral development. The reports are emailed to parents in PDF format. All reports are available in hard copy if requested. These reports are also sent on to future schools for families who move, or for Year 6s who move to intermediate school at the end of the year.
School Hours of Operation:
School is open for children from 8.30am onwards. The daily timetable is as follows:
8.55am – first bell 9.00am – assembly 9.15am – block 1 10.15am – first break 10.30am – block 2 11.15am – middle break 11.30am – block 3 12.15pm – lunch 1.00pm – block 4 1.45pm – final break 2.00pm – block 5 2.40pm – duties 2.50pm – bus line up 3.00pm – end of day
At the conclusion of the day, we ask that parents who collect by car do not arrive any later than 3.10pm. On occasions when a later pick up may be necessary, please contact the school in advance.
The school office is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8.30am – 12.30pm. If no one is available outside of these hours, please leave a message (either an email, voicemail or a note on the desk) and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Kiwitahi School is proud to develop the following values in our pupils:
Responsibility | HaepapaRespect | WhakautePerseverance | ManawanuiFriendship | HoahoaCooperation | Mahi TahiCompassion | Ngaākau Aroha
These values are explicitly taught and rewarded in our school as we believe that they help children to develop into successful young people. During assembly on Thursday mornings, one child from each of the two houses will be awarded the Mascot Award. This is in recognition of a child who displays the value of focus above and beyond their peers. The mascot is a toy that goes home with the child for one week, and a diary that the child completes and brings back to share in assembly the following week. Instructions can be found on the inside of the mascot diary.
The school site is available to families outside of school hours. We encourage families to make use of the fields, tennis court, playground and sandpit during the weekends and holidays. We do ask that families clean up once they have finished so that we can maintain our tidy environment.
Our primary method of contact for parents about general notices and information is Skool Loop, a downloadable application from the App Store or Google Play Store. Skool Loop allows us to send notifications to parents easily and keeps families up to date with events at the school. For more important information, or large-scale information, we still opt to send this home in hard copy, but will often send a Skool Loop message as well. Parent interviews can be booked through the Skool Loop app, too.
Special Educational Needs (SEN):
Every child is welcome at Kiwitahi School. No child will be turned away because of a disability, whether physical or intellectual. This is a place where everyone is welcome. We are proud of our family environment that encourages a sense of wellbeing and care amongst the pupils and staff. For pupils with higher needs, we may seek support from outside agencies. One of the limitations of being a small school is that we don’t have access to vast numbers of people who are free to take care of children with higher needs as freely as you might find in a larger school. However, discussions about the possibility and limitations of education at Kiwitahi School will be openly and honestly discussed with parents before enrolment.
Kiwitahi School believes in the importance of children engaging in physical activity, whether in organised sport or free play. We regularly put together netball and touch teams and occasionally gymnastics teams, too. We encourage all children to engage in sport. For sports that are not offered at Kiwitahi School, club sport is also available in Morrinsville.
We expect all employees to maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct, concern for the wellbeing of pupils and public interest. All teachers are expected to fully understand the expectations of Our Code, Our Standards (as set out by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand) which applies under the Education and Training Act 2020 to all certified teachers. Staff conduct is monitored through performance management, Our Code, Our Standards, employment agreements, job descriptions, attestation and appraisal. All non-teaching staff are appraised and vetted by police.
Kiwitahi School is an accredited SunSmart School. This accreditation is awarded by the Cancer Society in recognition of good sun habits. At Kiwitahi School, all children are provided with a hat (with school logo). In Terms 1 and 4, all children must wear this hat whilst outside. Children take responsibility for their hats and without them, they must stay under the shade. Hats remain at school in each child’s cubby hole and don’t go home. The school also provides children with sunscreen (sensitive when requested by parents). There are ample shade spots for playing on site.
The school swimming pool is open for operation in Terms 4 (season begins) and Term 1. The pool is heated and maintained by the school. Children have swimming lessons provided by Raewyn Jacobs of Orca Swim School. These small-group lessons are paid for by fundraising from the Parent and School Committee. During the swimming season, the pool is available for parents and community members. Information and swimming pool policies can be obtained from the school office or the school website. Whenever there are children in the swimming pool area, there must be an adult (16 years or older) supervising.
Teacher Only Days:
Occasionally, Kiwitahi School will be closed for a teacher only day. This may be for our own in-service training or it may be for training as a whole Kahui Ako (see Community of Learning above). These dates are set the previous year and will be communicated to parents with the rest of the term dates that are set, in accordance with policy.
Full-time teachers at Kiwitahi School are entitled to CRT (Classroom Release Time) each term. This gives teachers time at school but releases them from their teaching load for two days per term. Time can be spent completing assessments or observations, or developing professionally in an appropriate way. We have an employed CRT teacher who will take the lessons whilst the teacher is out of the class.
Theft, or suspected theft, will be notified to a teacher as soon as possible. We will do what we can to try and resolve the problem, but ultimately, the school will not be held responsible for items that go missing or are stolen.
Kiwitahi School is proud of our robust transition procedure that is in place. Generally speaking, transitions refer to children who are starting school for the first time (i.e. New Entrants moving from early childhood centres or kindergartens). We communicate regularly with ECE centres, including sending our staff to visit prospective children in their current environments. We encourage children to visit Kiwitahi School for 3 – 5 days before they start school formally. This often starts as a half day with a parent present and leads up to a full day of school with children at school alone. This helps children prepare themselves for real school life. In certain circumstances, the transition period may need to be extended. Transitions are also available for older children who are moving to Kiwitahi School (this may involve one taster day), however this is not always necessary, and each child will be given what he/she needs to feel at home.
Treaty of Waitangi | Te Tiriti o Waitangi:
Kiwitahi School works on the foundation of the Treaty of Waitangi | Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty), recognising that Māori and Pakeha are equal partners in the education of children at our school. In accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020, Kiwitahi School takes all reasonable steps to eliminate racism, and achieve equitable outcomes for Māori pupils. Ethnicity is important at our school in the way that we celebrate diversity and culture. However, there is no place for ethnicity acting as a separator. There is equal expectation on Māori and non-Māori to be socially, physically and academically successful at our school.
Trips and Camps (Education Outside the Classroom):
The parent community of Kiwitahi School has clearly told us that regular trips and camps are an important aspect of making Kiwitahi School the special place that it is. When a day trip is planned, parents will be informed, but those families who have completed a blanket consent form (see Blanket Consent Form above) will not be required to provide permission. Families who have not filled in a blanket consent form will still be required to grant permission. Day trips do not come with a cost (see Donation Scheme above). For overnight camps, or trips that may involve higher risk, permission will always be sought from all parents (irrespective of whether they have signed the blanket consent form or not). Overnight camps come with an optional donation (see Donation Scheme above again), however all children will be entitled to attend the camp, irrespective of whether they have paid the donation or not. All overnight camps will be approved by the Board of Trustees ahead of the trip.
Kiwitahi School has a uniform, however this is not required to be worn on a day-to-day basis. The uniform is to be worn when the school attends sporting events, when pupils are playing in a school sports team (i.e. netball or touch), or occasionally when away on school trips. There is a top and a jacket, and these can be purchased from school. There is a limited amount of secondhand items.
All visitors to Kiwitahi School (except parents at drop off or pick up) are required to sign in at the front desk. This is to keep a record of people’s movements in and out of the school, and also to ensure that children are kept safe.
1 June (Moving Day, or more archaically Gypsy Day) is an important day for many dairy farming families in Kiwitahi. We recognise that children have to move around with parental farming contracts and this means that there is often some disruption to the school roll and classes mid-way through the year. This is a normal part of rural school life, and a reason why we like our first reports of the year to be ready before this date. Kiwitahi School communicates with children’s new schools to ensure smooth transitions, whether moving to or from Kiwitahi.