Waitākiri students will have the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understandings in mathematics, english (numeracy and literacy), the arts, science, social sciences, technology, health and physical education as well as developing their key competencies.
In the early years children learn the skills of reading, writing and numeracy so that they can explore into their world and engage in authentic learning contexts as they get older. Our curriculum is designed to encourage children to want to read and write and develop numeracy skills because of the learning activities and opportunities that they are involved in.
The Waitākiri Curriculum is a "Place based Curriculum". That is one where our children know first about their place, their community and their place in the community so that they can learn about their world. Our learning focus for 2014 and 2015 was "Turangawaewae" meaning "the place that we stand". During the two years children learnt about pre-european settlement of the Burwood area, the early settlers, current communities, business, recreation and environments and in preparation for moving to the new purpose built school. In 2016 the learning focus was whanaungatanga (relationships) supporting to work, play and learn together on one campus as a whole school community and developing an understanding of the role relationships at school, in the home, in the wider community and in science. In 2017 our overarching concept is sustainability / kaitiakitanga. In 2017 children will learn the vital role they play in caring for our environment and actions they can take to make our world a better place.
Our curriculum is developed with an Enviroschools foundation. We are very proud to have already received a Bronze accreditation in 2016 and in 2017 we are 'going for silver!' This means we will be working with our community to take the next step as an enviro school and as a school of kaitiaki.
The teaching of Mathematics in classrooms is given priority, which is consistent with our school belief of 'Excellence in Numeracy and Literacy.'
Teachers assess children’s needs and group accordingly.
Teachers challenge children to achieve and develop a positive attitude towards learning mathematics.
At Waitākiri, children can verbalise what they are learning to do and are aware of their next learning step.
Equipment is an important component and classes have a range of resources to supplement the programme.
The teaching of Maths includes 80% Numeracy Years 1-4 (generally) and 55-65% Numeracy Years 5-6 (generally). Other strand teaching is in Statistics, Measurement and Geometry.
Numeracy is focused on developing children's understanding of numbers, and their ability to use numbers to solve problems. Children may solve number problems by counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, or combinations of these.
Literacy (reading, writing, oral and visual language) is also given priority in class programmes, consistent with our school belief of ‘Excellence in Literacy and Numeracy.’ Teachers assess children’s learning needs using a range of assessment tools and monitor progress against national levels of achievement. Needs based group teaching is a mandatory component of numeracy and literacy teaching in all classes. Learning is scaffolded to assist children to meet their goals. Teaching programmes are well resourced with materials to motivate, engage and challenge children.
Inquiry/ Action Learning/ Problem Based Learning
Children will explore the learning areas of science, social sciences, technology, health, the visual and the performing arts through a range of school wide concepts. Our learning focus for both 2014 and 2015 was "Turangawaewae" meaning "the place that we stand". In 2016 our focus was whanaungatanga (relationships) as we build our new future together and as mentioned above in 2017 we are, 'going for silver' with a kaitiakitanga / sustainability focus. These concepts and inquiries provide excellent opportunities to explore the living world and investigations in science, any of the conceptual strands the social sciences, as well as technological practice in the technology learning area and the socio-ecological perspective in health.
The school communities of Burwood, Windsor and subsequently, Waitākiri provided a clear message to the school that the focus for learning should be numeracy, literacy, and inquiry through science first and the all other learning areas. Our place based curriculum enables the science inquiry focus for children in Year 1 & 2 through the context of whenua (land), through wai (water) in years 3 & 4 and through Rangi, (the air, sky, solar system and beyond) in years 5 & 6. These contexts allow teachers to focus teaching and ensure quality learning experiences and opportunity for children.
The Waitākiri Curriculum will encourage children to explore their questions within the defined concept, develop new knowledge and understandings through this process and wherever possible take some action. This process is the common theme within the three approaches above (inquiry, action learning, problem based learning). Both Windsor and Burwood have used this method of unpacking the curriculum for some years.
Music and visual arts are taught by a specialist teachers at Waitākiri. Children have a 45 minute session once a week. Our music and visual arts teachers have an understanding of the class learning activities and also the concept for the year. This allows our music and visual arts teaching to have a similar flavour as the studio learning rather than being isolated. We believe that the complexity of music and visual arts teaching and the skills required for quality outcomes warrant the approach of utilising a specialist teachers. The remainder of the Arts learning area is taught by classroom teachers.
Health and Physical Education, Te Reo
Health is taught within the classroom programme whereas Physical Education (PE) is taught by a specialist teacher. The evidence suggests to us that this system ensures that children are exposed to a wider range of learning opportunities in physical education as well as connecting with the teacher who organises sport and extension opportunities in PE. The school also provides weekly specialist teaching in Te Reo and this is supported by the ongoing use of Te Reo within the studios and across the school.
Reporting to parents
Parents receive two written reports and meet with teachers and their children twice for a 3-Way (teacher, parent, child) Learning Conference. Year 1-3 children have reports at 20, 40, 60, 80 and 120 weeks. From year 4 on, the reports are mid and end of year.
Please do not expect the report tell you what your child cannot do - the list is endless, as it is for us adults! Rather, we will report on their progress and achievement and share next steps for learning.
Mandatory reporting against National Standards will give you an indication of where your child sits in relation to expectations set by the Ministry of Education. The National Standards have not been met with enthusiasm from within the education sector because they assume (in their design and reporting) that learning is (and needs to be) linear. We know that from birth children learn at different rates and reach milestones at different ages (walking, talking, dressing, toilet trained, eating …) this is no different once they reach school. So while we will report against the standards it is the progress and achievement gains a child makes each week, term and year that are more important.
Our report format will be simple to understand and will help you to join with us to assist your child to make the best possible progress.