Swings + Roundabouts Winter 2022

It's natural that we are concerned about everything our tamariki need to know before they're ready to start school. We want them to fit in at school and to enjoy their time there. But what if we've got this the wrong way round – and it's the school that should be getting ready to welcome our tamariki and whānau? What more can our schools do enough to prepare themselves for new entrants and their whānau? These are questions that some bold teachers asked themselves, as part of an Early Years research project. They found that new entrants got off to a much better start when they were happy at school. Tamariki were happiest when they were familiar with their new setting, when whānau were alongside as they got to know their school, when there were familiar toys or activities at school, and when they had friends or siblings with them at school. It all sounds like perfect common sense – but our schools and early learning centres have traditionally not been geared up to hit this happy spot. Eighteen teachers in six Christchurch primary schools were part of a two-year long research project - a partnership between Rātā Foundation and CORE Education (the not for profit research and education organisation). The teachers spent time with tamariki and whānau, visited early learning centres and also did lots of observation of what was happening at school. They came up with some interesting learnings and ideas that they're now including in their own classrooms and talking about to other teachers. They include: ● Recognising the importance of familiar and friendly faces – with a buddy system that teams up each new entrant with an older tamariki who will look out for them when they're at school. ● More emphasis on play to help new entrants to settle in to school and as a basis for play-based learning. ● Understanding that if whānau don’t come to school information evenings – it’s more likely because of other things happening for them at work and at home than disinterest in what's happening at school. ● Putting less information in new entrant information packs – which can easily become overwhelming and often don't include anything aimed directly at the new entrant. ● Sharing information in different formats - including paper, online, video, slides, face-to-face. ● Monthly open mornings at school giving whānau and tamariki an opportunity to get to know the school and increasing the likelihood of school visits before the new entrant starts school. ● Providing alternatives to face-to-face visits as part of the transition to school programme. ● Creating more opportunities for one-on-one chats between whānau and teachers. Rātā Foundation Chief Executive Leighton Evans describes the research findings as "potentially transformational" and he looks forward to others being able to share and adopt the learnings. “These changes are simple and are a result of looking differently at the way transitioning to school is approached – rather than doing what we’ve always done – by putting the needs of tamariki and whānau at the centre.” Armed with this new information, all whānau with tamariki approaching school age should now be asking their school what it is doing to prepare for those tamariki. The research is available here https://core-prod-assets.s3.apsoutheast-2.amazonaws.com/public/Uploads/files/Rata-Transitionto-School-report.pdf To find out more go to https://core-ed.org/en_NZ/about-core/ourprojects/research-and-evaluation/transition-to-school/ Are schools ready for our tamariki? Childcare Centre Meal Service Delivered to your door Over 35 tasty meal options daily Healthy, easy to heat meals Caters to allergen and cultural needs Full-time, part-time, or casual Help for when your cook is away Price competitive rates Enquiries Welcome www.kidicater.co.nz Available nationwide to deliverable locations June 2022 { 32 }