May – June Update

Arohamai koutou – we have been flat out! Life seems to be heading back some kind of normal which means that the calendar is back to almost as busy as pre-pandemic!

Speaking of COVID – we had a very small brush with this early in the term but thankfully it didn’t spread far and we were able to keep school operational. A long overdue thank you must go to the parents and Board members who stepped into fill in when we had staff away. It really is lovely to be surrounded by a supportive bunch of people.

Anyway on to more interesting updates.

Learning this Term

This term has had a focus around the Hauora of People. We have explored road safety and gathered information from our community about the speed vehicles drive by school. The outcome of this is a plan to install more signage. Currently a work in progress.

We also looked at financial literacy in related to our chicken mission. We now have our chicken coop at school, many thanks to Pip Stalker for building this for us and to Horizons for supporting us with a grant to pay for it. The chickens will come in Term 3. We still need to purchase the fencing and few other things. We’ve loaned money from the BOT to do this and will be working during the year to pay this off.

Currently we learning some more about Matariki and then will look at our well-being.

Earlier in the term we also received a grant from Pub Charities Limited. This helped us purchase a Magic Play Box with loads of loose parts for outdoor play. Pity it’s pretty much rained ever since it arrived! We also purchased some maths equipment and are making good use of this in the classroom.

Jumping June

Some of you remember Jump Rope for Heart, well Jumping June is the new name for this fundraiser. We will be holding a Jumping June event on Thursday 23rd June at school, see flyer below, and have Papanui School coming to Join us. All are welcome to join us, however if you’re feeling unwell please avoid coming.


Huge acknowledgement to the following children:

Rickon Gilbert got player of the day for his rugby last week and then went onto run very competitively in the Taupo Possum Run last weekend.

Keeva Harrison got player of the day for her netball this week.

School Values

We have had a spotlight on the school value of Manaakitanga over the past couple of weeks. Manaakitanga at our school means:

  • We care for ourselves and others.
  • We accept others for who they are.
  • We are active participants in our learning and our community.

This means that we use kind words and tone of voice to speak to each other and adults. We take responsibility for our mistakes and make it right when we need to. It also means we get on with the our mahi and do a decent job of it.

The kids can be super proud of how they’re going with this particular spotlight!

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday 23 June – Jumping June
  • Friday 24 June – Matariki Holiday (school closed)
  • Monday 27 June – Mangaweka visit.
  • Wednesday 29 Jun – Board Meeting 7pm at School. All welcome. This is an election year – have you considered joining the Board? Come along to this meeting and see what it’s about.
  • Friday 1 July – Mid Year Reports go home.
  • Friday 8 July – End of Term 2
  • Monday 25 July – Start of Term 3.

National Young Leaders Day

We sent 5 students to this day in Palmerston North. Thank you to Andrea, Melissa and Hazel who took the children. There a couple pieces of writing about the day below which will tell yo more.

Ngā mihi nui koutou – until next update!

From Keeva…

The day started bright and early. It was Wednesday the 25th of May. As I woke I felt a spark of excitement. When I was all ready to go Mum drove me to Aunty Melissa’s house, Hazel had arrived just as we did. When all of us were ready to go we hopped in the car and drove to Palmerston North. On the way we stopped at BP and got a drink to warm us up. Luca and I also got two doughnuts (they were so good). When we arrived in Palmy, Luca, Hazel, and I hopped into Andrea’s car with the boys. We all got wristbands that were neon green. When we entered the theatre where the Young Leaders was being held, we decided that we would sit on the top floor. When we got to where we were sitting we noticed the music that was blasting as loud as it could go. 

The first people to come on stage were the hosts. I can’t remember what their names were, but they were definitely trying to make sure that we were having fun. The first speaker was Sam Johnson. He was there to talk to us about his business which was the Student Volunteer Army. Sam had helped a lot of people with his volunteer group. The next speaker was supposed to be William Pike but instead it was a girl that lost her arm and a car crash when she was six. She said that sometimes life puts a mountain in front of you and you have to learn how to climb it. Then we took a break for morning tea.

After the morning tea break, we played a game. The game was an emoji game, where they would put pictures on the big screen and we had to guess what the emoji was. The next speaker was Georgia Latu, she had created a Poi business at the age of twelve. Georgia had made her business with her Mum. After that we got to see the NZ singer, songwriter, her name was Georgia as well. Georgia Lines was very interesting, and inspiring. Because she is a New Zealander, and that shows that New Zealanders can really do anything. 

We stopped for lunch at about twelve thirty. We had sushi, and Luca and I had boba, but we didn’t like it so we gave it to the boys. We also had a look around well, Luca and Charlie had a look around for their old school mates. The last speaker was Riley Hathaway. She was the co-founder of Young Ocean Explorers. She started it  with her dad. 

At the end Georgia Lines sang for us, she sang one of her original songs. After that she sang Driver’s Licence, and everyone sang with her. Georgia had a gorgeous voice. Then the host came out and said goodbye. Personally I had a really good time, and wish I could go next year. 

From Luca….

On 25th of May we went to the Young Leaders. Me, Keeva, Hazel and my Mum were all in one car. I was really tired on the way so Keeva and I got donuts and a hot drink. When we went into the Theatre an old man showed us to our seats. We got to sit on the top level. The windows were tinted black so it felt like night time. There was a dance cam so if the camera was on you, you had to dance.   

There were 5 speakers. My favourite was Georgia Lines. She’s a NZ singer/songwriter. There was also a guy who started a business to help people. There was a girl who started a poi business when she was 12 she is 15 now. And another one of my favourites was a girl who lost her arm in a crash. She came instead of a man with no leg. Also there was a girl from Young Ocean Explorers. 

We got to ask the speakers questions. Charlie asked the girl from Young Ocean Explorers what her next challenge was, she said she didn’t know yet. Around 12:30 we went for lunch. We got sushi, Keeva and I got boba. The boba was disgusting so we gave it to the boys. Keeva gave hers to Mikaire but he didn’t want it so he left it on a table.

After lunch we had a game. The top and the bottom level had one pool floatie and one inflatable boat. We had to get in from side to side the fastest. The bottom row won the first round and the top row won the second round. Then in the third round we won. We also played another game called the emoji game. They showed emojis on the big screen and we had to guess the movie or the song.  

Towards the end Georgia Lines Sang a song for us. First she sang one  of her originals. Then she sang a famous song called Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo. I could hear the boys singing really loudly. After that the host came out and said goodbye. Before we left we went to the Plaza. While we walked there we saw Keeva’s drink on a different table. When we got to the Plaza we bumped into Mamma and she brought us a drink. After that we drove home. Overall it was a very fun day. I wish I could do it next year! 

Pest Control

We’ve got some children here keen on being kaitiaki of our school and part of that involves pest control. Late last term we had the issue with the cheeky mouse that roamed the classroom (thankfully the trap dealt to that!), which piqued the interest of many. What pests do we have in our school and what can we do to get rid of them?

Below are some short pieces of writing about what we did when our Enviro School’s facilitators came to visit in Week 1. Currently our writing is focussed around how to write good paragraphs. To write a good paragraph we had the following criteria to guide us:

  • The paragraph tells the audience who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • The first sentence introduces the topic.
  • The sentences link to the topic and are in a sensible order.
  • The last sentence shares a thought or feeling about the topic.

How did they do? Also see below for bonus photos of the tracking tunnel results! Can’t wait to see what shows up on the camera.

On Friday the 6th May, Sarah and Rowena, our Enviro school teachers, came to Puke School to do some enviroschool activities. We looked at some different traps and each had a turn setting them off. We also made some tracking tunnels to see what pests we have. We put peanut butter in the middle. We all put our tracking tunnels in different spots. Me and Keeva put ours under the old school. After that we set up a little camera. The camera takes a photo every time it senses movement. We are hoping to see little lizards. It was a very enjoyable day.   By Luca

On Friday the 6th of May, Sarah and Rowena came to Puke School. They did pest traps with us. They gave us tracking tunnels. We put peanut butter in them and ink that doesn’t dry up. Over the weekend we had footprints in all of the traps and on every chew card. For example we had possums, rats, stoats and mice. It was exciting because we got our own traps. By Charlie

On Friday 6th of May, Sarah and Rowena, from Horizons, came to Puke school to teach us about pests and traps. We put out some tracking tunnels all over the school to see what pests we have.Then we set up a tracking camera to see if we have any geckos. Once we have tracked all the pests we will get the right traps. Friday was exciting because we got to set out our own tracking tunnels. By Kawana

March 2022 – Monthly Update

4 more days and counting! That’s how long until we all get a week deserved break. It’s been a big term with lots of change for our school. Our roll has virtually doubled in size since the end of 2021 and now sits at 9 students. At the start of March we welcomed yet another student! Kaylee Stoney (6) joined us. A warm welcome to the Stoney whānau! The roll growth continues, when we have Sklyar (Kaylee’s younger sister) and Lennon (Luca’s sister) start their school journey at the beginning of Term 2. A big HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY to both girls, who believe it or not, share the SAME birthday – 15th April. We wish them both happy school days.

March has been both busy and quiet. We’ve been busy beavering away at school on lots of great learning but in terms of the usual Term One events it’s been super quiet with most being postpone or cancelled due to the COVID outbreak that finally reached our wee area. Thankfully, as a school so far, we have managed to remain pretty healthy and operate as normal in that respect.

Make Day Friday continues to be a hit. Sewing has proven popular and it has been awesome to see our older pupils, boys and girls, develop the confidence to sew on their own. This past week saw an interested in ‘bug hotels’ and miniature furniture making, complete with bedding. For our younger makers the focus is more on developing positive social skills – sharing resources and developing the language needed to express their needs in a positive way. It’s great to be able to have this specific time to coach them through the development of this.

We finish the term with an end of term fun afternoon – Fish and chips shouted by the Principal and then a fun swim at the pool.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Easter. The next update will come in Term 2.

Make Day Friday # 2

The second much anticipated Make Day Friday was another hit. You can tell when kids are excited about something….they hoon in after the bell goes!

It was awesome to see some of the older children doing a bit of pre-planning prior to the day. Mikaire and Rickon, in particular, had found some cool books in the library and decided they would recreate the huts they’d seen in the book. The minute they were let loose they gathered up matchsticks, ice blocks sticks etc to get cracking. What they made was super impressive and a great display of technology (a brief, a plan and the outcome) in action. It also demonstrated their ability to take what they read about and build on that knowledge.

Today Keeva and Luca dedicated their Make Day time to the sewing machine and small craft. Keeva, found a half-made bag among the fabric. This became a very nifty side bag, when she stitched herself a strap for it. The challenging part was turning the strap back in the right way. It turned out pretty cool and she’s stoked with it. Luca continued adding to her ‘family’ of wooden dolls by creating an alien addition. So creative in her thinking. Again the Technology Curriculum is front and centre.

Our young crew (school visitors included) did a variety of activities with the most popular being cooking of course. They made cupcakes for everyone and decorated them (sorry I was busy helping them and forgot to take photos). The cupcakes were declared delicious! Lots of maths is involved when baking. I talked with them about how much of each ingredient we needed, using language like half, quarter etc. This helps them build some strong foundations for maths learning.

After the cooking they launched into a great pretend play game. As an outsider looking in, I couldn’t really tell what it was I just know it was in the home corner, there were babies and maybe monsters! Either way they dipped in and out of roles like professional actors. You may notice at home when children play, narrate as they go….”yeah and then the mum said xyz and you did abc” then they’ll act out what they’ve just said. This type of play is AMAZING and a great sign that they are making the brain connections needed to learn to read and write later on. It takes a lot of cognitive function to narrate and act out the game.

I’ll leave the novel at that for now. It was a great day. Next week I’ll share some insight into the Key Competencies and the role Make Day Friday plays in the development of these for all children.

Ngā mihi nui – The Pukeokahu Crew

Life Education and a Surprise

Today we travelled to Mangaweka to visit Harold the Giraffe and his friend Mark. Harold travels around the region helping kids learn about all kinds of things.

For us the focus was on how to be a good friend and what to do if something goes wrong.

A really cool thing we learnt about how to be a ‘bucket filler’ rather than a ‘bucket dipper’. There’s all kinds of ways you can be a bucket filler like…..

  • Being kind
  • Being honest
  • Being able to be trusted.
  • Sharing
  • Helping
  • Caring
  • Being a good listener
  • Using manners
  • Including others
  • Treating others how you’d like to be treated (respect).

It was great to see lots of bucket filling going on today! We watched some videos that gave us some ideas of how to be a good friend, stick up for people and what to do if you have a problem.

Harold told us some really bad dad jokes too.

Afterwards, because we’d been amazing bucket fillers all morning we got a little treat. We got to visit Mrs Whale and see her beautiful Gordon Setter puppies. We have a lovely time playing with them on the lawn.

Check out photos of our day….I’ll let you guess who was a bit shy to see Harold….fair enough he was being a bit of a mischief!

Make Day Friday

Play is fantastic! It’s what our tamariki are designed to do. You might say it’s their ‘job’ to play.

Here at Pukeokahu School we try to include as much play and playful learning as we can in our daily programme and curriculum. What it looks like for our younger students compared to our older students is different, but the same philosophy behind it exists.

Why is play important? Play makes school fun which makes it a happy place to be. Happy children are happy learners. Play allows our kids to develop the Key Competencies (which make up quite a large chunk of our NZ curriculum but often don’t get the limelight they deserve) in authentic and meaningful ways. They learn social and emotional skills in real time. They get to be in control of their learning, make choices and decisions. The learn to manage themselves, problem-solve and how to get along with others. And that is just the tip of the ice-berg.

Today Make Day Friday was introduced and it was a hit with ALL ages. Make Day Friday is about giving the kids a chance to make, play and be creative while following something that interests them. It’s their time to choose. The Make Day Friday board has a variety of suggestions or invitations of things that they can do with their time, or they can run another idea by me. As long as it has purpose it’s generally approved. Devices are banned unless taking a video, photo or doing research. Take a look at what happened during Make Day Friday this week.

Baking was super popular. The kids decided as a group what they would bake. It’s very handy having a nearly 12yr old on hand as Luca just took on the leadership role and worked with the young ones to get the biscuits done. It was a great demonstration of tukana-teina relationships. Not to mention the piles of Maths being used. Doubling the recipe, fractions, how many of each do we need, dividing up the biscuits evenly at the end, rolling them into a shape etc.

Outside Rickon was busy inventing his own version of Stone Henge…Wood Henge. What a fantastic demonstration of using his prior knowledge then creating something new from that. His sign making was awesome and showed his ability to use writing outside of the formal classroom setting. But don’t worry the girls didn’t just stick to the kitchen. They were amongst the outside action building a campfire, reliving real life experiences and using that knowledge. The woodwork table also got well used to make all sorts of ‘things’ they needed for their campfire / house creation.

Make Day Friday finished with a quick reflection discussion. The feedback was 100% positive. The kids loved Make Day Friday and think it should happen again!

Watch this space for next Friday’s instalment of Make Day Friday. It promises to be a goodie!

February 2022 – what have we been up to?

The year has started with a hiss and roar. Apologies for taking this long to provide an update!

We have started the year with some strong roll growth and currently have 8 lovely students attending our school. A big welcome to Charlie (10) and to Te Rau (8) and brother Te Awa (5) who have all recently started with us this term. We are also looking forward to welcoming three more students in the coming months. We will introduce them as they arrive.

Over the holidays there were a few property projects on the go. We have a full repaint of the buildings which has really spruced the place up a bit. We also had the long awaited construction of an outdoor learning space. This space has been great during the hot days and once the curtain sides are installed will be awesome in the winter too. It means our younger learners can get outside in all weather and work on their building and painting projects. Unfortunately we were unable to get the pool up and running this season due to some water quality, then quantity issues. This has been rectified now and we look forward to getting our pool back up and going next summer. Thankfully we have still been able to cool off in the afternoons as the Bryants have generously offered use of their pool.

Speaking of water……

We kicked off our school year with the annual trip down the river. As always a huge mihi goes to River Valley for their support of our trip and for making it as fun as always. We had some amazing weather for it and huge whānau support. Some photos of our trip are posted below.

Our focus for this year is Hauora (Health / Wellbeing) and this term we are learning about water health. The first piece of learning we have worked on is about the water cycle. Check out Facebook soon for some videos that demonstrate our learning. Following on from this we plan to explore our local water sources and study their health. Watch this space.

In other news the girls, Keeva and Luca, have started their visits to PTP (Primary Technology Programme) at TAS for this term. Both girls are doing Food Technology and enjoying it so far. We also continue our swimming lesson in Taihape once a week.

Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions there have been several cancellations of events including Athletics and the Weetbix Tryathlon. This is hugely disappointing for those of us who enjoy sport, however at present we all understand why these events cannot go ahead.

That’s all for this update…..until next time….

Kia mau te wehi ngā tāmariki!

If you follow our Facebook page you will have seen a couple of tumeke advertisements for our upcoming seedling sale.

As teachers, Mrs. Whale and I were incredibly proud of what the tāmariki produced. We had spent a few days unpacking what effective advertisements do, what language they use, and so on. From this learning, the children had to write a list of ‘success criteria’ for what an effective advertisement should be like.

After this, they then started planning their advertisement and practicing their script. Once they were happy with their plan it was time to record. They used an app called Clips on the iPad to put their work together. This was the first time they had used the app but as per usual it didn’t take them long to figure it out.

Here are two advertisements for you to enjoy….one from Keeva and one from Rickon. More are on their way!

Overdue Update!

Arohamai! We have been slack at keeping everyone updated with the comings and goings at our school. The dreaded lockdown put a spanner in the works and then it was busy, busy as we tried to finish off some things before the break. Here’s hoping this term a bit more settled!

So due to Lockdown we missed our overnight trip up the maunga to ski. We tried unsuccessfully TWO more times to get a day trip up to Turoa but each time the weather was NOT our friend. So we improvised and instead went for a day trip to Ohakune. We rock climbed, had kebabs at the carrot park then called into the Army Museum on our way home where we were treated to a VIP tour. Check out some of the photos from the day…..

As well as tripping around the rohe having fun we also had our heads down doing some hard mahi. The Fakes and Forgeries Art Display is being held in Mangaweka this weekend so we spend the final weeks of last term learning about NZ Artists, writing biographies then ‘faking’ or forging’ their artwork. We learnt lots about people we’d never heard of and some help literacy skills in the process. If you’re in Mangaweka this weekend (or going through) call in to the Hall to see the school displays. Here’s a sneak peek of ours….

In other exciting news we found this critter:

It was in some of the New World Little Gardens we had left over from last year. After realising that the Little Gardens aren’t made in NZ but in Poland we decided to do the responsible thing and contact MPI for further instruction. They were very interested to know what it might be so we had to send it via mail to Christchurch for analysis. Turns out it was not a foreign species breaking into our country but just a regular old critter from NZ. Still it felt good to do the right thing and protect our flora and fauna. And the bonus was the lovely lady, Laura, send us a parcel with some goodies to say thank you!

As you can imagine with all this excitement we were pleased to see the end of the term. We celebrated with our termly re-design of the classroom and a shared lunch. Here we are enjoying our time together…..

Term 4 has kicked off with a hiss and roar and will only get busier. We have weekly trips to town, with the girls attending PTP at TAS and the boys exploring town and learning outside the classroom. This week we walked part of the Papakai Park track. WOW! So cool and we discovered some ancient history of Taihape on the way. It’s sparked some interest so we plan to learn about bit more about what we found.

We also have kapa haka in Mangaweka for several Monday’s and swimming too. Pet Day is on the 18th of November – the plan being for us to host Taoroa and Mangaweka for a combined day, however the COVID levels may come into play. Watch this space as we’ll update and confirm soon. Later in the term we have Athletics at Papanui and our Bat exploration evening planned too.

Oh and some reading, writing and maths is tucked in there too!

Until the next update…….

Ka kite ano!

August Lockdown

A week ago who would have thought that we’d be plunged into a snap lockdown and that when we left school on Tuesday afternoon the next time we’d talk would be on zoom!

But here we are!

The Pukeokahu Kids have taken to this latest Lockdown with their usual cool, calm and collected manner and are just getting on with things! We had one day ‘off’ home learning to collect our thoughts then on lockdown day 2 we were into it with our daily zoom call and online learning programme underway.

The daily zoom gives us all an opportunity to connect and keep in touch. We do some Go Noodle together then fill the remainder of our time with some chat out home life, activities we’ve been doing and today we even got a house tour which is set to feature daily (some of us requested some time to ensure our home was ‘tour ready’).

Below is some writing done for home learning by Luca. I hope to share some more in the coming days.

Animal Town

I arrived just as an ordinary tourist, there were about 10 to 15 people on the tour. We were having a tour around Animal Town. It Is well known for its animal species. Now that’s enough information let’s get onto the story. It started on the tour bus. I suddenly got starving. I asked the tour guide if he could stop at the next Cafe. I got out without looking. He drove off. What I saw was incredible, I saw that some creatures had the same idea for getting lunch. I felt surprised and extremely hungry. I could smell the juicy burger the bear was eating. I swear I could taste it as well. I could hear the birds singing in the bear burping. I was so hungry the creatures looked harmless so I tried to scoot past the lion but in one gulp I was in the lion’s tummy but at least it was a burger in there. the end