Monday, 30 July 2012

2012 Term 3 Week 2 - Flippa Ball

What is Flippa Ball? And why are we teaching this at HPS?

Flippa Ball is a ball sport played in the water and teaches the skills of water polo without the deep pool and the 'egg beating' required by water polo players. This sport came to our attention last year when we were organising our sports/PE programmes and purchasing resources and, although we do not have a school pool, we thought the sport provided a fun and challenging way to enhance ball skills, water confidence and team work.

We are currently travelling to Swimsation to give every student an opportunity to develop Flippa Ball skills within a warm and safe environment. Our thanks to the parents who come along and help with transport every week - we really couldn't do this without your support!

Children are grouped according to height in Studio 2 to allow the taller students to learn in the centre of the pool while the younger students have the added confidence booster of the bar and platforms from which to practice their skills. In Studio 3 we are working with students in their Learning Advisor groups as we have a focus on developing key competencies within the game.

Our students have certainly improved in confidence in the water from week 1 to week 2 and it is great to see the skills they are being taught during the Fundamental Skills programme transferring into a different sport and a different environment. Studio 3 play a short game at the end of their session and this will improve not only the skills of Flippa Ball but also their strategy in game play!

Cole, Hayley and Jane take the sessions at the pool and studio teachers are free to observe individual students and their development of key competencies. Teachers learn a lot from observing their students and this time is valuable in developing an overall understanding of students in a different environment.

We are looking forward to developing the skills and games of Flippa Ball over the remainder of the year.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

2012 Term 3 Week 1 - Peter and Benjamin

This term we welcomed our school rabbits; Peter and Benjamin.

Peter and Benjamin are 6 month old New Zealand White brothers adopted from the Auckland SPCA They will live at school with us during term time and go on holiday when term is over. 

They are large rabbits and need plenty of space so will live in the newly constructed “Rabbit Ranch” on Rapeti Rise in the courtyard. 

The grass on Rapeti Rise was sprayed during the holidays so Peter and Benjamin will move to their new location in week 2 once the spray has dissolved.

Our students are learning about what rabbits needs are so that we are sure we are looking after them properly and giving them the right food, shelter, care, love and attention.

Already this week we have seen a lot of students visiting the bunnies and learning about them. When we asked one of our boys what he was doing in between the new hutch and the window his reply was "reading to Peter and Benjamin of course". It's great to see our students embracing their new pets and thinking about how we need to act around them, who should clean the hutch (Cole apparently!!) and asking what they can bring in for them to eat.

Peter and Benjamin are starting their own blog to share their adventures with us and can be emailed on We will link to their blog on the website so look out for more from them next week!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

2012 Term 2 Week 10 - Our Official Opening

We have had an amazing Term 2 with our students and community and we are most appreciative of the ongoing support from our parents. 

Our Term 2 inquiry learning has focused on the authentic contexts of our sustainability and the celebration of Matariki. Entwined with this has been our learning around developing our powhiri protocols and event management for our opening.

Our school was officially opened on Friday 29 June by the Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister and what an opening day we had!

Our students brainstormed who they would like to open their school in Term 1 and came up with a list of people, with Mr Key at the top of the list. We emailed his office and were delighted to hear that he would be able to attend and open our school for us.

It was important to us that our official opening was a celebration of learning and focussed on our most important people - our students. We worked with them to weave together the elements of learning that were important to us as a school and developed songs, dance, speeches and presentations to reflect our vision and share it with our community and invited guests.

Our day began with a dawn ceremony where our local iwi blessed our buildings. We met at 6.30am with our kaumatua, teachers, builders and establishment board and were delighted to be joined by several students and their parents. It was a cold morning as we were welcomed onsite with a karanga and walked through each building in turn for the blessing. Our students initially stayed with their parents but as we progressed through the school they moved to be with our kaumatua, echoing their chants and joining in with the waiata. It was an extremely moving start to our day to see our students so comfortable with their school, their knowledge of tikanga and their kaumatua. 

We followed the blessing ceremony with a breakfast of milo and muffins for our students. These muffins were again donated by Sheree and Matthew Hart from Papakura New World - our thanks to them for their ongoing support of our school.

Our school opening plaque was made to fit into the cobbles at the front of the school office. Peter Robinson Paving kindly donated time and materials to fit the  plaque into the cobbles and create a chamber underneath for our time capsule. 

Our time capsule contained photos, examples of every students learning, mementos of our first couple of terms as well as newspapers, school newsletters, our prospectus and a calendar of events. Students watched as we packed our time capsule and we asked our newest student Libee to help place the time capsule in the chamber.

As we had the Prime Minister was in attendance for an official visit, we flew our New Zealand flag. This was the first time we had flown our NZ Flag and we explained the significance to our students as we raised the flag and sang the national anthem.

The next part of our celebration was to share our opening day cake with our students. We asked Hayley to cut the cake and pulled a number out of the kete to choose a student to assist, and Delahaye was the lucky girl! We served chocolate cake and juice to all our students for morning tea which was a hit!

Before any of the land works began on the school we had our dawn site blessing in December 2010. During this ceremony we removed some of the earth from the site and this has been looked after during the building phase so that we could return it to the site. 

We planted a Kauri Grove with three kauri trees representing the build team, the establishment board and one gifted to us from Willowbank School in Howick when Jane left. We asked Peter Davidson our Architect, Karen Shields our Establishment Board Chair and Deidre Alderson, principal of Willowbank School to replace some of the earth taken at the site blessing under each tree. Our kaumatua blessed each tree as it was planted on top of the earth we returned to our land. 

Our students welcomed our visitors to the school with their first powhiri. We are grateful for the assistance of our kaumatua with the protocols and the senior students from Rosehill College for their assistance with the haka and waiata. Cathy and Hannah welcomed our visitors with a karanga and led the waiata which followed the mihi from both tangata whenua and manuwhiri.

After the powhiri our students sang, danced and gave digital presentations about their learning before asking the Rt Hon John Key to address the school. 

We then made our way over to the front of the school where the Prime Minister and Sienna cut the ribbon and unveiled the plaque. Sienna was chosen to assist with the ribbon cutting as she was the first child to pre-enrol at HPS way back in July last year!

Once the official part of the day was over our students enjoyed a 'noodle box' celebration lunch and joined our parents and visitors for afternoon tea in the hall. The Prime Minister took the opportunity to have a look at the studios, try out some of our funky furniture and see what and how our students are learning.

Thank you to our friends, families, mentors, iwi, community and special guests who shared our special day and to our community members who worked behind the scenes to make sure the day ran smoothly.

We had a wonderful day celebrating with our community. Our students were confident, creative and we are incredibly proud of their contributions to our celebrations. They, and our teachers, had all worked hard to ensure that our special day was a celebration of our school from beginning to end … and that was just what it was … a celebration of learning, of fun and of how we live our vision at HPS.