By Krista Kerr – Pōhutukawa teacher
In ngā akomanga the term has started off very smoothly with tamariki eager to work with their favourite activities, get presented with new ones and see their friends again. It has been lovely to see how warmly new tamariki have been welcomed and ‘absorbed’ into their new hapori (community). The other tamariki have been kindly teaching them our routines and behaviours through Grace and Courtesy groups as well as through gentle reminders. With 20 other children doing these expected behaviours and following the same routine it doesn’t take long at all for new ones to feel comfortable and at home, building up their sense of belonging and security day by day.
Seeing tamariki and their whānau again after the long summer holiday, catching up on news and seeing how much all the children have all grown is a lovely way to start the school year, basking in the feelings of whanaungatanga that carries over from previous years, and now grows to include our new members! There is always a bundle of feelings for that first day or week, for everyone involved! These can include excitement at being back with friends, anxiously checking off the small final jobs we kaiārahi had to do, relief that the holidays are over but nervous about saying goodbye to your child again…. And of course, this is different for each individual.
The trust that you put in us, the kaiārahi of Wā Ora, each day is not taken lightly. One of the aspects that I love most about Montessori education is that we have each child for three years and the opportunity that this gives us to really get to know them and you, their whānau, and the relationship that is built up over this time. It makes such a big difference to helping tamariki settle into school during the first week back or during that wobbly first ten minutes of their day, and to sense when you as a parent may need a helping hand or kind word as you say goodbye to a teary child.
However, the school and class community we have also plays a huge part. I love the way that our school, whānau, and kaiārahi work together to build a hapori in which we all can flourish, especially our precious tamariki! If you see some new faces outside your child’s akomanga or in the playground this week, it would be wonderful to introduce yourself and stop to chat. That way if someone is having a hard time as we all get used to school routines again, there are others there to support them. You have all been through that ‘new, teary stage’ or the ‘my child is having a bad day’ experiences. Although kaiārahi are there, it is also great to be able to chat with others who have been through this and to get the reassurance from another parent that, yes, it does get easier!
Good luck, and here’s to a great 2023 as a school community!