In 2021 we are focussed on four of our seven Values and the related Values Competencies. Our students focus on these Values and the related Values Competencies as part of their Living Christianly Programme, Circle Time Programme, and Action Learning (including learning through play). In Term 1 we are exploring our value of ‘Christ-like’. In Term 2 we then explore being Critical Learners, followed by Love in Term 3. We finish the school year with our value of Peace.
As the foundation for the wider curriculum and an authentic context for developing our Values Competencies, our students work through the LIGHTS process, an action-based learning inquiry that helps them to make a difference in their world. This year in LIGHTS we are exploring the concept of Tiakitanga. The children will be learning about different spaces, places and things that we can help to take care of.
Depending on the age of the child depends on how large the context for learning is. The children in our junior school (Te Kākano) are learning about taking care of their own belongings and spaces. The children in our Year 3 – 5 hub (Te Pihinga) are focussing on taking care of the special spaces in our school and our Year 6-8 hub (Te Mahuri) are focussing on taking care of our native flora and fauna in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
If you have a passion or particular knowledge in these areas then please let us know so we are able to involve you in our learning journey!
Philosophy for quality learning at home
Children are learning all the time and they learn in a variety of ways. Although the structured learning that takes place during the school day is vitally important, so is the learning that happens in your home. This learning should complement what happens during the school day but does not need to be dictated by it.
As a parent, you are the adult facilitator in your child’s learning at home. Work does not need to be completed independently by your child then sent to school for correction, but rather the learning tasks can be done with you so that your child is learning at that moment. It is important that as you are doing a learning task you are focussed on what your child is learning through the activity. The success of the activity is not in how perfect the end product is but in the quality of the child’s learning.
Never underestimate the importance of day-to-day activities in your child’s learning. Encouraging curiosity and discussing different things is extremely valuable. Taking your child on a bushwalk, doing the gardening or baking a cake, are all very valuable learning experiences. Encourage your child to ask questions during each of these activities and engage in the conversations or investigations that will develop an increased level of understanding in your child. Reading to your children, engaging in conversation with them and engaging in child-led play with your children all promote positive learning dispositions in them.
For more information about Learning at Home please see our website
It is important to practise simple things at home with your children every day. There are many fun ways to do this. We are happy to give ideas, but we also suggest you get creative in the ways you practise things at home.
Practise with Years 1-2
● Counting. First in ones then in twos, fives and tens. Forwards and backwards.
● Spelling. We will work collaboratively with you to determine weekly spelling lists. This will be dependent on readiness.
● Alphabet or Sight words. We will work collaboratively with you to determine weekly word lists.
● Your child’s take-home reading book is an integral component of the school reading programme. The book will be selected for your child or by your child so that they can practise and enjoy reading. This book will be at the easy level for your child.
● We ask that you and your child spend up to 15 minutes reading and talking about the book. Your child should be reading the book with fluency and phrasing. This means that they will not be regularly stopping on unknown words and will be reading with the punctuation within the book (i.e stopping at full stops, pausing at commas, etc). If your child is stopping on many unknown words, please let your child’s teacher know so that an appropriate level of text can be found. The easy level of text is most important, as we want the Home Reading experience to be as positive as possible for you and your child. Praise your child regularly as they read.
● Your child’s home reader is two to three levels below the level of the book that they are using in the classroom. The classroom book is used by the teacher to give explicit instruction in reading during Guided reading groups. Home reading enables your child to practice and consolidates their learning. This practice is most important in ensuring that your child continues to gather reading strategies. Revisiting a particular book over a couple of nights can be very beneficial in developing reading confidence and consolidating reading strategies. Do not be alarmed if your child brings home the same book over a few nights or has a repeat book several days later as they will be getting a variety of readers at school during reading instruction. Children often feel safe reading the same book over and over and they will still benefit from reading a familiar text.
● When your child has read to you, consider a few of the following:
● Ask a few simple questions based on the characters in the text or the setting of the book.
● Focus on an illustration and ask your child to retell what is happening within the illustration. Ask you child-what happened before this? And what happened after this?
● Ask your child to retell the story in their own words.
● Encourage your child to talk about any similar experiences that are relevant to the book.
● Ask your child to locate words that begin or end with a particular sound.
● Identify words that are repeated throughout the book.
● In the earlier levels of the text, the illustrations are highly supportive of the words within the book. Encourage your child to use the illustrations to help them read-please don’t ask your child to read the book with the illustrations covered. As levels become more challenging, illustrations will become less supportive.
Practise with Years 3-6
● Maths – Basic facts (addition and subtraction up to 20 – aim for instant recall) and Times Tables – through websites or games, or flashcards.
● Spelling. Your children will have weekly lists to work through.
● Reading. The more your children read at this age the better. Discussing what they have read will help to increase your child’s comprehension. Encourage your child to read for at least 15 minutes each day. It can be a school book or a book from home. Practise with Years 7-8
● Maths – Times Tables (Basic Facts). I would recommend Maths Invaders to learn these. Khan Academy – through websites or games.
● Spelling. Your children will have lists to work through. They will have 10 words each week. The advanced spellers also need to ensure they write their word into a sentence to show they understand the meaning.
● Reading. The more your children read at this age the better. Discussing what they have read will help to increase your child’s comprehension. Encourage your child to read for at least 20 minutes each day.
Home Learning for Years 3-8
This year we are changing the expectations of Home Learning, and making it more parent and child-directed rather than us making this an expectation. ‘Homework’ as such has been proven to have little impact on a child’s learning. On our website, you will find some ideas for family activities that promote good learning, and we will also be publishing the ideas that parents from our school community have that promote good learning. We encourage you to be pro-active with your children in doing the things that promote good learning, but we won’t be holding the children accountable for this. If you are feeling unsure about how an everyday activity or special project can promote quality learning then please pop in and see us, we are more than happy to help.
Extension or support
If your child is needing specific support or extension, that is not accommodated for through the general ‘learning at home’ activities, then the school staff will contact you. The staff will work collaboratively with you to construct a programme that will meet your child’s needs and be manageable for you. If you feel that your child needs extra support or extension and we have not contacted you then please feel free to contact us.
If you are wanting more learning tasks for your home
There are many commercial and web-based resources available that you can do with your children at home if you choose to. If you would like some recommendations then please don’t hesitate to ask. While we are happy to celebrate the learning that occurs in your home through these type of activities it is important to remember that you are facilitating your child/ren’s learning through these resources. The assistance and feedback you give to your children as they are completing learning tasks will make the biggest impact on their learning.
As parents you have a vital part to play in your child’s learning and development. The experiences, conversations and teaching moments you have with your child make a huge impact on their readiness to succeed at school. At RCS we hope to equip you with lots of ideas you can implement at home that will allow your children to really fly in their education.
Practise the basics