Kia ora koutou, kō Anna Carter ahau. I am one of your school Board of Trustee members. I have been living on the Kāpiti Coast for the last 20 years with my husband John. We have three sons - our youngest is at Waikanae School and the other two have both been through Waikanae School. I had been thinking about standing for the Board for some time, as I wanted to be actively involved in our school community and I am really pleased that I have been given the opportunity now - so thank you.
I really valued the honesty and integrity that our school leadership and teachers bring to our school. I have always felt that I have been able to raise issues with my children’s teachers and/or the senior leadership and that those discussions have been responded to positively. I fully support the strategic direction Waikanae School is taking in upholding and promoting key values and weaving those through the school curriculum. I support open reporting but not necessarily standardised testing as I believe that our children’s teachers have the best understanding of how our children might be performing. As a parent, I will always rely on the teacher’s assessment of my child over statistics and test results. I would encourage you, if you have any concerns about your child, to speak to their teacher in the first instance.
As other parents have raised with me, I struggle with how as a parent and as a school community we might implement the digital curriculum. My children and in particular my youngest child is considered to be a ‘digital native’ - he is already fully immersed in the digital world. Everyday he interacts with a device of some sort or watches his brothers and parents use devices. The power of the internet is mind-boggling and yet I feel the need to be cautious because we still do not know the effects (good or bad) of time spent on devices including time learning on devices. I support the position that Waikanae School has taken in its Strategic Plan that tamariki will be able to “experience digital technology as a part of the curriculum with a focus on problem solving and safety online (Strategic Priority 5 - see the website here for the full Strategic Plan Waikanae_School_Guiding_Documents__2019.pdf). I am grateful that Waikanae School is not a BYOD (bring your own device) school, which has been made possible by previous Boards allocating funding for Chrome books and I hope that this can continue into the future. However, I also acknowledge the benefits digital technology can make to teaching and to learning. I love receiving the video and photo updates through the SeeSaw application that my child’s teacher uses. I value the Facebook pages that periodically get set up for classrooms that support fostering relationships outside the classroom. I can also see the huge advantage that google docs provides that enables the teacher to oversee student’s work in real time. With all that in mind, I think inquiry or play-based learning particularly in junior school Te Waharua Tahi, and continued support for hands-on curriculum subjects such as art, science and handwriting will remain important right through to Year 8.
I hope that every child’s time at Waikanae School will be one of wonderment, exploration, creativity and enjoyment.