Monday, May 16, 2011

A thought for the week…

Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterday. -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Targeted Home Support (Homework)

information evening 7- 8pm in the foyer this Wednesday 18th May.

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School, One of the phrases that we have on our school vision is ‘life long learners’.

What does that mean and how do we hope to achieve it, given our pupils only spend six hours a day for 390 half days or 195 days a year, for eight years at St Mary’s? When you think that most people live until they are over 80 years old this is obviously, in terms of time, a small amount of their lives. I think however the key is that these eight years are a vital time developmentally.

Attitudes, values, techniques, and processing skills that are developed during this time form the basis of the person that our pupil, your child will become. Many studies show that success in life is based more on the learning that takes place outside formal schooling. Playing cards, chess, draughts or snakes and ladders with your child are vital to develop not just thinking skills and the ability to retain rules (knowledge) but also they teach social skills and decorum.

Going for a walk or bike ride, taking your child fishing or to watch sport or just playing a game in the back yard with them teaches all of the same skills.

The difference from learning at school is that when pupils only focus on learning at school, then when school is finished for the day, or week, or forever—they think learning also stops. No need to read or write or solve problems. If, however, learning becomes part of a young persons life then learning becomes part of them for ever.

So next time you have an opportunity, look to play a game of cards with your child, and soon it will become something that you all enjoy.

Have a great week.

Mike Brosnahan

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Last week I attended a meeting about international testing: the tests used, what was done with this information and how it was presented. The way that this information was presented was what lead to the ‘National Standards’.

I have included down the bottom of this page the important information of how New Zealand pupils do when compared to other O.E.C.D. countries.

But what I think we should always remember is that while numeracy and literacy are important so are other subjects. Our goal is to present a curriculum that produces well rounded happy students as is the goal of the new Zealand Curriculum. To do this we need to acknowledge that we are all different, we have different strengths and weaknesses, we learn at different rates and in different ways.

To support this concept we are holding an information evening next week about targeted home support. It would be great to see you there.

Have a great week.

Mike Brosnahan

PISA—Programme for international student assessment. Pisa is an assessment carried out in OECD countries to monitor achievement of 15 Year old students.

PISA 2009 Results for NZ Top performers.

16% of New Zealand students were top performers in reading. OECD average 8%.

Other top performers in high achieving countries: 15% Finland, 19% Shanghai China, 16% Singapore, 13% Australia, 13% Canada.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School, Welcome back to everyone for Term Two.

This is always a very busy term with winter sports getting underway fully and a number of outings and visitors timetabled. Later this term we will continue on with our reporting regime: initially you will receive a written report that will report on your child’s achievements against National Standards. This years report will also have a section where the teacher can comment on the general achievement and attitude of your child. This written report will be supported by an interview. The interview will give a chance for the teacher to let you know how your child is doing in all curriculum areas but also it will give you a chance to ask any questions that you have.

Most studies show that for a child to achieve academically there needs to be a mutually supportive relationship between home and school. This doesn’t mean formal teaching needs to be done at home but it does mean that school based learning needs to be supported at home. It also means that we need to acknowledge that a lot of important teaching and learning takes place in the home or out of the school environment. This can be attitude and values learning but it can also be the learning that takes place just by talking to your child, reading to them at night, watching and discussing a documentary with them.

To further support the home and school partnership we will be holding an evening where we will outline the homework policy of our school, what our expectations are and give ideas on how to make learning at home fun. It would be great to see you there, please remember that we all want what is best for our pupils and working smarter together is the way to achieve the very best results.

Have a great term.

Mike Brosnahan