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The end-of-winter blues



Tena koe, talofa lava, malo e lelei, bula, greetings!  Or, with the Pumas in town this weekend, perhaps I should say ‘buenos dias!’


We’re noticing a lot of illness at present, and many children appear tired and with low energy, especially on Mondays.  Call it the end-of-winter blues, that period when we expect to be on the up with the change of season but we find our batteries are low, our tolerance is limited and there is no ‘spring’ into spring.  With three weeks to go until the end of term and winter illnesses not yet banished, here are a few things to prioritise with your child: (and, thinking of the Pumas and All Blacks, these are good tips for international rugby players too):


      Stick to the routines.  Make sure meals, bedtimes, stories and so on happen at the same time as usual.

      Keep up with sleep.  This is important as the evenings lengthen.  Long daylight hours make bedtimes hard for some children so if your child is losing sleep in the evenings give them the occasional late morning start if your family’s commitments can allow. 

      Keep the weekends manageable.  It’s crucial that your child enjoys some chill time during the weekends, especially on Sundays so they can recharge their batteries for the coming week.  We notice quite a few children at the moment who arrive at school on Monday feeling tired from weekends that are too busy or demanding.  Monday to Friday may be recovery time for the All Blacks but for your child these are the days in the week when they need to be at their best.  If your child is exhausted on a Monday keep him or her at home and ask yourself, ‘did we do too much at the weekend?’

      Limit screen time.  How much time does your child spend on a device in the evenings, mornings and weekends?  Does your child have access to a device (cell phone, ipad, laptop, television) in his or her bedroom?  Are you sure your child isn’t sneaking some late-night screen time?  I can tell you with confidence that some children who attend Wakefield School are doing just that - be sure it isn’t your child.

      Keep eating well.  Sugar and junk food can take an even higher toll on your child’s health when they are tired or recovering from illness.  Keep the balance.


Lastly, remember you are always the parent.  Your child may grizzle or argue about unfair limits and the ‘boring’ life you are subjecting them to.  Your child will almost certainly try to persuade you that ‘everybody else’ is out partying and having fun and you’re the world’s greatest spoilsport.  Don’t be persuaded.  In the bigger picture your child is better served and will feel more secure by you staying true to the routines and remaining the person in charge of their life.  Tell your child that the All Blacks do all those things above - except for the occasional big Saturday night. 



Have a beaut week,

Peter Verstappen 



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Wakefield School 175th Celebration

Here is a link to the Registration Form for the Wakefield School 175th Anniversary Celebration to take place on Friday 9th November and Saturday 10th November 2018. Please feel free to share this with your friends and family and anyone you consider may be interested. Please be aware that there are limited tickets available for some events, so early registration will ensure that you don't miss out.

Event Registration

Event Timing: Friday 9th & Saturday 10th November 2018
Event Address: Edward Street, Wakefield School
Contact us on 03 541 8332 or email

Welcome to the Wakefield School 175th Anniversary Celebration. A varied weekend is planned for your pleasure and enjoyment. Please fill in the registration form below so we know what you plan on attending. Any references to Wakefield School below also relate to Eighty-Eight Valley School, Pigeon Valley School, Spring Grove School, Totara Bush Household School, Te Arowhenua Household School, Wai-iti School (formerly Upper Wakefield) and Foxhill School unless otherwise stated. 

PLEASE COMPLETE ONE FORM FOR EACH PERSON REGISTERING - An attending partner does not have to do a full registration.

Please click on the following link to complete the registration form Fill out form



Here’s What We Mean by ‘Student-Led Learning’


Jordan, who is six years old, was recently appointed to our Student Council as a representative of Matai Kereru team.  Last week our Council meeting clashed with scooter training for Jordan.  He came to the office to tell me but I was out, so what did Jordan do?  He wrote me this letter:



To mistir vstn

Sore I cant go to the

Shooht cousool

Becose I

Got scooti

Chraning at



from Jordan.


I love this letter, for two reasons.  First, it is a beautiful expression of a child learning to write; look at how he has made sense of the words ‘student council’, you can hear Jordan picking out the sounds in his mind. 


Second, it is a beautiful expression of student-led learning.  You might ask, ‘what’s he learning?’ but consider this.  Here’s Jordan, 6, as a thinker: he knows he has an obligation to the Student Council, he sees he cannot fulfil it, he comes to tell me, that doesn’t work, he decides he needs to write to me so he creates this letter and brings it to the office.  This is even more impressive because Jordan doesn’t know much about the Student Council yet, he’s only attended one meeting, but he knows he has some sort of obligation to it.  Here’s Jordan as a communicator: if he can’t tell me in person, he’ll slave over this letter to get the message to me.  Here’s Jordan as a planner: he’s thinking ahead and balancing his commitments.  Okay, Jordan will have had some prompts from his teacher, but he’s taken up the challenge and look at what he’s achieved. 


I value the opportunities children have to be leaders at school through the Student Council, committees, monitors and other roles.  Their work in these roles contributes to the smooth running of the school, but as well as leading others they provide real occasions for children to lead themselves, to become masters of their own learning.  And that’s what a democratic curriculum looks like.


Have a good week,




Peter Verstappen