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A Note from the Principal

Tena koe,

How about this for writing about what you know:


I fell forward off the motorbike

and landed on a pig

and I picked the fat pig up

into the air

and my dad shot it.

Reuben (6)


This year and next we are conducting a major review of literacy programmes at Wakefield School.  This is part of a regular cycle of reviewing the things we do around here, but it’s particularly important because, as you know, literacy is our core business: you send your child to school to learn how to read and write.

One of the things we will be reviewing is how well we motivate our children to write.  Motivation stems from what you know and are interested in, like Reuben’s interest in pig hunting - an iconic pastime in Wakefield that makes us that little bit different.  One thing I like about Reuben’s story is that he’s discovered one of the most important rules that sets storytelling apart from a mere recount; that you honour a story by rounding up the facts a little.  Shakespeare understood this, along with every other successful writer before or since, so Reuben is in good company.

Sometimes we forget that reading and writing float on a sea of oral language.  Like most of our teacher colleagues we notice a trend towards more children arriving at school without the speaking and listening skills to become successful readers and writers.  

Poor speaking skills can be due to several things but one factor is that these children have simply not had enough exposure to language prior to their 5th birthday - they haven’t been talked to, or given enough opportunity to talk.  We’ll make oral language a priority of our literacy review and already we are targeting this area with help from specialist teachers, but it’s a frustrating catch-up for these children.  Handy hint: restrict your child’s screen time (TV, computers and other devices) - and restrict your own screen time - to be available to talk.


Writing, speaking - and let’s not forget reading.  Check out this pic:










Ben and Ryan have just started school and on a trip to our library they discovered the newspaper section.  I love this photo - two little boys right at the start of their journey into reading, poring over the newspaper as if they’ve done it for years.  It begs for a caption - here’s mine:

Ryan: “I see Xero shares are down 15c”

Ben: “I wouldn’t trust that rag, let’s see what it says in the Dom Post.”

What’s your caption?  Send it to me now.


Have a great week.    

Peter Verstappen

Ph. 021 047 1092



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