Kea Crossing IMG1389 IMG9913 IMG7815 Wakefield School from Lookout 3 IMG4764 Picture from Waimea Weekly

What’s Happening Here?





If you’ve been in school recently you will have noticed we have builders all over our new entrant classrooms.  What you’re seeing is the transformation of these rooms into what’s known as ‘modern learning environments’, or ‘flexible learning environments’.  We’re opening up the cloakroom between the two rooms to create a single integrated space with some internal dividers, and adding a small deck and doorways facing the main entrance.  


We’ve been gradually transforming our classrooms into modern learning environments for several years now, in line with our move to collaborative teaching teams and student-led curriculum.  This latest project will give our new entrant teachers and children a space to gain the greatest benefit from collaborative teaching and learning.  


For some years we’ve been improving the transition to school for our five year olds, and part of this work is to create an environment and programme that is familiar to children coming straight from early childhood centres.  This means creating a more open learning space where children interact with multiple teachers, access a range of stimulating activities and make choices in their learning. At this age learning and play are inseparable (arguably this holds true throughout life) and we know children flourish when they feel stimulated, safe and connected with their peers and teachers.  By early June this should all be evident in our renovated classrooms. 


New buildings for new entrants coincide with new teachers, and we welcome Tracy Goddard and Jess O’Connor to our new entrant teaching team.  Tracy and Jess are both highly experienced new entrant teachers and join Leanne Hough and Anna Doblanovic to manage our growing new entrant numbers.


Please welcome them if you see them around school. 


We also welcome these children to Wakefield School: 


Rylee Vickerman                                            

Cody Ngahiwi

Mila Pyers 

Mack Bradley

Have a great week. 

Peter Verstappen 





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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