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This is What we Want for our Children


Today we have sent home to each family a copy of a new booklet called Learning - the Wakefield Way.  The booklet is a summary of our school curriculum - it captures what we do around here and what we want for our children’s education.  It has some big statements of our beliefs and values and some more detailed descriptions of how learning happens.


The ideas and words in the booklet have been gathered over a long period and many conversations among parents, staff, students and community.  Some of these ideas are already very much part of what happens at Wakefield School, others are things we are still becoming but we have enough confidence in both the ideas and our ability to make them happen to commit them to paper.


I hope you will enjoy Learning - the Wakefield Way.  Keep it handy so you can look at it from time to time and please give me your feedback, it will serve its purpose well if it sparks some conversations about your child’s learning. 


If reading the booklet makes you keen to find out more and to have your say in the future direction of our school then I encourage you to join us for


The Big Picture, Friday 28 October, 1.30-6.00pm


where you will enjoy exploring ideas about:

      Systems thinking and learning with real-life problems

      Where to next for restorative practice

      Science partnerships

      Communities of Learning...

...and many other ideas.  The Big Picture is also an opportunity for you to tell us what you’d like to see more (or less) of - every idea is considered. 


If you want to join The Big Picture please return the slip that came with the letter you received last week, or simply contact the school office.  Childcare is provided and the food will be excellent!


Have a good week and enjoy the Labour Weekend holiday.



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 


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