Friday 7 June 2024

Kōwhai News Term 2 Week 6

Kia ora e te whānau! Welcome to the Kōwhai team's Week 6 blog! 

Learning Conferences 

A reminder that learning conferences are taking place next week. Conferences will start at 1.45pm on both days. To support the availability of staff for these conferences, we ask for children to please be collected from school on both days at 1.30pm. Supervision will be available until 3pm for a small group of children. More information about this will come out to you via Hero next week. These conferences will be an important opportunity to connect with your child's teacher and learn more about your child's learning progress and achievement. Your child attends the learning conference with you.

Please book a learning conference for each of your children by clicking on this link and enter the code usvg6 and follow the instructions. 

We recommend not booking time slots back-to-back, in case meetings run over the allocated time.

If you need any assistance to book a conference, please contact Jacky in the office on 03 337 1404 or


For Inquiry this term, we are exploring our Tūrangawaewae (standing place) through pepeha. 

A pepeha is a way to introduce yourself and it is an important aspect of Māori culture. It tells a story of the places and people we are connected to. In a pepeha, you explain where you come from and often make connections with a mountain, river, canoe and family. It also includes things that make us who we are such as our history, culture, and whakapapa. Creating a pepeha as part of a class activity, is also a fantastic way to allow Kōwhai students to understand this aspect of Māori culture, while introducing themselves to their classmates.

The template students will be using for their pepeha will vary depending on whether they are Māori or non-Māori. Please contact your child's homeroom teacher if you have any questions about this. 

Ball Games

Our students have recently started learning exciting new ball games, including Over and Under, Tunnel Ball, Captain Ball, and Leader Ball. These activities are not only fun but also help build teamwork and coordination skills. Towards the end of the term, they will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in a friendly tournament with all the Kōwhai classes. We can't wait to see their sportsmanship in action!


This term, the Kōwhai team have started recorder lessons on a Tuesday afternoon. So far 4 out of 5 classes have had 2 lessons. The students have been making fantastic progress! They've been learning to read music and have successfully mastered playing the notes A and B. It's wonderful to see their enthusiasm and dedication as they develop their musical skills. 

Farewell to Charlotte 

Next week, we will be farewelling the wonderful Charlotte Verity who is moving on to another kura (school). During her time at Beckenham Te Kura, Charlotte has made a positive difference to not only the children she has taught but to all the staff who have been fortunate to work alongside her. We will be sad to see her go and wish Charlotte all the very best with this new adventure.

Online Safety: Gaming 

Eighty percent of tamariki in New Zealand aged 8-17 have played games online. Games can have many benefits: entertainment, social opportunities, coordination development, problem-solving and multitasking skills. But, most of all, gaming is popular because it’s fun. 

Games, however, can be tough for parents and whānau to navigate. How much gaming is too much? How do I make sure my tamariki aren’t seeing inappropriate content or chatting in-game with strangers?

Today we’re sharing Netsafe’s Online Gaming Whānau Toolkit so you have all the resources you need to keep your kids safe. 

YouTube Video:

Have a great weekend!

Friday 24 May 2024

Kōwhai News Term 2 Week 4

Kia ora Whānau, we have had another busy and fun fortnight in Kōwhai! 

Cross Country

We were so proud of all our tamariki with Cross Country! Not only did they give 100% to the event on the day, they also practised diligently each day for the fortnight before the event. Well done everyone!! Thank you to parents and whānau and friends who came out to support us, or who talked to their students and encouraged them prior to the event.


We have noticed a number of students wearing non-uniform clothing to school, such as hoodies, jackets, crocs etc. Please make sure your children are wearing correct uniform items and colours, as detailed here. Please also send children with shoes each day, and if they have gumboots for outside wear, then please still send shoes or slippers which they can wear in the hub. A number of children are also coming to school without a polar fleece or jacket. Please ensure they have both, so that they are well prepared if the weather changes.

Cybersafety - The HDCA for Parents and Whānau

The Harmful Digital Communications Act (or HDCA for short) is an act passed by the Government back in 2015

to help people dealing with serious or repeated harmful digital communications. It covers anything digital like text,

emails or social media content. The most useful thing for parents to understand about the HDCA is the way the 10

communication principles define what is good or bad behaviour online. If you’re ever concerned about your young

person (or you just want to brush up on your knowledge!) visit Netsafe’s Guide to the HDCA.

Learning about Recycling and Waste

Last week, each home group enjoyed a visit from the CCC Education Team, who taught us about recycling, compost and waste in Christchurch. We learnt about what goes in each coloured bin, how different materials are recycled and the benefits of recycling. The CCC Educators also told us about some of the amazing technology used in Christchurch's recycling plant and our city garbage and compost trucks, and that much of the gas emitted from our landfill is turned into electricity for the Council building and Art Gallery. How cool is that! Check out photos below, and you might like to play the Bin Good Game at home. Find out about what can go in the yellow recycling bin here.

Book Character Day

What an array of costumes we had today for Book Character Day! We had a lot of fun guessing the different characters as they arrived at school. Even the teachers and the teaching assistants got into the swing of things.

Have a great weekend!

From the Kōwhai team

Friday 10 May 2024

Kōwhai News Term 2 Week 2

Kia ora whānau,

Welcome back to Term 2! We have an exciting term ahead of us with lots of exciting things planned, starting with our whole school cross country event next Tuesday. We have been practising every day since the start of term and the children are raring to go!

Cross Country

The weather is looking good for next Tuesday afternoon (14th May) so fingers crossed our Cross Country goes ahead! The Year 4 children are due to start at 2:15 followed by the Year 3 children approximately 10 minutes later. Please make sure that your child has a fleece to wear on the day while they are waiting to take part and after their turn. They will also need a drink bottle. We look forward to seeing you there if you are able to make it.


For the first half of this term, we are focusing on health and healthy living for our Inquiry. We are looking at the importance of drinking water, physical exercise, sleep and eating the right foods. For one activity, we are planning our own healthy lunchboxes! Check out these balanced lunchbox ideas here. 

There is lots more great information about health and children on the Health Info website, including breakfast ideas, keeping active and snack foods.

Staying Safe Online

As our tamariki spend more time online, it’s important parents and whānau help them stay safe. Now is a great time to talk to them about how we use the internet and digital technology.

Netsafe has created an Online Safety Parent Toolkit so parents, families and whānau have all the information they need to talk about online safety.

If you or anyone in your whānau needs support, you can contact Netsafe.


Discovery continues to be the highlight of our the week for our tamariki. They have been really excited about creating robots out of cardboard boxes, learning how to finger knit and making mosaic patterns with chalk and masking tape in the playground outside. See the photos below:

Friday 12 April 2024

Kōwhai News Term 1 Week 11

Kia ora koutou,

What an amazing term we have had! The Kōwhai team are extremely proud of the hard work and effort that each of our students have put into their learning, as well as the awesome things they have achieved!

For the holidays....some simple spelling word practise 

Heart words are frequent words that we read or write. These are not words we can 'sound out' (e.g., c-a-t = cat) or use known spelling patterns for, but they are ones we learn by memory.

Click here to view our Heart Word list. Feel free to practise reading and writing these at home. You could read the words, make flash cards or ask your child to spell aloud or write them. We focus on stages 1-4 until the children are really confident and fluent with these. After that, they can also work on the stage 4+ words.

Science - Forensic Unit

All of Kōwhai have had a blast with our Science unit this term. Our focus has been forensics and the students participated in a 'Who did it?' type of scenario as they worked their way through a series of lessons about different aspects of forensic science.

One of the staff members had been brainwashed by a corporation called "Evil" and it was the students' responsibility to figure out who this staff member was and to save them before it was too late. The students received secret video messages and had to find hidden packages in different locations around the school and used these to test chemicals, explore footprints, learn about fingerprints, understand the properties of different fibres and materials, and crack codes. It was so much fun.

For those who missed out on our final lessons..... Reihana was the staff member who was brainwashed and we were successful in saving her!

Making a Difference

During the past few weeks, some of our students have been working hard to make a difference 'Nā mātou he rerekē te ao' by picking up rubbish around our school. When we make sure that rubbish ends up in the bin and we collect rubbish that we see floating around, we are not only ensuring that we have a clean and tidy school, we are protecting our environment. 

Kapa Haka and Te Reo Māori

Next term, we will be commencing our 'opt-in' Kapa Haka sessions. The students who were interested in participating in Kapa Haka have expressed their interest this week and signed up. All students will be part of te reo lessons and those who have chosen not to be part of Kapa Haka will do extra te reo Māori during this time. 

Feel free to chat to your child's homegroup teacher if you would like more information about this.


A reminder to all our whānau that the homegroup teachers are always happy to be contacted throughout the year if there is anything you would like to share or discuss about your child. The home/school relationship is important and communication plays a large part in this. So please see your child's homegroup teacher in the first instance.

Notice, Think, Wonder - Have you got your maths eyes?

As a warm-up to some of our maths lessons, students are looking at every day images and discussing what they notice, think and wonder about the picture. They are then coming up with different mathematical ideas that are evident in the picture or ideas that they would love to explore further. 

Above are two photos that some groups have looked at.

Holiday challenge - if you are keen, take a picture (or multiple pictures) of some maths that you have seen in your day-to-day activities and ask yourself 'What do you notice? Think? Wonder? Where is the maths?'

Feel free to send your photos to with the subject line 'Notice, Think, Wonder.' Krystal would love to see what you have come up with!

Have a great holiday! From team Kōwhai

Friday 15 March 2024

Kōwhai News Term 1 Week 7

Kia ora whānau,

Here is an update on what we have been doing over the past 2 weeks.

Reading/Library Folders

We would just like to remind you that in order to take reading books and library books home, your child will need to have a reading folder OR a library folder. This does mean that your child will need to keep their folder in their bag so they are able to take reading books home during the week, if needed.

Our library days are as follows:

Monday = Nick and Rowe's literacy groups

Tuesday = Anna M and Anna R's lteracy groups

Wednesday = Krystal's literacy group

Construction Boxes

We are needing more construction boxes for Discovery. The children just love making things, from houses to instruments and many other imaginative things besides. If you have any tissue boxes, cereal boxes, shoe boxes or any other cartons, please bring them to school as we would love to use them!

PB4L Focus

This week we are focusing on tidying and friendship.

For tidying, we are focusing on the following good tips:
- tidy as you go
- finish the job
- cooperate
- everything has its place, e.g., sandpit toys, sports equipment
- take care of our outside environment by, e.g., picking up rubbish

For friendship, we have been looking at what friendship means to us and how we can be a good friend.

Toys At School

An increasing number of children have been bringing toys to school this term. We would just like to emphasise that toys are NOT allowed at school. We would really appreciate it if you could be vigilant so that there aren't any toys going to school in your child's bag. They are a huge distraction and we also don't want them to get lost. Thank you so much for your support with this.

Parent Playground Helpers

Last year, we had a wonderful group of parents and caregivers who came along to school during lunch play to support our tamariki in the junior playground. We will be restarting this again from the beginning of Term 2. The benefits of being on the parent playground roster include being involved in the school day, and getting to know other parents and your child's friends. Please email Katie if you would like to offer your help for Term 2.

Victoria Park

This week we had some amazing trips to Victoria Park where we learnt lots about the native plants and animals that can be found on the Banks Peninsula and how things have changed over the years with pests being introduced and settlers arriving. We experienced a bush walk, looking out for the native plants and animals that we could see and we learned about pests and how we can track them by identifying their tracks and poo which we found out is called 'scat'. We also looked at the different traps that are used to get rid of pests. It was a very informative experience whilst also being lots of fun! A huge thank you to all the parents who came along to help. We couldn't have done this without out you. Have a look at the photos below: