- Move to Alert Level 1 (6/8/2020)
I am sure we are all very excited about the Prime Minister’s announcement of New Zealand moving to Alert Level 1. There will be no major changes at MHJC which continues to be safe for all staff and students including those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. It is important that we retain the good hygiene practices followed during other levels as these not only reduce the risk of spreading COVID but also any other winter illnesses. Staying at home if showing symptoms and washing hands are still valuable precautions.
The move to Level 1 also means we can proceed with assemblies, field trips and community events. Our sports teams are already practicing and our cast from the musical “All shook up” is in full swing. We look forward to seeing our students showing and growing their talents and our parents, caregivers giving their support in all areas of school life.
Thank you again for all the support you have given the school, our teachers and support staff during this time. The way everyone has responded so positively makes me proud to be a member of this wonderful school community and nation.
- Happy Mothers Day! (5/10/2020)
- Back to our old ways or an opportunity to make positive changes? (5/3/2020)
Thanks to everyone who has helped to support our students during lockdown. I realise that parents and caregivers have had to play an even bigger role in their children’s education than before and I hope that this may strengthen the delivery of our curriculum and individual learning journeys. These times have also challenged our teachers’ ability to connect and engage students without placing undue pressure and they too are to be thanked for their efforts.
As many leaders in New Zealand and elsewhere have stated it is important we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves as the war on COVID-19 is far from over. Many, I am sure would love to quote Sir Winston Churchill who after the Battle of El Alamein, the first significant victory of the Allies over German forces in world war two, made the famous quote: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
I trust that everyone has used this enforced isolation to reflect on our lives and how we can make small but significant changes to promote our and others wellbeing. It is somewhat distressing to see how some people have ignored public health warnings and guidelines in their desire to return quickly to their old lifestyles.
I was also shocked and distressed to see the queues to fast food outlets which I could not help but compare to the tragic scenes of people desperate for any food in Africa and even the USA. While I enjoy a Big Mac from time to time, I could not believe that this should be such a priority that people could wait up to 5 hours for their favourite meal.
I am inspired and prefer to focus on the numerous acts of kindness and compassion being shown by so many people across the world and hope that this heightened sense of community will remain as we hopefully emerge from the crisis caused by the deadly virus. We need to learn from history again as many people in Great Britain stated that they never felt as strong a sense of unity as they did before the war and were saddened at how this spirit was lost in the peace that followed.
Next week we hope to get further guidelines on what a possible movement from Lockdown Level 3 to 2 might look like. When this happens I will inform the community as soon as possible. Our priority will be to ensure the school remains a safe site for all and that slowly but surely we will be able to transition back to face to face, exciting teaching and learning opportunities.
In the meantime, again I thank the community for its support and patience. While being with the family must have had some blessings I am sure everyone is looking forward to children returning to school in the near future. Let’s hope that our efforts to contain and eliminate the spread of the virus allow us to do this!
Kia mana ake – growing greatness.
- ANZAC Day (4/24/2020)
During the COVID-19 pandemic it is easy to forget other important events which have shaped our nation. The past month saw the first anniversary of the March 15 shootings of innocent worshippers at Mosques in Christchurch.
Did we truly learn the lessons of the Christchurch massacre? Are we continuing to respect and celebrate not only the Muslim faith and culture and indeed anyone who may have a different view or lifestyle to ours? I deliberately avoid the use of the word “tolerate” which has a negative association of passive, indifference and which does not actively build understanding and awareness.
With a hopeful end to the lockdown restrictions we will start to put bits of our lives back together but like post-March 15, will we be the same or have our priorities and values changed?
On ANZAC Day we pay respect to those who served in our armed forces and in particular those who were killed and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We pause to reflect on how hard it must have been for entire communities who had to go without certain luxuries or even necessities when the economy was directed towards the war effort. I still have my mother’s ration card and the evacuation order which meant she had to leave her parents to leave London during the “blitz” in world war two. I compare our recent experiences of lockdown with the lives of those during both world wars who experienced 5 or 6 years of horror and sacrifice. Interestingly as a result of rationing and being provided a limited but healthy diet, the general health of UK citizens improved!
We are emerging from Lockdown Level 4 to Level 3 and we are able to do so because as a nation we have followed the advice and guidance of our leaders with very few exceptions. I am proud to be a citizen of New Zealand/Aotearoa as I witnessed and felt part of a community which made sacrifices and reached out to each other. This experience must be one which we remember as we remember other crises this nation and the world has faced. We have been successful so far, because we have trust in our leaders who have been clear and definite in their policies as we fought an invisible enemy. Importantly, our leaders have also been prepared to listen to experts and have placed the wellbeing of the community as its number one priority.
In the absence of traditional ANZAC Parades I urge everyone to spend some time tomorrow reflecting on the lessons we have learnt, to pay our respects because it is important we do not forget. Join the many who will be at the end of their driveways at 6 a.m. to honour our veterans and ex-servicemen and women. They helped to grow this nation.
Kia mana ake – Growing greatness!
- Earth Day (4/22/2020)
One of the advantages of the lockdown has been the reduction of human activity and the resulting lowering of carbon emissions which has cleaned the air. The sea, rivers and land have also benefited and in a sense the natural world has been able to rest a little while we fight the COVID virus.
I am lucky enough to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature from my deck as a reserve borders our house. This time of reflection has been valuable and I urge all students to spend a bit of time today to quietly watch the sun rise (or set), seeing clouds blow past, listen to the wonderful bird song, wonderful silence or rustling of the leaves in the trees.
In our Charter we emphasise the need for students to connect – with each other, nature and themselves. Lockdown has given us a golden opportunity to appreciate nature and each other and as we do this we start to connect with our true selves.
We are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19 when we start to work our way back to a “new normal”. Let us not, in our excitement, waste the opportunity to respect nature, to be true guardians or custodians of the land following the principles of “kaitiakitanga”. Conserve, protect and honour mother earth.
A final point to ponder is how well the people of New Zealand and the world have mobilised and united to fight the virus, find a vaccine and make individual and collective sacrifices during lockdown. Yet thousands die of respiratory illnesses caused by pollution, millions live in unsanitary conditions, floods and droughts threaten lives and livelihoods, whole islands and communities face the risk of losing their homes owing to climate change – can the world unite in the same way as we fought COVID-19 to preserve the environment to secure our future?
What role will each of us play to make the world a better place?
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!
- Update on moving from Lockdown Level 4 to 3. (4/21/2020)
Please complete the survey being sent from your child/ren’s whānau as quickly as possible for planning purposes as we need to know how many students will require supervision from 29 April.
Please take note of the government’s guidelines that only students who cannot be supervised at home should come to school.
You should also have received an email from the school with guidelines for students who are registered to return.
- Lockdown update 16 April (4/16/2020)
Dear parents and caregivers
You will be aware of the Prime Minister’s announcement today relating to the moving to Level 3 of lock-down from Level 4 which we remain in at this stage. More detail and information will be provided to us by or before Monday 20 April to ensure we have adequate plans in place for the continued education of your children in a safe environment and we will keep you informed as soon as possible.
We are still working towards a return date of 29th April although as you can read below, not all staff and students will return on this date. This means we could follow a blended approach with some students continuing with on-line learning and some face to face. As I mentioned, more detail will be required before we can be certain however we know that moving to Level 3 would affect all our students as it refers to all year levels up to and including Year 10. We already have plans in place for the site to be cleaned and ready for the return date.
I have copied relevant information from official websites for your easy reference:
Alert level summary chart: https://covid19.govt.nz/resources/information-sheets/#alert-level-tables
How Level 3 will affect education specifically:
Under Alert Level 3 it will be safe for Early Learning / Education Centres and schools to open for children up to and including year 10, with appropriate public health measures in place. All young people in years 11-13 will continue to learn at home.
Physical attendance at school is voluntary, but all children not at school should be learning by distance. Schools will be a safe place for children to go to learn if their parents need to return to work, or the children cannot learn at a distance. Children who are able to, should remain home and learn via distance.
Schools and Early Learning / Education Centres will contact parents as they work through their plans for re-opening.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks are not necessary for a school environment. Children, young people and staff who are at greater risk are encouraged to stay at home. Any child, young person or staff member who is sick should remain at home.
It will take at least a week for Schools and Early Learning Services to get ready to open after we go to Alert Level 3.
Thank you again for your patience as we navigate this changing and at times challenging landscape.
- Happy Easter (4/12/2020)
- This month on SchoolTV – Happiness & Gratitude (4/1/2020)
While we adjust to life during lock-down it is even more important for us to continue to support each other. I am sure many of us are reflecting on our lives now we have a bit more time and space for what was an indulgence but should be a daily habit.
I trust you find this update valuable:
Happiness is a term that captures a huge variety of positive emotions such as humour, serenity, optimism, joy, pride, inspiration, love and hope. Happiness means different things, to different people and is essential to your understanding of emotional literacy. Throughout history, philosophers, religious writers and poets have pondered on the meaning of happiness and how it might be achieved. In the last few decades, scientists and psychologists have researched this further by studying a field of science called positive psychology.
The result of this research suggests there is a strong correlation between gratitude and greater happiness. Practising gratitude helps you shift your focus to positive memories or experiences, noticing the good in your life. Over time, this will re-wire your brain to create new neural pathways, increasing your state of happiness and overall wellbeing.
In this edition of SchoolTV, parents and care-givers will learn how to achieve happiness and the benefits of practising gratitude. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this month’s edition, and we always welcome your feedback.
If you do have any concerns about the wellbeing of your child, please contact the school for further information or seek medical or professional help.
Here is the link to this month’s edition https://mhjc.nz.schooltv.me/
- Advice for “homeschooling” (3/26/2020)
Kia ora parents and caregivers
I am sure you have been reading a lot of advice from various sources about distance/on-line or homeschooling. Here is some advice from SchoolTV
SPECIAL REPORT: Preparing for Homeschooling
Homeschooling could soon be a reality for many adult carers as nations act to implement strategies in the prevention of COVID-19. The daunting task of establishing new routines and schedules, whilst juggling work responsibilities, could prove to be disruptive and challenging for families and schools.
Some young people will transition seamlessly, whilst others may struggle. Therefore it will be vitally important for parents to be vigilant in looking for signs of anxiety and depression. Parents will need to continue to be reassuring and supportive in this time of uncertainty and acknowledge that this may be a stressful time for students of all ages.
Schools will be working hard behind the scenes to ensure a child’s academic needs are met, but parents will need to play a key role in providing them with the structure and groundwork for success. Young people will be looking towards their parents to keep things in context and help ease the transition to a different learning environment.
In this Special Report, parents and caregivers will be provided with some guidelines on how best to navigate this time of transition with minimal disruption. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this Special Report, and as always, we welcome your feedback.
If you do have any concerns about the wellbeing of your child, please contact the school for further information or seek medical or professional help.
Here is the link to your special report https://mhjc.nz.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-preparing-homeschooling