A message from Preschool Principal, Mrs Nikki Joyce.
Many words have been used to describe the year. An episode from Sesame Street could sum it up as a year that has been brought to you by the letter ‘C’ and the number ‘2’ and I agree. While Covid necessitated change in a year where double dose vaccines dominated conversations, our focus has been around our children’s development and bridging connection especially over the prolonged Auckland lockdown and nurturing a culture of continuous learning among our teachers.
The restrictions that came with Covid-19 challenged us to think differently and adapt quickly to provide stability, routine, faith and love to our three and four year old students who may have found it hard to grasp the changes around them. Our priority has been to facilitate a seamless transition to distance learning especially in recent months and concurrently engage those who were back on site when we could. We explored a variety of ways to keep learning interesting through small group online meetings between students and teachers, larger group mat times, dance lessons, an online chapel with Reverend Hardie, and daily activities and challenges.
We were especially pleased to see happy faces throughout online learning where students were kept busy with a balance of learning through experiments, exploring creativity and actively participating in sports through outdoor activities and yoga. When restrictions eased, we created learning packs to go home enabling students to work on carefully curated workbooks and utilise additional resources to build on the creations. Another learning highlight was our storytelling evening with Tanya Batt relaying stories to students before bedtime. It was incredible to see the delight on the students’ faces as Tanya brought her imaginary world to life. The strong relationships between students and teachers, and efforts to continuously connect with students has helped to keep them engaged and enabled a smooth return to Preschool.
The seamless transition between learning environments to ensure continuous development couldn’t have been possible without collaboration with our Preschool parents. The solid parent-teacher relationship we have nurtured over the year has enabled teachers to connect with families individually, to follow up on their wellbeing and offer personalised support. We were also pleased to be able to proceed with our online parent evening during the Term with a guest speaker from the Parenting Place.
In providing the best education, start to life and social experiences for our students, our Preschool has continuously looked at professional development opportunities for all our teachers. I am pleased to share that we continue to perform extremely well in this area this year by providing our Preschool teachers opportunities to continuously upskill and nurture their passion by furthering their education.
In January, Kirsty undertook a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) course for Preschool children which was run online from Finland. In May, Eileen, Durga and myself participated in an online conference focused on empowering critical thinking from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Throughout the year, Katie attended a leadership course, Emily engaged in a course supporting learning for boys while Jonelle, Durga and Emily undertook visual arts courses. Alongside this, Eileen has also begun studying for Masters in Education Practice with the University of Auckland. All these development courses ensure continuous improvement that strengthens our teaching cohort and brings expertise, ideas and concepts for the benefit of the Preschool and students as a whole.
I would like to thank our teachers for their perseverance and our parents for their partnership in manoeuvring and overcoming the adversities that have become part of life. My sincere appreciation also to our Preschool community who have stepped forward to generously contribute towards our fundraising effort to serve the community.
To all our Preschool students, we have missed having you on school grounds. We look forward to welcoming you back on site in the New Year.
Fides Servanda Est
Mrs Nikki Joyce