Hero photograph
Photo by Urs Cunningham

Parent connection and involvement 2023

Urs Cunningham —

We are continually looking for the most effective ways to connect with our school community and ensure that people can be involved with school life.

The last few years have had a significant impact on our ability to connect with our school community, and we have had far fewer chances to gather together. This year one of our focuses is to ensure there are different ways for parents and whānau to be involved with different aspects of school life, and that there are opportunities each term for the community to gather together and connect.

Parent focus groups

Towards the end of last year I began to trial ways to connect with small groups of parents and chat informally about different aspects of school life and education. I will continue to do that this year, but in a slightly different way. 

The focus groups are a chance for parents and whānau to meet together with me and talk through different aspects of school life. I generally have a few key questions to start some discussion, such as what is important for whānau in terms of success at school for their tamariki. These discussions may start off from questions I ask, but then they evolve into much wider discussions about a whole range of things that are important to people in terms of their children's schooling. The key point of these group meetings is to give parents and whānau a chance to meet with me, ask  questions, and share what is important about the outcomes you want for your tamariki. 

This year I will be holding these groups in year levels. We don't generally separate our ākonga out into year level groups, but hosting focus groups in year levels not only gives whānau a chance to connect with me, but also a chance to meet and connect with parents and whānau of children of a similar age to your own tamariki. The focus groups are not a requisite by any means, but all parents and whānau members of children in each year group are most welcome to come along and have a chat with each other and with me. 

The dates for focus group meetings for the first two terms are below. We will then hold a second round of focus groups for each year level across terms 3 and 4.  Each meeting is for parents and whānau members of children in this group. They are all held from 5-6pm in Māwhero learning space. For each meeting, a staff member will be on duty out in the school grounds, so you are most welcome to bring your children with you and let them play outside safely during the meeting.

  • Year 6 focus group: Term 1 Thurs 16th Feb 5-6pm
  • Year 5 focus group: Term 1 Thurs 9th March 5-6pm
  • Year 4 focus group: Term 1 Thurs 16th March 5-6pm
  • Year 3 focus group: Term 2 Thurs 11th May 5-6pm
  • Year 2 focus group: Term 2 25th May Thurs 5-6pm
  • New entrant and year 1 focus group: Term 2 8th June Thurs 5-6pm

Parent and whānau volunteers

We were extremely grateful for all of the volunteer support we had last year from parents and whānau, and we would like to ensure that any family members who are keen to be involved with school life in any way feel able and welcome to do so. 

Along with asking for support through the year with specific trips and events, we will be sending out emails and notices asking for involvement and support with different areas, such as helping with admin jobs such as pizza / lunch orders and helping in the library, to helping with fundraising events. We will send out separate messages for specific tasks or events. This is not to ask the same people over and over again, but rather to be more targeted and precise, so people know exactly what they are volunteering for, and can pick activities that will suit their skills and preferences. 

If you would like to be involved with school in a specific way, please get in touch with either Rachel in the office (office@amesbury.school.nz) or Kirat (kirat@amesbury.school.nz), who will oversee community events and the library. Between them, they will ensure that you are connected with the right people. 

Community gatherings

Finally, one aspect we have missed a lot over the past few years is the chance to gather and connect as a wider community. This year, we will be looking to ensure that there are chances to meet and connect as a school community every term. 

In term 1, the first community gathering of the year will be our annual Meet 'n Greet on Friday of the first week of school (3rd Feb) from 5 - 7pm. As usual, we will have hub presentations held in the hall, where you can meet the teachers in your child's hub, and they will share key information about how the hub will operate. Whilst the presentations are being held, leaders and other teachers will be outside in the school grounds, meaning children can come and play safely outside. There will be sausages and pizza (no money required) out on the field, guaranteed to keep tamariki (and hungry adults) happy! Come along, connect with staff and other parents and whānau, and (hopefully) enjoy a sunny evening together.  

It is our goal this year to connect and work together as a community, so that we can do the very best we can for our amazing tamariki. 

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata! For what is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. 

We look forward to connecting and working with you throughout 2023. 

Ngā mihi, 

Urs Cunningham