Helping children into school
Dannevirke’s Community of Learning — Kahui Ako — is all about making connections and better transitions from early childhood to school for students.
Dannevirke Kahui Ako has been awarded $102,000 from the Ministry of Education Teacher-Led Innovation Fund, to go towards research to discover more about what effect changes in teacher pedagogy will have on the transition, well-being and academic engagement of tamariki in Dannevirke.
“This project has been so long in the making, but we’re ready to go,” Jenna Hutchings, Kahui Ako Lead Teacher, said. “For our community this is an amazing opportunity.”
Teachers from early childhood centres and schools met recently to learn how the confidential research processes will work.
“Being part of the project will have benefits for the whole community,” Jenna said. “Being part of the project helps all four year olds in Dannevirke as they transition to school.”
The research processes are all sanctioned by the ethics committee at Waikato University, with all Dannevirke early childhood centres and homebased childcare centres taking part in the project, along with primary schools.
“How lucky are we to have these connections?” Jo Brown of Tararua REAP, said. “We can have conversations about kids, and the interest and aroha for kids makes my heart sing.
“Learning is a journey and it’s important we all work together.”
Sharing information in a professional way the key, Jenna said.
“The key thing with these transitions is recognising that early childhood centres and wha¯nau have known children since birth,” Jenna said. “It’s about breaking down all the barriers and the continuity of learning. If the transition is smooth, children get on with learning.”
Jo said the project was on the right track.
“It truly is unique because working collaboratively is really powerful.”
The project involves tracking tamariki from every early childhood service in Dannevirke and following them to school. Selected tamariki and wha¯nau will be interviewed at four key points — two months before school, one week before school, six weeks into school and six months into school.
Teachers will learn from each other on how to best support this transition process and allow tamariki the best journey into primary school.
Jenna Hutchings, Kahui Ako Lead Teacher and Jocelyn Knight of Norsewood School at a Community of Learning meeting at Tararua REAP.