Linton schoolkids not alone anymore
Seven lambs, two calves and nine proud pupils lined up at their calf day – quite an achievement for a school that started the year with only one lonely pupil.
Six-year-old Cruiz Strickett was on his own as term 1 began at Linton Country School, but it has gradually picked up more pupils throughout the year.
They have all joined in the fun of animal wrangling, with every child raising their own lamb or calf over the past six weeks.
Principal Katy Marsh started in May and said bringing back lamb and calf day was one of her first decisions, because they add to the school‘s strong rural character.
As a sole-charge teacher, she also did double duty – animal feeding through the night for the first two weeks.
Now, the pupils measure, mix and deliver bottles of milk once a day, and and then wash them up. The children have learned maths, science, research skills, empathy and responsibility.
Nine-year-old Kayla de Vries displayed her lamb Lulu.
‘‘She likes me rubbing her face and she likes cuddles. It’s been fun and a bit hard.’’
She started at the school shortly before the recent holidays.
‘‘I like that it’s got a fun playground and a big soccer field [and] that there’s not so many kids.
‘‘It’s a small, cosy school and it feels welcoming.’’
Her mum Nyke de Vries said before this school, Kayla and her younger brother Alexander went to an Auckland school with more than 500 pupils, and then were home-schooled this year.
The children needed to give a speech to other children for their classwork, so she asked if they could visit Linton Country School.
Afterwards, the children asked if they could go back.
‘‘It has been a really good decision.
‘‘We like the individual and more personalised learning programme they get, as well as the mixture of ages.
‘‘They can be in a classroom together and there are different ages sharing and helping each other.’’
Marsh said she hoped to keep growing the school roll.
Proud medal winners, from left: Alexander de Vries, with Lambikins, Savannah with Ashton and Kayla de Vries with Lulu, during the judging.