Lin­ton schoolkids not alone any­more

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH - KAROLINE TUCKEY

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.

MUR­RAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Proud medal win­ners, from left: Alexan­der de Vries, with Lam­bikins, Sa­van­nah with Ash­ton and Kayla de Vries with Lulu, dur­ing the judg­ing.

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