Marriene Langton Principal

Marriene Langton Principal

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cultural Festival

This year is the first time in many years that we have had a Kapahaka and Pasifika group entered in the Canterbury Cultural Festival. Their performance night is tonight.
I've watched a few of their sessions over the last few months and yesterday I was astonished by their transformation. They had a full dress rehearsal yesterday and several staff and parents had a little weep. Me too. It was very moving and magical to see the growth in these children.
Our costumes are all thanks to a generous grant from the Red Cross. Our teachers designed the costumes. 
I'm so proud of the staff, volunteers and children and the work they have done to get to this level of excellence.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ERO Report

Our review was in July. It was a rigorous and very helpful process. The fantastic result is a wonderful report which reflects 5 years of dedication and hard work on the part of the board, staff, parents and community. We have also had excellent advice from Ministry of Education, advisers and quality input from well chosen professional learning.

The majority of schools in New Zealand are reviewed within 3 years. This is a mark of schools that are doing a good solid job.

Our next review will be in 4-5 years. This is a reflection of a high performing school and means that we are in the top bracket of schools in New Zealand.
Does this matter? By golly yes. We have had huge changes in our school and many demands placed upon us through legislation. We have kept up and surpassed the average.
Will we sit back and relax? Not likely.

Thank you to everyone who has worked alongside us to make our school a cut above.
We are so proud of our progress and keen to keep making a difference for our children.

Board of Trustees Retreat

Such fun. Donna and I visited Hanmer Primary School on the way to the Board Retreat last weekend. It was helpful to talk to Brendon about where his school is heading and to know that we are well on track for our school.
We got to the house just in time to feel 5 of the earthquakes from Seddon. We sat outside until it got quite cold!!!!
The Board focused on vision, values, beliefs, strategic goals, induction of new board members, defining board roles and Strength Finders.
Saturday was full on as there was so much to question and discuss.
We try to do this each year as the Board of Trustees has a key role in ensuring that the school is performing at a high level.
Bridgit not to be messed with in the kitchen


Donna and Sarah sharing ideas

Not really asleep: still working on his iPad

Duane Board Chair and Circus Master

Paul is the Deputy Chair

Paul ever cheerful and self-assured

Donna and Sarah discussing the discussion

Sarah our newest trustee

Bagpipes or Magpies?

We were  thrilled to have one of our senior students pipe us into, and from assembly last week. Megan Searancke is following in her granddad's footsteps by learning the bagpipes.
Her piping brought back very happy memories for me as I remember chasing the pipe band down the middle of Nae Nae Road as it was always used to announce the big fair at the local Catholic School. The pipe band brought hundreds of local kids out into the streets.
Thanks Megan. It was such a treat to have you play for us. It was so cute that one of the children thanked her for playing the "magpies."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Oh Canada and The Neufeld Institute

Duane and I had the privilege of attending a child development course in Montreal, Canada in July. Montreal is a very beautiful city and we met some amazing people who were kind and generous.
We had dinner in the home of a French man Philippe and his French Canadian wife Julie who had lived in St Albans in 2011/2012. They loved New Zealand and their children loved being at St Albans School. They are also big rugby fans and we were able to watch The Chiefs v Crusaders match with them. They were very impressed with the NZ education system and the accessibility of the school for parents. It's not like that in Canada.
Montreal was hot, hot, hot and humid.
We met up with two lovely Canadian women Jane and Joyce who took us to Old Montreal on a couple of the evenings after our course. They just couldn't understand my accent. It caused great hilarity.
We were also taken out by a husband and wife team Michael and Eva  associated with the Neufeld Institute and with the organisation of this intensive. He is an historian and we learnt so much in a short space of time.
The world really is about 2 degrees separation. I met a French Canadian Principal Josee who asked me if I knew her friend in Christchurch. As it happened, I did. I agreed to bring him back some maple syrup. She rang him to tell him she had met me, and he was in our school right at that moment. Funny.
The intensive learning was amazing. We learnt so much about child development theory and the absolutely critical role that parents play in the healthy development of the brain and emotional health of their children. Teachers too play a primary role- more than you might think.
Parents' unconditional love is key to the development of healthy attachment. Tears of futility and vulnerability are essential if children are to learn to be resilient, and maturity will happen at different paces for each child. The stronger the attachment, vulnerability and maturation the more able the child is to be a separate individual in later life. 
Dr Neufeld talked about the misdiagnosis of attention problems, aggression, counter will, bullying and alpha children. It was all within the context of developmental theory and boy did it make sense to what we already knew. Duane and I were buzzing and exhausted but very very pleased we had been able to go.

Where was the cast from Les Miserables?

some of the crew from the conference: Joyce, Duane,? moi,Jane, Miriam

Old Montreal castle

Mont Rose apartment

Julie in Mont Rose
Duane, Michael and Eva
Jazz Festival in Montreal City

Gorgeous breakfast of Bagels in Mont Royal and I don't even like bagels
Montreal city apartments
Can't remember what the carriages were called

children playing in the fountains on a hot day in Montreal City
Philippe cooked us an amazing meal