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“It’s where children start to gain skills and qualities in academia, sports and leadership. It’s where we first develop our independence and intrinsic motivation – it’s an incredibly important time of life.”
ACG Strathallan Primary School principal Kristie Thomas says the primary years are a crucial time for students to develop the positive attitude to education that will set them up for later years.
“It’s where the lifelong passion for learning begins,” she says. “It’s where children start to gain skills and qualities in academia, sports and leadership. It’s where we first develop our independence and intrinsic motivation – it’s an incredibly important time of life.”
Ms Thomas, a Pukekohe resident, took up the position of principal of ACG Strathallan Primary last year. With a decade-and-a-half’s experience in senior leadership roles in primary schools, including three years as Principal of Awhitu District School and 11 years at Karaka School, she is well placed to understand what makes primary students tick.
Education at primary school must be well-rounded and holistic, she says, with opportunities to participate in different realms of school life. For ACG Strathallan Primary, this is one of the key aims for 2019, with the focus firmly on five areas – academic outcomes; student wellbeing; experiential education; leadership and service; and sports, activities and the arts.
The school’s proud reputation of providing an exceptional academic foundation in reading, writing and maths will be complemented by more emphasis on sports, arts and opportunities to represent the school.
“We need to set our children up for success by providing them with multiple opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom,” Ms Thomas explains. “Pride in achievement underpins everything we do.”
This year the primary school is sharpening its focus on student wellbeing and introducing a new school value – compassion – alongside pride, integrity and respect. Values are fully embedded into daily school life, and help to create ongoing positive relationships between staff, students, parents and caregivers, Ms Thomas says.
Purpose-built facilities, outstanding learning materials and expert staff also play a role in helping students enjoy their early school years.
“We have very talented and dedicated teaching and support staff who feel they have a collective responsibility for our students’ wellbeing and success. Our teachers know our students and their needs and have the resources to meet those needs.
“It’s about ensuring quality teaching and learning practises are in place, so students attain the right outcomes in all areas of school life – and learn to love learning in the process.”
At ACG Strathallan Primary, students received specialist teaching in Science, PE & Health, Mandarin, Music and Visual Art from Year 1. In addition, students receive specialist teaching in Coding and Spanish from Year 4.