Monday, 26 November 2012

Infant School Twilight Gala

Reach For The Stars
"Toro Atu Ki Nga Whetu"
(The School Motto)

Fun And Freedom While Learning
A Home-Made Gala

Te Kakano Pakeke


Schools in NZ have a wonderful ethos. The children have fun and freedom while learning. Their education system is one of the best in the world, yet their methods are seldom copied and are to our (UK) eyes liberal and strange.

The first noticeable thing is their dress - most schools have no uniform other than a sun hat ... the first time I saw this on a school notice "shoes are optional but sun hats are mandatory" I was shocked ... but in fact the children seldom wear shoes but ALWAYS have a sun hat on! (Must mention this freedom extends to the teachers who often wear t-shirts, shorts, flip flops - and always hats!)

The next most noticeable difference is the way the parents are welcomed into the school rooms at any time and are milling around the class looking at the childrens work each morning and afternoon. The school is considered an asset for the population and no line is drawn between staff and parents.

The school playing fields, adventure playgrounds and school swimming pool and changing rooms are also open to the public at any time that they are not being used and are a real community asset. The children come and go at leisure and it is wonderful to be able to use these local amenities freely, particularly during weekends and school holidays.

My grandson's small infant's school had a gala this weekend and I was astounded at the sheer amount of help and involvement organised and given by parents. It was held at twilight as it is too hot during the day to be out in the sun. Here are a few pics of what can be done in a small rural school with the active help of parents who are very involved. Families here in general are rather poor and incomes are very low so everything is done on a shoe string. In particular I was totally amazed at the amount of wonderful home baking provided!


Tone Def

All the foods, stalls and entertainments were provided by the parents, pupils and teachers at this cute little infant school, and a superb art exhibition took place in the school hall.  It was a great evening with lots of cake!  And yes ... there were crowds ...  but I thought it not appropriate to photograph them!


  1. I'm certainly a big fan of shoes being optional - from Easter to October my choice is not to wear them! In fact I don't own shoes - sandals if I have to look like. Grown up in summer, then straight to boots! The openness of the school sounds very disruptive though. We do have parents that think they can wonder in, but it disrupts teaching, and is, sadly (especially since Dunblaine) a security risk. Isn't there also a risk of children leaving unnoticed? The cake sale looks amazing though, and I'm all in favour if "putting the school at the heart ofthe community" - that was the job description of a job I had for 3 years, school buildings are such a valuable resource!

  2. As a retired teacher I'm always fascinated to read about schools in other parts of the world. This looks like a fun occasion for everyone

  3. Looks like a fun evening was had by all!

  4. What fun. I too think it could be a security risk to have people wandering in and out, but in a small community, perhaps not so much.

  5. Looks like a grand infant school. Not sure my sister's high school is so laid back, but that's over the water in the big city!

  6. Wow! I want to go to school there in my next life. Thanks for the lovely tour, Annabelle. :-)


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