Wednesday 31 March 2021

Kahikatea Newsletter Term 1 Week 9 2021

Literacy in Kahikatea

It was awesome to see so many families at our structured literacy information sessions with Caroline Morritt (Resource Teacher for Literacy). If you were unable to attend, we hope to have a recording of the session available soon. Caroline reinforced the importance of comprehension, during these parent meetings, with reference to  'Scarborough’s Rope'

Reading with your child

This is always a great opportunity to focus on comprehension skills. Here are some great ideas from

Use a variety of words to talk about the pictures

This means stay away from nouns (naming objects) and talk about words that describe (rough), action words (jump), locations (under) and words about time (later)

Highlight important words

Stress the important words or new vocabulary by changing your voice (make your pitch go up or down, change the rate of your speech by talking faster or slower)

Build on your child’s understanding

A great way to help your child understand is to relate it to a similar experience in his or her life. This will help them build a better connection between the book and something that has happened to him or her in the past.

Think outside the book

Encourage your child to think beyond the pages of the book to expand his or her thinking. You can help your child predict what might happen next, compare and contrast an object from the story to real life, make an inference and draw a conclusion, identify a problem and solution and sequence the events of the story by retelling what happened. These discussions will help your child to think, solve problems and imagine.”

Here are some photos from our literacy lessons and our library time: 

Team Hui 

Each week, we have a team hui. It is a special time, where we come together, connect and celebrate. As part of our hui, we say our karakia and waiata. We have noticed a number of our learners confidently reciting these off by heart, ka pai! We have attached these below, in case your child would like to practice at home.

Building Connections

This week we have been focusing on getting to know more about our peers. We have been connecting with a variety of people and finding out about our shared interests as well as our differences. It has been great to find out new things about each other and to practice our active listening skills.

Learning Conferences

Week 11 - Monday 12th April and Wednesday 14th April

School will close at 2pm on both days, to allow Learning Conferences to begin at 2:15pm.

Please go onto the School Interviews website and use the code kk64k to book your learning conference. The Learning Conferences are for 15mins each, except for Year 7/8 where you need to book a 15-minute slot, but allow 30 mins (it works!)

The focus of these Learning Conferences will be to update you on how your child has settled into the school year and the areas of focus they are working on in numeracy and literacy.

Have a fabulous Easter break, and we look forward to seeing you back at school on Wednesday 7th April.

Team Kahikatea

(Lisa, Katie, Amber, Charlotte, Michelle, Kate and Paul)

Thursday 25 March 2021

Home Learning and our Structured Literacy Workshop

Kia ora whānau,

You will notice that there are some literacy Home Learning resources in your child's reading folder this week. These resources are to support what they are learning in their structured literacy lessons. More alphabet letters and resources, such as heart words will be added. 

If you have queries about the structured literacy programme or are interested to hear more about it, please join us for the workshop detailed below.

The Structured Literacy Approach: Parents and Caregivers workshop - understanding how our children learn to read.

Join us in the staffroom at 3.15 pm or 7:00pm on Tuesday 30th March 2021.

Caroline Morritt, our Resource Teacher of Literacy will explain this approach to teaching reading and writing. Based on the Science of Reading, Beckenham Te Kura o Pūroto uses an explicit, systematic structured literacy approach to build a strong literacy foundation.

Decodable books support targeted classroom teaching of phonological awareness and blending and segmenting skills for accurate, automatic reading and spelling. 

Team Kahikatea (Lisa, Charlotte, Amber & Katie) 

Thursday 18 March 2021

Kahikatea Newsletter Term 1 Week 7

It has been another busy fortnight in Team Kahikatea! Please enjoy reading and viewing what recent highlights below. 


Over the past fortnight, we have been learning about how to make friends, communication skills and conflict resolution. Our focus has been on using our words to.... 

* ask someone new to play 
* tell someone else if there is a problem 
* ask peers (as well as the teacher) if we need help or are unsure where to put our things or what to do

Structured Literacy 

We have started our structured literacy lessons this week. Students work in targeted groups with their literacy teacher, and cover phonics, reading, spelling and writing. Each child has been assessed and is working at their specific point of need. When they are not with the teacher, the students enjoy oral language, rhyming and word building games and practise working co-operatively (photos below!). 

Literacy: How can you help your child at home?

The emphasis in teaching spelling is to focus on the sound, not the letter name. Making the phoneme (sound) - grapheme (letter shape) connection is the first step in literacy learning.

Ensure that your child is saying the ‘pure’ sound without an ‘uh’ sound on the end, for example, ‘lllll’ rather than ‘luh’ for the L sound. Please refer to this clip, The Sounds of New Zealand English for more information on the sound that matches each of the letters. Feel free to practise letter sounds and blends at home (cards will be sent home soon), as well as the Heart Words (learn to read and write). 

You may like to play games like: 

  • Speed Sounds: your child can look at each letter card and say the sound it represents. See if your child can do this at speed.
  • ‘I Spy’: You can play games such as ‘I Spy’, using the letter sound (not the name).
  • Stepping Stones: Place the cards on the floor with the letter facing up, as if they are stepping stones across the river. Explain to your child that they have to cross the ‘river’ without falling in the water. Your child steps on each card and says the corresponding sound.
  • Fish or Memory: You could make up a matching set of letter cards, and use both sets to play Fish or Memory together, by placing both sets of cards face down on the table or floor. Each player has to be able to say the sound, if they are to keep a matching pair of cards.
  • Reading aloud to your child/ren continues to be hugely valuable and important for their literacy development. Click to read further information on the importance of reading at home can be read here.

Clapping the Syllables Game 

Rhyming Activities 
CVC word writing

Kinetic Letters Handwriting Program

Discovery Photos 

Evaporation Experiment 

School-wide Structured Literacy

 Kia ora Whanau,

This is an information letter providing an update around our school-wide approach to teaching Reading and Writing -  Structured Literacy. 

The Structured Literacy approach is based on over 40 years of world-wide academic research. It is an approach in which children are taught systematically and explicitly to firstly recognise speech sounds, as our brains are designed primarily to process speech. Reading and writing are human inventions, so it is vital we work from speech and then move to print. Children are taught to recognise individual words, syllables, onset sounds, rime and individual sounds in a word.

At the same time, children are gradually introduced to the letters of the alphabet and the sounds the letters represent. They are also taught to write the letters. As the children increase their letter/sound knowledge, they will be shown how to read and write words with these letters. 

The children will be learning to read using decodable books. Stage 1 of these books contain words the children can decode (sound out) using the first group of 8 letters (m, s, f, a, p, t, c and i). Stage 2 introduces 8 more letters, and so on. As the English language is not phonetic, the teachers will gradually introduce the spelling rules and patterns we need to know in order to read and write in English. The books we will be using follow a sequence and will support the teaching. 

Your child will not necessarily bring books home straight away. They need to know the first 8 letters and the sounds they represent, as well as the skills of segmenting and blending sounds, before being given a text. This is to ensure success and accurate reading, rather than guessing. In the first instance, we will be supplying you with flashcards for each of the sounds the children are being taught. Reinforcing the sounds they have learnt at school, when at home with you, will be extremely helpful for your child. 

In our Senior Classes the explicit, sequential teaching will be done with small target groups and also through daily whole class phonological awareness and spelling sessions.

When your child brings their Literacy Folder home (NE to Year 4), you will find literacy resources that you can use at home to support their learning. Please ensure the folder is returned to school the next day with all the resources inside.

We are excited to be helping the tamariki with our fun, engaging and evidence-based literacy programme this year.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your child’s Home Group Teacher.

Thursday 4 March 2021

Kahikatea Newsletter Week 5 Term 1

Tena koutou,

It has been a fun-filled couple of weeks in the Kahikatea Team. We have really enjoyed continuing to build relationships with your wonderful tamariki.

Here is an overview of our weekly timetable: 

Kahikatea Treaty

We have developed our Kahikatea treaty for 2021. We have been discussing each point with our home groups. Please feel free to read this with your child/ren!


Teachers have been busy completing key assessments in preparation for beginning our new structured literacy programs.  We appreciate that many of our parents are keen to see books and materials coming home and will let you know very soon when you can expect to see reading folders and materials  coming home. 

During these first school weeks we have been exploring fundamental literacy activities and developing phonological awareness (skills in identifying and manipulating units of spoken language). We have been exploring oral language and the structure of writing through creating shared texts. In addition, we have enjoyed a variety of texts, including non-fiction and poetry. We have explored The Treaty of Waitangi, Chinese New Year, and the history of toys, through texts and hands-on experiences. We have also been loving our library time! 

Here are some pictures showing our learning: 

Request for materials

Many of the tamariki enjoy making masterpieces during our learning through playtime. If you have any of the following items, please send them along to school, and we will make good use of them!

- Small boxes, e.g., cereal, muesli bar, toothpaste, washing powder

- Plastic containers (clean), e.g., shampoo, washing liquid, soap

- Corks

- Buttons

- Fabric

Ferrymead Heritage Park 

The sun shone for us last Wednesday as we set off for Ferrymead Heritage Park. We had an amazing day of exploration and learning. Each group had the opportunity to learn about the following:

  • Heritage games
  • Homemade toys
  • Science of toys
  • Maori toys and games
We even got to have a ride on the tram! 

For our inquiry, the tamariki have been making connections between old and new toys, how toys work, the use of different materials, and have had many oral language opportunities to share about their favourite toys. 

A huge thanks to our wonderful parent helpers. It is because of your generous support that we can do such fun, engaging and memorable trips.


We have weekly wellbeing sessions in all teams. Over the last few weeks in Kahikatea, we have been learning about the importance of:

  • Making new friends
  • Self-confidence
  • Teamwork skills/co-operation
We have been reading stories, watching info clips, and also sharing our own stories about the importance of these competencies.

You might like to talk with your child about these things, and share your own stories about how you have made friends, challenges or benefits of teamwork, or what you say to yourself to feel confident in tricky situations.

Useful guides to help Christchurch parents to support their children with emotions and wellbeing:


Each home group has the opportunity to visit the library once per week. Our library day is MONDAY. Please ensure that your child has their library folder at school every Monday. Children are allowed to issue two books and must have their library folder to transport these home. 

Sunhats at School

We have been noticing that many children in our team often don't have a hat at school. In Kahikatea, all children keep their hats in their home group hat tub at the end of the day. This is to ensure that every child has a hat during Term 1. If you would like to wash your child's hat, please do this over the weekend, and return it back to school on Monday. We prefer that hats do not go home at any other time.

Parent Playground Roster

A big thank you to Katherine Christensen for offering to organise our parent playground roster. It will be wonderful to have extra adults out in the playground during lunch play to ensure that our tamariki are safe and happy.

Lunch play runs from 12.40 - 1.20 each day. Being on the parent playground roster is a wonderful opportunity to observe the dynamics of your own and other children playing in the playground, as well as being involved in the school community.

If you are interested, please contact Katie with the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Contact number
  • The names of your child/ren
  • Day/s of the week available

That's all for now! Katie, Amber, Charlotte and Lisa