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Eat. Teach. Love


Fionna Heiton could be Christchurch’s very own Julia Roberts. From getting over a relationship breakup by leaving her job in New Zealand and travelling to the Himalayas, to finding her future partner and starting her own international charity in Nepal: It feels like Eat. Pray. Love got a Kiwi revamp.

Our main character came to a crossroads in her life and, having always loved exploring the Port Hills, wanted to escape and explore the world’s most famous mountainous region: The Himalayas. So, in 1998 the English as a Second Language teacher packed up her rental cottage on Kilmore Street and set off for Nepal.

It was there in Kathmandu, within a few days of arriving, that she met her love interest, Durga Aran, while working for British charity Water Aid. Fast-forward to 2001, the pair were raising their twin toddlers – Rhona and Jamie – when the parents became troubled to learn about the Nepali school system.

In 2001, the mean years of schooling for the country’s 24 million people was just 2.5, according to UN data. In comparison, the mean years of schooling for New Zealanders was 11.5.

“Hundreds of thousands of children across Nepal spend their days in dark, dirty, empty classrooms, taught by poorly trained and demotivated teachers,” says Fionna.

This was the motive that brings us to the climax of the story – the first steps. The family travelled to the village area where Durga was raised, in between Kathmandu and the Tibet border, with the goal of creating a quality early childhood centre.

“We borrowed a jeep and drove up to the remote hillside village each day. Our days were long, hot and dusty,” remembers Fionna.

“But the need was so clear and we knew that simple activities and changes could make a world of difference for the children.”

Thus, First Steps Himalaya was founded, a charity that has been making a difference in transforming lives and working on the ground in Nepal for over 10 years.

“With the help of generous donors, classrooms are developed from dirt floors to carpet. Rooms are cleaned and painted. Wooden pallets for seating are replaced with low tables suited to young children. Most rural Nepali early childhood classrooms start with only a single chalkboard, but after being refurbished by the charity, the children have access to crayons, paper, books and quality, culturally appropriate learning resources.”

Having built a teacher-training centre in 2015, the team now run effective, hands-on teacher training courses across Nepal, empowering rural teachers to create simple, engaging lessons.

After learning how to make resources from things they can find in their village, teachers can then transform their own classrooms into safe and stimulating learning environments.

“We strongly believe the key to bringing about positive change in rural Nepali schools is the quality of the teaching,” says Fionna.

Recently returning to Christchurch, after a period in Nelson, reruns of the past came flooding back to our protagonist.

“I am so grateful for all the support we have had from friends in Christchurch, the rest of New Zealand and around the world. There is such a massive need in Nepal, and we are only just scratching the surface. First Steps Himalaya will be there for the long haul.”

So, what’s next for Fionna Julia Roberts Heiton? We would not be surprised if Hollywood came knocking on her door with a story like that.

For more information or to donate visit the charity’s website.

alaya


 

Quality pre-school education in the centre of the city: Cathedral Grammar School


The Cathedral Grammar Pre-School is a small family-orientated community-based education centre for boys and girls, located in the grounds of The Cathedral Grammar School’s central city campus.

 

 

Director Lyndell Turner leads a team of caring early childhood staff who possess a deep understanding of how young children learn.

“Each teacher is responsive to individual interests, strengths and abilities.

They listen closely to children, support them to develop a wide set of skills and share their ideas,” Lyndell says.

“Our pre-school philosophy values play as an instrument in stimulating and shaping child development and early learning. Through planned and spontaneous play experiences, children form relationships, share, cooperate, develop self-control, test ideas and friendships, extend their range of experience and form associations among things, events and concepts.

“Our programme has developed a balance between child-centred and adult-led play, together with a sense of structure. We also value extended blocks of time for children to make discoveries, to elaborate on projects and to evolve a script in symbolic play.”

The pre-school children are fortunate to be located on the grounds of The Cathedral Grammar School.

This means access to numerous activities and resources such as specialist art, music, yoga, library and physical education teachers which add value to an already strong and varied programme, as well as access to the school vans to go off-site for weekly gymnastics lessons.

At Cathedral Grammar, they recognise it is a great privilege to partner with families in supporting the educational journey of their children.

Learning is designed as a continuous pathway.

This means whole school alignment of curriculum and pedagogy, and a shared responsibility of student learning realised through a strong and cohesive team approach.

Their Pathways to School programme has been specifically designed to ensure that your pre-school child has the best possible start to school and introduces your child to the foundations of numeracy and literacy through a balance of structured play based interactions, whilst building relationships and connections with junior school staff and children in familiar environments.

The pre-school can currently offer places to prospective enrolments. For more information and centre tours, please contact their Registrar, Nicky Oram on 03 365 0385 or email enquiries to oramn@cathedralgrammar.school.nz.


 

Redcliffs School’s Rebirth


A welcoming icon of community resilience stands proud in Redcliffs – a victorious beginning after a school’s endurance of a long, patient journey home.

 

PHOTOS LILLY TURNER

 

On June 22 Te Raekura Redcliffs School opened its doors and the community can now celebrate and enjoy the everchanging estuary views from the picture windows.|

Three days later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at the official opening day and Kiwi icon Dave Dobbyn entertained, singing a poignant Welcome Home to a group of around 600, with the school’s new haka, gifted by school parent Quentin Hoera also contributing to the emotionally moving week of events.

Principal Rose McInerney who remained head of the school since its closure in 2016, says the mood from the whole community was of both excitement and relief.

The new school has been built for a roll of 300, with 210 children enrolled on opening week. The build has future capacity for the school’s masterplan of up to 400 pupils.

“When we first moved to our temporary Sumner home back in 2011, none of us could have possibly imagined the road that lay ahead,” Rose says.

“It is with immense relief that we now put that journey behind us, moving into our wonderful new school with a renewed sense of energy and encouraged by the enormous support of our community.”

The 2011 earthquakes saw the much loved Redcliffs school move from their original home, after it was deemed unsafe from cliff fall in June of that year.

The roll then stood at 400. The school was going to close forever in 2016 – but the community fought with passion to keep their primary school that had shaped generations of young lives. For the last nine years, Redcliffs School has been operating at Sumner’s van Asch Deaf Education Centre.

The school’s new name for a new era, Te Raekura Redcliffs School, translates to The Red Cliffs.

The name, along with other te reo names used throughout the campus, was gifted by Mātauraka Mahaanui, an organisation established to include Māori and Ngāi Tahu content in the city’s rebuilt post-earthquake schools.

“Our return has been down to the tenacity and doggedness of many, many wonderful people, volunteering their time and playing an integral part,” Rose says.

The $16 million rebuild by Naylor Love Construction resides on the original Redcliffs Park site, it is now a local landmark from Main Road and Beachville Road.

Striking coloured precast panels blend into the environment, giving ode to the red cliffs towering above the original site which will now become the local park.

LBL timber was incorporated, as well as structural steel with sliding plates, for seismic resistance. Built with ample ground clearance and a large decked outdoor area, mitigating the possibility of tidal flooding in the future.

Naylor Love Construction Project Manager Darryl Grobler says the play netting above a hexagonal garden area incorporated into the decking was his favourite part of the project.
Murals from the original school were given new life, as well as some original stone, now incorporated into the landscaping.

The original 107-year-old school bell, was also rung by the Prime Minister – announcing a rock-solid community has finally come home.

Upcoming Te Raekura Redcliffs School open days will be held at 2pm on 19 and 31 July, and 2 August.


 

Meet the Principal: Cathedral Grammar


‘Every child. Every day.’ This simple yet powerful statement is the esence of my educational philosophy. It seems so obvious, yet in a school setting, can get lost in the pursuit of greatness, narrow measures of success and the desires of adults. At The Cathedral Grammar School your child is truly at the heart of the matter as we set about nurturing them, knowing them and growing them in a holistic and heart-focused manner. Of course, academic performance and high expectations are key, but not at the expense of their wellbeing and the development of skills and qualities to thrive in a challenging and evolving world.

 

Scott Thelning – Principal

 

The Cathedral Grammar School is an independent school providing high-quality education for pre-school, primary school and intermediate aged girls and boys.

This is a place of ambition alongside preparation where students learn from the best right from the start. Every year level benefits from the expertise of our high-calibre specialist teachers across multiple subjects, and small class sizes mean learning is amplified, ensuring every child’s strengths are identified and built on, with support provided where and when needed.

The prime inner city location provides the school with the most wonderful nearby resources.

As an example, the Year 7 and 8 students head to Ara Institute for Engineering and Food Technology, Christ’s College to study Hard Materials and selected students are involved in an Enrichment Programme at Tūranga, the new central city library.

This is an exciting opportunity and aims to enrich and extend the school’s current learning programmes inside and outside the classroom.

The school structure is unique and designed to ensure students have the opportunity to make the most of their formative school years.

Teachers understand that learning happens in different ways at different ages; their students work in both co-educational and single-sex learning environments at times when this best suits their learning journey.

In Pre-School and the Junior School, children learn in a co-educational environment.

Students in Years 4 to 8 attend either the Boys’ or Girls’ School.

Allowing students the best of both worlds, single sex classes offer the opportunity to target and deliver the curriculum in the most effective and interesting style possible, while social skills are developed by sharing mixed-environment break times, specialist classes and activities.

Ultimately, The Cathedral Grammar School is committed to providing a balance of tradition and rigour, while being curious and adventurous every day.

All in an environment that values your child’s heart as well as their head. It’s the Grammar Way.


 

Meet the Principal: Selwyn House School


Dr. Lyn Bird – Principal

At Selwyn House School, the critical skills of creativity, self-regulation, empathy, adaptability, innovation and collaboration are infused throughout the Selwyn House curriculum, culminating in a unique senior leadership programme that prepares all students for their future lives. Our students develop deep discipline knowledge across subjects and then use their ability to collaborate and innovate to solve complex real-world problems. Employers across the world have emphasised the need for today’s young people to possess both deep knowledge and critical human skills, a combination that is commonly termed ‘T-shaped’ professionals – Selwyn House is developing young ‘T-shaped’ students. Their ability to utilise their ‘T-Shaped’ attributes and deep knowledge results in powerful thinking and problem-solving – skills and attributes that are in high demand today and in the future workforce.

 

 

Selwyn House School is a leading girls’ school for Years 1-8, with an onsite Boarding House and co-ed Pre-School.

It features modern facilities, outstanding resources, and a rigorous future-focussed curriculum implemented by highly qualified, expert teachers.

The school offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, which focusses on the total growth of the developing child, encompassing intellectual, social, physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs.

Their students achieve excellent results in their core subjects and internationally perform significantly higher than the international student cohort.

They consistently achieve at local, national and international competitions, with 73 recipients of national and international awards between 2017 and 2019.

As well as being able to explore their passions in specialist subjects including Science, Mechatronics, Spanish, Music, Visual and Performing Arts, and Physical Education, students undertake future and community problem solving tasks and leadership initiatives.

Selwyn House School has a proud tradition of offering an innovative education that continually adapts to meet future challenges.

The strong ‘STEAM’ programme at Selwyn House School uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

Their STEAM Hub provides every student from Year 1 to 8 access to state-of-the-art equipment including 3D printers, a kiln, a laser cutter, sewing machines and Virtual Reality headsets.

Mechatronics, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are Selwyn House subjects that ensure students are equipped with 21st century skill sets and fully prepared to lead in a future that is heavy in technology.

The school provides exceptional educational opportunities for girls, in a stimulating and nurturing environment.

Their focus is on developing globally minded learners and leaders who will become confident and capable young women.


 

Meet the Principal: St Margaret’s College


 

Diana Patchett – Executive Principal

 

“It is the atmosphere of encouragement that I love about St Margaret’s College. The girls are united in their aspirations to excellence, not only in the classroom but also wherever their co-curricular interests take them, and we all work together to help them be the best they can be. Passionate teachers, dedicated coaches, professional instructors and caring tutors all provide positive guidance. But it is the girls who lift each other up, with kindness and service to others at the heart of their endeavours. And best of all, we enjoy each other’s company and share a lovely sense of fun and school spirit along the way”.

 

 

 

St Margaret’s College in Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s leading day and boarding girls’ school with a proud history of academic, sporting and cultural excellence.

St Margaret’s College is the only girls’ school in the South Island to offer the dual senior academic pathway of the International Baccalaureate Diploma as well as NCEA.

Throughout a girl’s time at St Margaret’s, she is seen as an individual and her learning is structured accordingly.

A love of learning is instilled from a young age – throughout Junior School (Years 1-6) and Middle School (Years 7-10), the girls are encouraged to discover and extend themselves, celebrate their successes, learn from their challenges and most of all, enjoy the thrill of learning.

This is balanced by the extensive co-curricular programme in sport and the arts, full of opportunity for wherever a girl’s interests may lie.

By the time she reaches Senior School (Years 11-13), she is in full possession of the skills she needs to succeed in her academic pursuits.

Professional teachers, small class sizes, modern facilities and well-resourced sport and cultural programmes combine to enable the girls to realise this success, whatever that might look like for each of them.

St Margaret’s College’s academic record in both International Baccalaureate and NCEA is consistently outstanding and while a strong academic focus will always be maintained to ensure students realise their post-school aspirations, education in this age of change is as much about character as content.

To empower young women to live well and lead, it is important to nurture the skills and attributes that will set them up to flourish in even the most uncertain of times.

When a girl leaves St Margaret’s College, she will join over 10,000 SMC alumnae making a positive contribution to business, government and community around the world.


 

Meet the Principal: Nelson College


Richard Dykes – Head Master

 

“My tenure as Headmaster at Nelson College began very recently, in June 2020. My educational philosophy is simple…to make amazing young people even more amazing. At Nelson College, I have seen already that we have impressive young men. They’re confident, articulate and resilient. My job is to provide our students with amazing opportunities, support and challenge – by employing and supporting dedicated teachers. Nelson College is a place where we build a legacy and a future through academic, sporting, artistic, student leadership and service”.

 

 

 

Nelson College Boarding is well known for its welcoming family environment.

This was highlighted when the COVID Lockdown occurred.

Most of our internationally based students chose to stay, along with staff, and form a safe bubble of 80.

This included Year 13 kiwi student Mac Harris, whose parents live in Japan.

When the lockdown happened, Mac thought about going home, but decided it was safer to stay at school. “I wanted to stay here in case things got worse and I couldn’t come back,” Mac says.

“Being in lockdown with all the international students also meant I got to know everyone really well. They’re pretty awesome.”

Nelson College has long been a progressive and innovative boys’ school.

Our learning environment focuses on ‘inspiring young men to take their place in the world by fostering the values of manaakitanga through quality education’.

We take great pride in nurturing each boy’s individual interests and potential across all areas of academia, sport, arts, culture, and leadership.

“Our boarders sit at the heart of the school and we’re incredibly proud of them,” Director of Boarding Samme Hippolite says.

“We know how formative these years are, and we want the boys to have every opportunity to develop their interests. We also want them to have fun, make lifelong friendships and create unforgettable memories within the context of a clear and safe structure.”

Set alongside the main college campus, the college’s two boarding houses – Rutherford and Barnicoat – are large heritage buildings that have recently had major refurbishments.

“Our experienced staff are committed to creating a strong and caring community within the boarding fraternity,” Samme says.

“We ensure that our boys are supported throughout their educational endeavours, and we also make sure that they get to experience everything our beautiful Nelson region offers.


 

The Influencers: Scott Thelning


 

Principal Cathedral Grammar

Foresight and fortitude – sowing the seeds of hard work and reaping the fruits of success.

COVID-19 has created, once again, challenging times for our city, and this brings with it a mix of emotions.

For me, I am grateful for the foresight held by a team of governors whom some years ago set the pathway forward for our school to evolve, adapt and embrace a way of thinking that would prepare our students and staff for an ever changing world.

Through this transition period as a school, there were, as there inevitably will be, challengers and challenges to this way of thinking.

I am thankful for the fortitude of our staff for staying to the course and ensuring what is best for students, their learning, and their future was at the heart of the matter.

When the lockdown was announced, our team was ready and delivered superbly in a time of need.

The vision and strategy developed, coupled with a great team of skilled, open minded and solution focussed teachers, enabled our school to respond quickly and create and deliver a high quality and structured remote learning programme for our community.

It is through these difficult times, that as organisations our business models and cultures are truly tested.

All aspects are placed under the spotlight as we grapple with the financial and employment implications, together with the wellbeing of our people and the ability to adapt and innovate.

Success comes in many forms. For us, foresight, fortitude and agility have been key.


 

The forefront of education: Cathedral Grammar School


The Cathedral Grammar Girls’ School celebrates 25 years

 

 

One of the distinguishing threads of The Cathedral Grammar School story is how it has honoured the legacy and contributions of past generations whilst confidently being at the forefront of educational innovation and change.

They are fortunate to have had the opportunity to nurture, know and grow the dreams and aspirations of many young women throughout the past 25 years.

The school is proud to meet this anniversary milestone and walk confidently towards the successors of the future.

The school believes “that excellence is about so much more than just academic success. It is about enabling your daughter to create, explore, develop passions and confidently move towards a bright and successful future.”

As their girls continue to write the Cathedral Grammar story, they blend the best of their past with the latest innovations to give each new generation of girls the opportunity to be more than they ever imagined.

The 25th anniversary this year was shared with the Watoto Children’s Choir visiting from Uganda.

The Watoto children and Cathedral Grammar students worked collaboratively over the day, sharing experiences and participating in choral workshops.

Coming together to provide a wonderful evening concert at the Christ Church Cathedral for family and friends.

This enriching cultural experience provided the students with a unique insight into a different and vibrant culture.

The girls’ school is proud of its 25 years of supporting and educating Christchurch girls and welcomes you to experience how they will nurture, know and grow your daughter, each and every day.

For more information on The Cathedral Grammar Girls’ School visit the website below.


 

Redcliffs Primary School

School rebuild reflects community: Redcliffs Primary School


Eight years since Redcliffs Primary School relocated to ‘temporary’ premises in neighbouring Sumner, the community is eagerly anticipating its return home.

 

Redcliffs Primary School

 

Activities are now ramping up on the school’s new site with project team Naylor Love Canterbury moving in heavy machinery and beginning foundation work. Naylor Love Canterbury has supported the school throughout by communicating its vision and attending community evenings.

Redcliffs School principal Rose McInerney says that soon the challenges overcome since the earthquakes will become distant memories as the school moves into its purpose-built home, which will truly reflect the history and pride of its community.
“During our campaign to keep Redcliffs School open, we were struck by the strength of this community,” she says.

“It’s been important to the design team to incorporate much of what makes Redcliffs special. We involved the children and there were lots of amazing dreams about what they wanted – including a hydroslide into the sea – but in essence, they wanted a fantastic community school where they could best collaborate and learn.

“Everybody involved in this project, from architects to project managers, shares our vision. We worked closely with local iwi to ensure our school will embrace its surroundings and honour the turangawaewae of this special location looking out to the Ihutai (estuary).”

Although the last eight years have been difficult, Rose says the children have taken it all in their stride. “Our tamariki have learnt about determination, patience, fortitude, and resilience first-hand from their whanau, teachers and school community. What a delight it’s going to be to welcome them, and our whole community, into this wonderful new environment.”