[Karen Wellington speaking]
As a principal I wake up every morning thinking what do I need to do today to make it better for our kids.
The student well-being and the levels of stress for our tamariki are huge and there are more children coming in with more challenging behaviors more often.
As educators and as schools we need to change what we do to meet the needs of our students.
Thinking about all of those challenges that we were facing we had an opportunity to do some professional development on health and PE and I thought not another thing on top. We've only got what five hours four and a half hours in a day to be teaching what we need to be teaching. But turns out it was the best thing we ever did.
So the PLD people they came in to work with us. Initially what they did, because I was still a bit skeptical at this stage, thought it was just going to be more sport and how to teach sport. And then I think the first thing was talking about embarrassment, and it was gold because they started doing this you know silly dancing, and actually who's the one who's embarrassed? You’re the only one embarrassed, everybody else…they don't care that you're doing this thing. So you know it was just all about how to deal with embarrassment.
That's what made me think ,now this is really different and this is the kind of thing that is going to help our kids through life. It feels as though health and PE is the umbrella to all the other curriculum areas for us now. That's how in my head it has changed everything. The change needs to start from the top.
I have a pretty level-ish hierarchy I think. I haven't forced my teachers to come on board with this, but I think that you know we have other schools where the principal is not necessarily making this a priority, making wellbeing a priority, and making their professional learning a priority. And I think you know you have pockets of teachers doing bits and pieces of this and that, but the difference is here is that our entire school is practicing it. And all our tamariki know the terminology.
And they all know the Waka that we're rowing in. Everybody in the country should be doing this health and PE professional development, it's going to change the way you see your kids, and you're going to see them as a whole person now. Yeah be nice if they were great at reading, writing, and math but you know actually I would prefer it if our kids showed integrity, if our kids were thinking about other people. Those are the things that I think everybody should be on board with.