School Structure

Foundation Room - Year 0/1

How do the school years work?

Years 0 to 8 are the primary years. Children in these years are generally aged 5 to 12 years.

Which school year will your child be enrolled in?

When your child starts primary school they will be enrolled in either Year 0 or Year 1, depending on which half of the year they start in.

At Whangarei Primary School all children starting school BEFORE the 1st of April will be classified and placed as a Year 1.  All children starting school ON and AFTER the 1st of April will be classified as a Year 0 and the following year will be in Year 1.

If your child is enrolling mid-year, it is best to contact the us to talk about what year they should be placed in.  If you think your child is not in the right year at our school please talk to your child's teacher about this.

The Foundation Room classrooms are where your child will start as a new entrant at WPS. The learning programme in the Foundation Room has been developed to ensure that the transition from Early Childhood centres to Primary school is as smooth as possible. The Foundation Room use the ‘Learning Through Play’ approach as a way to support this transition so your child(ren) are as prepared as possible for formalised education.

In our Foundation programme, strong links are made to the New Zealand Curriculum and, in particular, the key competencies which are thinking, using language symbols and text, managing self, relating to others, and participating and contributing. This is done to support students to develop the skills they will need to transition to a Year 1 or Year 1 & 2 class successfully and to promote student agency (being able to think and act for themselves).

Through a range of ‘Learning Through Play’ experiences and guided instruction (teachers working with students in small groups to focus on early curriculum skills) students develop their skills, including in the areas of reading, writing and maths in a meaningful context.

When the teachers in the Foundation Room observe that students are ready to transition to a Year 1 class, there is a clear process that is followed. Working out when to transition students is done in consultation with parents/whanau and the Junior Syndicate team.  To transition, students visit the class they will be moving to at different times of the class’s day so that they get to see and participate in what happens in that room.

Composite Classes – Stages Not Ages

Our school is set up in two departments, each of which utilise composite classrooms of two consecutive year groups together in one class.

The key to understanding composites is realising that student learning is determined in stages and not magically by ages. They draw attention to individual needs and development, and in turn facilitate individualised learning (sometimes called Personalised Learning).

Our experience with composite classes has shown that they can provide significant benefits to both the younger and older students in the class. Older students can benefit from helping younger students in co-operative learning situations. The younger students have the opportunity of enhanced learning experiences where they are ready for it. There are many examples where younger children can show older ones a thing or two! Role models and leaders can come from both the younger and older children; the children who excel at these traits do so irrespective of age.

Departments

As mentioned above our school is organised into three syndicates. These are:

  • Junior School - Reception class and Year 1 & 2 classrooms
  • Senior School - Year 3 & 4 classrooms and 5 & 6 classrooms

Melissa Thomas (AP) - Junior School Leader
Gareth Haman (AP) - Senior School Leader

Each department is led by an Assistant Principal, who is responsible for leading the teaching and learning programmes that are relevant for a particular age range.  The Assistant Principals meet with their team of teachers to address the needs of the students, to ensure quality planning in our teaching and learning programmes, and to organise special activities and programmes (such as camps, poetry contests or a swimming programme). They also play a key role in mentoring and monitoring the teachers in their team, while also promoting strong lines of communication between the leadership team and classroom teachers.