Te Aro knitting teacher from Spain
Te Aro kids and Madrid are connected by knitting yarn thanks to a student teacher from Spain.
A knitting group at Te Aro Primary School is being run by Martaa Pons Giratt, who is studying Primary School Education and Pedagogy at Madrid’s CES Don Bosco University.
She is writing a thesis on how knitting can improve children’s dexterity, coordination and sense of pride.
Also the fact that knitting uses two hands helps develop both sides of the brain, aiding in the students learning.
It also helps children socialize in what is already an extremely multi-cultural school.
About one third of Te Aro School and English learners and its students come from over 36 different countries.
To cater to the schools high percentage of English learners, the school employs a specialised English teacher, Kathy Cahill.
“Kathy works across our school and she works in classes with students.
She also works on a withdrawal basis with some students” says principal Sue Clement.
She also gives the other classroom teachers guidance on teaching students to who English is a second language.
“So she does a lot of work with staff, finding resources and working with staff around best practice.”
Clement is proud of the school’s rich cultural diversity and says the rich community helps the students.
“I think that the real strength of our school and why lots of people come to visit us is because they’re interested in how we cater for and support the rich cultural diversity here at the school and how we value that.”
She spends a lot of time talking to the families of the students and the school has a lot of community support.
When the school protested its change to a decile 10 rating by the MoE, the families of the students did much to get the decision reviewed.
“Parents were really supportive and got in behind us. Kathy helped galvanize some of our non-English speaking families.
“We translated out letters and information so that a lot more of our community could share their thoughts and feelings.”
The school also has a first time language programme in Chinese Mandarin as the school has a large Chinese community.
“We have a Mandarin Language Assistant, her names Jin Win, and she works across the school teaching Chinese language and culture.” says Clement.
“That allows us to teach Chinese language right from our five year olds right up to our 13 year olds.”
Te Aro School runs many multi-cultural events, including celebrating Race Relations Day in March.
Many themes have been explored, such as costumes, flags and games.
This year the school plans to celebrate different cultures’ food.
Te Aro School is also well known for its green projects and currently has a greenhouse made of recycled materials as well as two beehives.
The school also plans to start an orchard and is currently looking at applying for grants.