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 9 April 2020


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Nau mai ki tenei wiki Kōrero.  


Kia ora koutou


Over the past couple of weeks it has been great to see the innovative and exciting ways that you are keeping in touch with your children and whānau.  This is impressive - we know that many of you are balancing multiple responsibilities with learning new technology and ways of being!  Chanelle, Kaz and Jenny along with your Senior Teachers are available to support you as you continue to explore these ‘virtual’ ways of connecting.


As we move into the next phase of the rāhui we have included information on the learning at home resources that have been developed by the Ministry of Education and the post-rāhui planning that we are beginning and we do encourage you to ask questions and contribute ideas to your Senior Teachers to feed into this process. 


This whakatauki is pretty apt:  ‘Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi’  which metaphorically translates as ‘working in isolation might result in survival, working together can take us beyond survival and onto prosperity’.


We hope you get some time to relax a little over Easter and keep safe.



     Nga Mihi





As some others have done, let’s call this time a rāhui rather than a lockdown.  You will have already seen Mandy referring to the lockdown as a rāhui.


Thanks to Rose Pere for this:




Day To Day Relievers 


Kia ora Koutou


We understand the very difficult position our day-to-day relievers are in. As you know we, along with other associations across the country, have been working hard for the past weeks to secure financial support for you, and have faced significant obstacles.


We understand that the plight of day-to-day relievers employed by kindergarten associations is being put to the Minister of Education this weekend, and so we expect a response on Tuesday. We will be communicating with you again on Tuesday about ways you can be supported.


We apologise that this issue has not been resolved.  We will keep working hard on it and we are hopeful that the Minister will see a way though in terms of support for you.  In the meantime, if you have specific questions, or need further explanation, you can email karen.skett@wmkindergartens.org.nz .


Amanda Coulston

Chief Executive


First Aid Update


Some of you may have noticed that the expiry dates for your First Aid certification is fast approaching, and you may have even booked yourselves into one of the courses that has since been cancelled. 


Our First Aid providers have taken advice from the New Zealand Resuscitation Council about postponing routine First Aid training until the current COVID-19 pandemic has passed, and it is considered safe to participate in training once more.


Therefore, the grace period for First Aid Refresher training has been extended from 3 months to 5 months.


We will continue to work closely with our providers and keep you up to up to date as new information is shared with us. So watch this space! 


Zoom Update                                  


Having Zoom Team Meetings has been working really well for some of you.


There has been, however, some concerns raised in social media about the security of Zoom, so we have added some suggestions for additional measures that you can take to ensure your meeting is secure.


You can find these on the Teachers ToolBox  “Setting up and using ZOOM “ plan or attached here. There is also some information about how meeting participants can annotate documents together on this same zoom plan.


Storypark Update    


Please see the recent Teachers Toolbox community posts about:

  • Archiving children who have left so we don’t continue to pay for them
  • How to update your individual profile settings on Storypark so the right people have access to your portfolio. 

Did you know that you can now search Storypark stories and community posts using a key word - see the magnifying glass that is now on the right hand side of the top toolbar) 


If you are a teacher that doesn’t have access to the teachers toolbox yet, please email Kaz at Karen.craig@wmkindergartens.org.nz and she will invite you... we are using the community post function to share relevant and updated information with teachers, so do keep an eye out for new content. 


A quick request though- please  be careful and ensure that you don’t delete any plans from the teachers toolbox! 


Useful Information For Term Break


This information was emailed yesterday :-)


Term break in part-year kindergartens: 

  • The Term Break is still happening as scheduled.  Unlike for Schools, the Government did not change the schedule for Term Breaks for ECE (for funding ete) and we haven’t changed it.  The Term Break will be from Monday 13 April (Easter Monday) to Friday 24 April
  • This means that leave will be input,as per the collective employment agreementsandthe published calendar,for all staff in part-year services:
    • PD Leave for Teachers – Tuesday 14 April to Friday 17 April
    • Annual Leave for Teachers – Monday 20 April to Friday 24 April
    • Annual Leave for Support Staff – Monday 20 April to Friday 24 April


Leave in full-year kindergartens:

  • If any Teachers or Support Staff wish to take annual leave, and therefore have a break from work and being contactable, they need to request it in the usual way.  This means talking to their Head or Senior Teacher and then requesting it online through iPayroll.  


While you’re on Annual Leave

Ordinarily, while people are on Annual Leave, they wouldn’t be required to work, or to be readily contactable by their Head or Senior Teacher, or by us at the office.  We will do our very utmost to respect that.  However, as you’re aware, these are out-of-the-ordinary, unpredictable times and it could be that there are big decisions being made by our Government and by us as we near the end of the current Rāhui, such as whether we will be open the following week.  So you may choose to keep a slight ear out for those important messages.  We appreciate your flexibility and professionalism around this. 


Opening Dates

Obviously, this will largely depend on decisions by the Government about the Rāhui.  IF the Rāhui ends after 4 weeks, i.e. on Wednesday 22 April, part-year services will not open before Tuesday 28 April (after the Public Holiday for ANZAC Day).  We are unsure about this date, and about when Full Year services will open as this will depend on a variety of things.  We will confirm this with you as soon as we can. 


If you have any questions or queries please contact Karen Skett at karen.skett@wmkindergartens.org.nz


Post-Rāhui Planning


We have begun planning for the different possibilities post- 22 April when COVID-19 Level 4 is supposed to expire. There are lots of questions around what “post-rāhui” may look like, and there are lots of unknowns. Therefore, we will be working through the questions, unknowns, and scenarios as part of our planning.


We ask at this stage, for people to email their Senior Teachers with any questions or thoughts that you have, and they will be fed into our planning. Please don’t make any alterations to child enrolments – if whānau contact you and request changes, acknowledge their request and let them know that we’ll be in touch as soon as we are more clear about what’s going to be happening. This includes whānau who want their children who turned five during this time to go back to kindergarten for their transition process.  


Please email your thoughts and questions to your Senior Teacher as soon as you can – you may think of something that no one else has 😊


We will be communicating our draft plan to you for feedback next Thursday afternoon. It may not be complete, because we may not have all the information by then, but we will certainly let you know our thinking by then.


Whānau Manaaki Helps Out


Whānau Manaaki staff, through our Whanau Ora contract, have stepped into action to help families across our region during this crisis, using our community connections to support families in need.


We have been given some Covid 19 grant money to distribute to families for things like power and food.  We have helped between 250 and 300 families so far, with grocery vouchers and hygiene packs.  A number of our staff have been dropping off these vouchers.  


Here’s what one family said in a message to Whānau Manaaki:


Hello! I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to your organisation for the PaknSave voucher.
It comes greatly appreciated during this time, especially since my partner has no work available during this lockdown.
Thank you again, it was a lovely surprise that we didn't expect

Much Love!


Danny Mareko, the Manager of Communities and Participation, says some families have been so grateful they have cried when they receive assistance. Some people who normally don’t need help are struggling because of job losses associated with the virus.


Any teachers who know of any families that need support should talk to their head teacher, who can then contact senior teachers to look for support. 


Danny says anyone who needs help should ask.  “If we can’t help, then we can often find someone else to help” he says.


Kindysafe Website – Whānau Resources In One Place           


Everyday Kindergartens Aotearoa are updating the Kindysafe website with great resources for our whānau to access while in lockdown.  


It includes links to everything from audiobooks, waiata, recipes and some academic material.  These resources will also be useful to our teaching teams so please have a look at the website, and if you are "talking" with your communities make sure you tell them about the site.


Here’s the link to access the site and resources.


ECE On TV, And Home Learning Packs


Two new educational TV channels, in English and Māori, that include early childhood content, are being launched next Wednesday.


The English language channel will be on TVNZ+2 and on Sky channel 502 while the Māori content will be on Māori Television's Te Reo channel on Freeview and on Sky's channel 82.


Children's TV presenter Suzy Cato will front some of the material, while early childhood teacher and film and television personality Karen O’Leary will also be involved as well as neuroscientist Nathan Wallis.  The educational content will screen from 9-3 each day with programmes for all ages.


The Ministry has also developed hard-copy learning packs to be sent out to some families, with 20,000 going this week and 40,000 next week. 


The Ministry contacted Whānau Manaaki about some of the television content, and about the contents of the packs, with Etu Ao Team Leader Carly Perrot and Senior Manager Caroline Mareko providing feedback.


Kindergarten Associations have provided addresses for the packs to be sent to, which are those families less likely to have devices and internet access as well as materials at home.

The packs for older pre-schoolers include books, felt-tip pens, crayons, chalk, a glue stick and materials such as fabric, coloured cardboard and jigsaw puzzles, with a separate pack for younger pre-schoolers.


Details will also be on the Learning from Home website, which also has other resources and ideas. 


Flu Vaccines And Flu Tracker


Those over 65 and those with relevant health conditions are encouraged to get flu vaccines now. It’s free for people in these categories.  The flu vaccine is really important this year, as the Covid 19 pandemic puts extra pressure on the health system.


Later this month, younger people and those without health conditions will be encouraged to seek the vaccine.  You may have to pay, but we will reimburse you – keep your receipt.


Here’s a link to the list of pharmacies that are offering vaccines around the country.  It would pay to ring first.


Everyone can help support our health system by signing up for flu tracker. This is a simple system that enables public health authorities to understand what’s happening with the flu around the country, by collecting a huge dataset.  It’s confidential, easy and quick.  Here’s how to join.


Zoos and Aquariums


Here are some United State animal-related sites for families to check out:

  • The Cincinnati Zoo:  Facebook Live Feed.
  • Atlanta Zoo: The Georgia zoo keeps a "Panda Cam" livestream on its website.
  • Georgia Aquarium: Sea-dwellers like African penguins and Beluga Whales are the stars of this aquarium's live cam.
  • Houston Zoo: There are plenty of different animals you can check in on with this zoo's live cam, but we highly recommend watching the playful elephants.
  • The Shedd Aquarium: This Chicago aquarium shares some pretty adorable behind-the-scenes footage of their residents on Facebook.
  • San Diego Zoo: With what may be the most live cam options, this zoo lets you switch between koalas, polar bears, and tigers in one sitting.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium: It can be Shark Week every week thanks to live online footage of Monterey Bay's Habitat exhibit.
  • National Aquarium:Walk through tropical waters to the icy tundra in this floor-by-floor tour of the famous, Baltimore-based aquarium.
1737 Need To Talk


‘1737, need to talk?’ is New Zealand’s new national mental health & addictions helpline number.

The 4-digit number is free to text or call anytime to talk with a trained counsellor, its also a much easier number to remember a 4-digit helpline number, rather than an 0800 number.


1737 is staffed by a team of paid counsellors who are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.


1737 is run as part of the National Telehealth Service. The same trained mental health professionals who currently respond to calls, texts, webchat and emails across the existing National Telehealth Service mental health and addiction helplines, (depression, gambling and alcohol drug helplines), will be on hand to support people who call or text 1737.


Remember this is one avenue for help, a very important one.  Please also remember to reach out to your Head Teacher, Senior Teacher or other support people in the Association if you need to.  We are all here to help!


A Story A Day From Waikanae Kindergarten       


Lisa Ford from Waikanae Kindergarten loves reading stories at mat-time, and she thought a story could be reassuring for children at a time when kindergartens are closed.


So, she read one story, re-enacting it in her garden with a bit of improvisation, and videoed it for the kindergarten Facebook and Storypark page.  The next day of lockdown, she made another video and, getting a good response, she’s now doing daily videos.


Lisa says it’s about giving children a routine, a sense of connection with the kindergarten. “It’s letting children know everything is OK.”


Now that she’s underway, Lisa says it’s giving her a personal challenge while on lockdown. “I love it – it’s great fun.”


Lisa’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed in the wider community – she’s been nominated for a Goodsorts award, television is interested, and the Teachers’ Council has used her as an example of innovative practice during the lockdown.


Lisa says she has no special background in video, and she has been using her work iPad.  While some of the stories she has filmed herself, others have needed someone to follow her around.


Lisa encourages anyone thinking about doing something similar to give it a go.  “I am just thinking about the children in my kindergarten- that makes it easier.”


Lisa admits to having a few books at home, but if she runs out, she can make something up. “I do like a story”.  She says some of the families have been using her stories at bedtime, and at a time of great pressure for parents, it’s great to be able to help out.


Lisa encourages anyone who does anything like this to use it for evidence for teacher registration and appraisal as it involves communication, connection, and ensuring mana atua.


Check out Lisa’s stories here.


Celebrations In Iso!


Gonville Kindergarten wasn’t going to let Deidre McBride have a quiet 60th birthday despite being in lockdown.  Happy birthday Deidre from us all!!


Here’s their facebook post!



This Week On Facebook   

There is soooo much happening on facebook at the moment!! Stay tuned in to your fellow kindergartens pages, our WMK page and our local services like libraries and Zoo’s for activities and entertainment 😃







Handy Facebook Pages   


Pia Bea -
I am a pākeha teacher of Te Reo Māori, offering a range of language support for children and adults.


Easter Bunny Still Working – Prime Minister


As you will have heard, the Easter bunny is considered an essential worker. The Prime Minister’s comments made headlines around the world, and other world leaders have also copied New Zealand’s approach, with Ireland and Canada also proclaiming the essential nature of the mysterious Easter bunny work.


But Jacinda Ardern warns that the bunny may not get everywhere this Easter.  “As you can imagine at this time they're going to be potentially quite busy at home with their own bunnies and so I say to the children of New Zealand: If the Easter Bunny doesn't make it to your household, we have to understand it's a bit difficult at the moment.”


Some households are placing rabbits or eggs, chocolate, real or cardboard or paper mache, in their windows alongside bears to make a different kind of Easter egg hunt.



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