Silence is golden. You may recall my newsletter from the end of last term – here’s a reminder:
Understanding that we all think and respond at different rates and that those who are silent before answering often have the deeper ideas is also part of children’s learning. We teachers know that we need to give all children ‘wait time’, that is, don’t ask the first responders but just sit in silence for a little while before asking any child for their response.
The second context around silence is the literal meaning of silence; no sound. I’ll talk about this in the context of modern learning environments in my column next term.
There are very few times these days when we experience silence. Proper silence with no ambient hum or background traffic noise or people noise; proper silence. Over the past couple of decades, as they delve deeper into how the brain works, scientists have discovered the positive effects that silence has on our health and especially, our brain. Read the article Why Silence is Good for Your Brain
Through research into the relaxing effect of different types of music on people’s bodies, scientists found that when participants in the study were experiencing the silence between the relaxing music, different neurons in their brains lit up. During the silence it was discovered that new brain cells were created in the area of the brain that is responsible for encoding new memories.
When you are not distracted by any form of noise, there appears to be a quiet time in your brain that allows it to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover and process and lets you think about profound things in an imaginative way.
Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension, silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart
discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music.
In the context of the ‘innovative learning spaces’ that have become common in many schools, what is the effect of the noise / lack of silence on children? There are now a number of studies coming out that seem to show that open plan work environments are not compatible with productivity. Harvard Study
In the absence of any studies of ILEs, perhaps we could extrapolate the findings from the Harvard study to focus on the effects on children of large open plan learning environments.
In open plan ILEs, children who are distractible struggle. Children who need silence in order to produce quality work struggle. Children who cannot tolerate loud noise struggle. If the neuroscience around the positive effect of silence on the brain is to be considered, then all children could be disadvantaged. The most creative thinking is done in a silent environment. Yes, we want children to collaborate but periods of silence are needed in order for children to think more deeply, more creatively. The same is true for single cell classrooms, but it is easier to have periods of silence with fewer children in the room.
According to the World Health Organisation and European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the cognitive functions most affected by noise are memory, problem solving, creativity and reading focus. Silence is more important to your brain than you might think.
Fortunately, at VAS, we have the opportunity to explore completely different models of innovative learning environments as we go through our property planning process. The ability to provide silent spaces as well as collaborative spaces will be at the top of the agenda and I don’t believe having one large open plan space with 90 students is the way to go.
The parent meeting on Monday was expertly facilitated by board member Martin Cooper. Around 25 people attended and Martin led them through a thoughtful process in order to find out what parents want VAS to look like and to be like for their children. Participants all contributed their thoughts on a number of aspects of school life, not just property. The feedback from the meeting, along with feedback from the teacher session and from children will be synthesised and a brief given to the architect from The Ministry of Architecture and Design. He is tasked with putting together a masterplan for property development and improvement for the next decade. Below is the time frame:
20 May What’s important to parents
27 May What’s important to teachers
Week of 27 May What’s important to children
20 – 31 May Ministry of Architecture and Design review of current facilities and assessment based on the current roll
10 June Discussions around priorities and staging
28 June Review draft masterplan and QS costings
8 July Finalise masterplan and take to Ministry of Education
World Day for Cultural Diversity
Children and teachers have really enjoyed three weeks of delving into different cultures. The learning culminated with classes sharing their new knowledge and understanding with each other. A shared lunch in each class was a lovely way for children to share food that is special to them. The parents who came along to the concert (see video below) enjoyed a variety of items from the kapa haka group, Chinese dance and song, the band and choir. They also enjoyed joining in singing and using New Zealand’s third language, signing, performing We’re All Children of the World.
Year 5 Camp
Children, parents and teachers have returned from a wonderful camp experience at the MERC camp in Long Bay. We all agreed that the best part of a camp is seeing children push themselves outside their comfort zones and trying activities that they are scared of. The looks on their faces when they achieve something new is just a joy to see.
Welcome to David Wilson, new teacher in year 5. David has come to New Zealand from England and he was thrown in the deep end, literally! Seven days after arriving and one day after starting at VAS he experienced a kiwi style camp. He slotted in easily and from what I saw, he is an honorary kiwi already.
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IMPORTANT DATES AND TIMES
School starts: 8.50am
School finishes: 3.00pm
Term Dates for 2019
Term 1: Monday 4 February to Friday 12 April 2019
~ Waitangi Day Wednesday 6 February ’19
~ Good Friday 19 April
~ Easter Monday 22 April
~ Easter Tuesday 23 April
Term 2: Monday 29 April to Friday 5 July 2019
~ Queen’s Birthday Monday 3 June ’19
Term 3: Monday 22 July to Friday 27 Sept 2019
Term 4: Monday 14 October to Wednesday 18 December 2019
~ Labour Day Mon 28 October ’19
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 8.30-8.45am
– half way up dragon drive in the old dental clinic
OPEN FRIDAYS only: 8.15-8.45am
Orders and payments for uniform can be made online on our website ~ Click here
1. ‘Daily Lunch and Catering’ ordered through ezlunch: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays – ONLINE ORDERS ONLY
Click here for ezlunch and Subway menus.
Join ezlunch today and Place an order Sushi is available through Daily Lunch and Catering
2. Subway: ordered through ezLUNCH: – ONLINE ORDERS ONLY
Click here for ezlunch and Subway menus.
Join ezlunch today and Place an order
School Dental Service
8b Ngaio St Orakei Ph 520 0603.
The dental team will be posting letters to all new entrants to our school as required.
Remember to ‘like’ Victoria Avenue School on Facebook.
NIT NIGHT TONIGHT!!
PLEASE, PLEASE CHECK FOR NITS – a number of classes have reported nits and if your infected child is not treated then many others will be!
Here is a link from NZ Health for info and treatment.
To download the app for free on iPhone or Android click this link:
- Room 1: Maddy Williams
- Room 2: Henry Wilson
- Room 3: Sam Cotton
- Room 7: Chun Yu Quan
- Room 8: Robin Xiao
- Room 9: Zac Hotham
- Room 10: Mae Luther
- Room 11: Mila Lodge
- Room 12: Sienna Wan
- Room 13: Scarlett Lemmens
- Room 14: Zelda Boyer
- Room 15: Serena Saekhang
- Room 16: Zak Brown
- Room 16: Chelsea Lin
- Room 18: Ashley Tung
- Room 18: Hazel Richards
- Room 19: Max Maire
- Room 19: Pasquale Grazioli
- Room 20: Rusty Kang
- Room 20: Charlie Boyden
- Room 21: Matty Lin
- Room 21: Charlie Summerfield
Volunteers are needed to bake and assist during the day on grandparents day (Friday 7 June). Please contact Charlotte Houghton at [email protected] if you can help.
Friday 24 May at 12 noon Closing day for board nominations.
Wednesday 29 May Voting papers will be sent by post to parents.
Friday 7 June at 12 noon Voting closes.
Thursday 13 June Votes are counted, and school is advised of the results.
Friday 14 June New Board takes office
Scholastic Book Fair – 2019
The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to
Victoria Avenue School
from Tuesday 4 June
until Friday 7 June (Grandparents’ Day)
Please mark these dates in your diary now!
Friday 8.30am – 12 noon
Flippaball & Mini-polo
Flippa Ball and Mini-polo are a fun precursor to water polo and help children learn basic skills while building confidence in the pool. Flippa Ball is played in a shallow pool (approx. 1.0m – 1.2m deep) by primary school aged children from year 3 up to year 6 with 7 players per team, whereas mini-polo is played in a 2m deep pool.
VAS plays in the Epsom League on Sunday afternoons at the Diocesan, St Cuthberts or Epsom Girls Grammar pools, catering for teams from Years 3 to 6 (mixed boys and girls). VAS teams are coached and managed by willing parents.
This term we had just one team playing in a year 4 / 5 flippaball league however there are a variety of year group and grades including the 2m deep mini polo for years 5 and 6’s.
If you’d like to see what this sport is all about then check out the Flippaball NZ website or get along to a game on a Sunday afternoon next term (check out the draw at https://www.sporty.co.nz/epsomleague) or give Tony Scott a call on 021 1532 159.
If the strike goes ahead…..