Starting School is a Steaming Success

Steaming into School is unique to Wairakei Primary School, Taupō. It is a programme for children who are about to start school.

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Once a student is enrolled at Wairakei School, parents are invited to attend five afternoon sessions once a week with their child. The SIS teacher will provide information about the school, such as the school’s vision and values, Tokarewa Programme, school newsletter, and more. Parents will be able to ask questions and gain valuable information about their child’s education journey.

Children will experience some of the learning activities and classroom routines in a supportive welcoming environment. They will meet other children starting school at the same time. They will visit important people and visit key places around the school.

Sessions will include:

  • Welcome and karakia

  • Literacy activities

  • Numeracy activities

  • Visiting places around the school

  • Meet important people in the school

A SIS session begins with parents bringing their child into the room. While the teacher meets and talks with the parents, children can explore and enjoy the discovery activities in the classroom, such as building blocks, imagination play with toy animals and dinosaurs, drawing table, and many others.

Welcome and Karakia

The teacher then brings the children down to the mat to greet and welcome them to school. The school Karakia is recited.

Literacy Activities

The teacher will take the children through a few literacy activities. These might include:

  • Phonics lesson: Children will be introduced to a letter sound. Explicit emphasis is placed on saying the sound correctly and hearing the sound at the beginning of different words. Games and songs help children to remember the sound, including what the sound looks like and how to form the sound.

  • Poem: The poem is linked to a particular letter sound or it will have a rhyming focus.

  • Know my name: Children cut and glue the letters in their name onto their name sheet.

  • Letter craft: Children make a craft based on a particular letter.

Numeracy Activities

The teacher will take the children through a few numeracy activities. These might include:

  • Counting poems, chants, or songs: Children will join the teacher in singing songs focused on counting to 5 or 10. These are sometimes popular nursery rhymes.

Visiting places around the school

The group will visit the library, hall, office, sickbay, playgrounds, and the gully

Meet important people in the school

During the group's visits to places around the school, they will meet important people.

  • Paula Farquhar - Principal

  • Jenna Foley - Deputy Principal

  • Gwen Bowler - Assistant Principal

  • Penny Fischbach - Librarian

  • Val Mansfield - Office manager

  • Rhonda Ellington - Office Assistant

Starting primary school is such an important time in a child’s learning journey. At Wairakei Primary School we want all our students to have the best introduction to school life. We believe our Steaming into School programme provides this and much more.

2024 Griffin

Fiona Griffin

I believe Wairakei Primary School is a special place. It provides a safe environment for our children to discover, create and develop their love of learning.

I grew up in Taupō and have lived here most of my life. I am married with two grown sons and two delightful grandchildren. My husband and I enjoy travelling, spending time with our family and friends, tramping and camping. I love arts and crafts, in particular painting and sketching. Before becoming a teacher, I was a tailor and had my own clothing design business. I still enjoy designing and making clothing, especially wedding dresses.

I have been a teacher since 2005. I joined Wairakei Primary School in 2018. I love teaching and I especially love teaching at Wairakei Primary School. I became a teacher after 7 years as a scout leader for 1st Taupō Scouts. This was where I realised my desire to inspire and educate children was more important to me than just one hour, once a week.

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