Our daily Assemblies are a very important part of our school’s modus operandi because…
- Assemblies create a school togetherness and unity that is vital. The school is not a business; it is an extended family. We start our day around the ‘breakfast table’, together as a family.
- Our assemblies allow for periods of whole school learning, sharing and caring. All curriculum Learning Areas are covered during a two-year cycle. Some subjects are touched upon daily.
- There are many opportunities taken in assemblies to grow our young leaders. The qualities in our young leaders are born and developed in our assemblies.
- Role-modeling opportunities are very effective ways to send out strong and positive messages to our younger students.
- Opua School students are commonly confident public speakers because of the focus we put on this and the opportunities afforded all students to learn to and want to contribute orally.
- Opportunities are taken to give inspirational presentations or messages from visitors, teachers or senior students. Sometimes these are ad hoc but none the less valuable when they occur.
- The sharing and celebration of individual student’s findings, creations, experiences and/or personal landmarks are regular, special moments which are individually and collectively memorable times.
- Reading is modelled in assemblies. Our vibrant library and the very many boys and girls who love books at our school is partly due to such modelling.
- Assemblies are often used to hear reports from students who attend extra-curricular activities in the hope that this will encourage others to get involved in positive activities outside of normal school hours.
- Assemblies are often used to organize whole school events such as Beach trips and various competitions so that all students are safe, know what they are doing and how the event is planned.
- Assemblies are used to train the students in kapahaka and to get a high level of performance out of all the students when we have to present publicly or engage in a powhiri.
- Parents, caregivers and extended family members are always welcome at assemblies. They are very open and welcoming affairs at which we can do so many of the things that are celebrated and encouraged in the New Zealand Curriculum’s ‘front-end’.
Some facts about our assemblies that are sometimes forgotten or misunderstood:
- Our Assemblies do not start until 9.25am due to our Fitness programme that commonly runs until that time. Depending on what is being covered, the actual assembly for the whole school can run for 15 to 30 minutes or, alternatively, it can be seen to run from 9.25 to 9.40 through to 9.50am. Very unusually, assemblies might run for a few minutes longer or be held on other occasions also if something special is occurring, being presented or being discussed.
- The Assemblies are a crucial feature of our success. They are the main way we get whole school messages over and create the school’s very successful and often admired ethos and spirit. All the work done there, on a daily basis by the teachers, reinforces the standards, behaviours and attitudes we expect of students at our school. It is one of the main reasons why we have virtually no bullying, why we have a safe environment for students and why we are a school of choice for many parents out of our immediate school catchment area. This all takes energy, focus and – yes – time on a daily basis and must not be marginalized or fragmented because potential negative consequences for our school and its students, including a deterioration in overall standards, could follow.
- Since becoming principal I have thought a great deal about our assemblies and there have been some significant modifications. However, my overall considered opinion is that they are of great value for establishing and maintaining this school’s very positive atmosphere and must continue to occur on a daily basis.
- Assemblies are almost always extremely happy, positive and enjoyable ‘together times’.