… from the newsletter notes of Head Teacher John Boyce
Whanau is at the heart of our school. Whanau is the Maori word for extended family – and the whanau is the key grouping in the school. Students meet their whanau teacher every day in a vertical grouping of about 20. This gives the teacher the time to deal with each student in his or her care. It gives parents easy contact with someone who knows their child well. And it makes it possible for the school to care for the whole person of each child: learning gifts and issues, personal development, strengths and weaknesses, careers and future pathways – as well as the crises that occur in all our lives.
The student will normally stay with the same teacher for their time here – and that means parents quickly develop a strong relationship with that teacher.
Dr Mason Durie’s whare tapawha model of pastoral care fits very nicely into the way we do things at Garin. He likens our health and happiness to the four walls of a house, each wall representing a different dimension: taha wairua (the spiritual side); taha hinengaro (thoughts and feelings); taha tinana (the physical side); and taha whanau (family).
All four dimensions are necessary for health, well-being, strength and long life.
We at Garin also have a holistic view of each student in our care, and it is the whanau teacher who is the focus of our whare tapawha for each student.