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Fantastic New Programme.

Fantastic New Programme.

At their conference, opened by Steve Maharey the Minister of Education, the New Zealand Parent Teacher Association launched their new ‘Give Me Five’ programme on Saturday, 24th June to a very interested and excited group of parents, education sector members and representative of the Ministry of Education.

The ‘Give Me Five’ programme is designed to increase volunteering in schools – there are very few schools who would not want to do this.
Each parent/guardian/caregiver promises to give 5 – yes, only 5 – volunteer hours per YEAR to the school. The school and the PTA work out a list of worthwhile tasks that can be done by parents – both in the school and at home – and as these are done, the parent is credited with the hours spent.

There are badges to be worn – so that everyone can recognize the volunteers in the school – magnets that can be put on the fridge to remind parents and children that this is an important part of school life – and certificates to be given out in assembly or similar times to those parents who complete their five hours.

The presentation and the material needed to introduce the programme are available on CD for printing out. One of the trialling schools gained sponsorship to pay for the printing – not a great amount but worth a lot in advertising for the firm concerned.

The executive are available in many places to demonstrate the programme and copies will be available soon – free to schools.

This programme could so easily stand alongside the ‘Team-up’ Campaign. That encourages parents to be involved with their schools – this gives them a focus of that involvement.

The Minister spoke to the concerns of parents in PTAs – of the importance of their needing to be involved in their children’s education – not just fundraisers.

Mr Maharey spoke also of the Schooling Strategy and although this latest round of discussions are aimed at the professionals plus Boards of Trustees, there will still be many opportunities for parents to be involved and to discuss the findings and help implement that strategy in the schools. Research is always telling us that the parent is a fundamental influence in a child’s success and achievement, therefore it is important that we are part of any education programme affecting our children.

He also reiterated the need for schools to make sure that parent know that ‘school donations’ are not compulsory and children cannot be excluded for non-payment unless it be for school trips or other things to which payment is made to outside organizations. A suggestion was made to itemize these accounts.

The rest of the programme covered topics such as Pacifika programmes, good eating (there was a table set up introducing ‘Food that is good for me’), drugs and young people, looking at ‘Reducing Bullying’ – an update on one New Zealand Initiative, management of infectious diseases in schools and lots of networking, fun, laughter, food and good company.


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