|Winchester School. Part of a mural in the 'new' library|
I had intended to write an article about MLEs ( Modern School Environments) but thought the better of it and thought my visit to Winchester far more fum - you can have too much of saving
|Dan in his Irish rugby jersey and cap|
To me the school environment , both inside and out, is the major 'message system' of a school.
Dan is proud of his Irish heritage so today green was the theme across the school.
The night before had been Dan's BOT and invited guest farewell and a good time was had by all. The hall was suitably decorated and a feature, for me ( being an ex art adviser), were the portraits of Dan by the students. Art is a special way of thinking and the student's interpretation illustrate the diversity of impressions of Dan. There were, of course, the speeches which covered what a special person Dan is. A song composed by a couple of ex staff member added humour to the mix.
|One the murals|
Dan , throwing away his prepared speech, replied with candor and honesty.
He surprised me by asking me to join him at the microphone and somewhat embarrassment me by telling the audience how I had helped him over the years develop his philosophy. Mark Twain once said he could live fora month on one compliment so I think I might last a few more years yet. Dan mentioned that we first met in 1961 when he was an eight year old at Meremere school inland from Hawera and I was a school adviser. I was 20 at the time!
The next morning Dan featured on the front page of the local paper and included in the group of students was his granddaughter (three grandchildren attend the school). On arrival at school Dan had to fight his way through an office full of green balloons.
|Front age news. Pick his granddaughter.|
Honest to the end Dan said being a principal was a hard job and that felt that it was time for someone new to be appointed to add to the momentum that had been established by the school.
|Pop corn science|
Dan had been a Massey University School of Education maths adviser and had instigated an innovative maths programme which had made a real difference at the school.
The article also expressed Dan's belief that education should be based around the 'big picture of holistic contextual learning rather than with assessment - with assessment it is the tail that wags the
|Quality work a school theme|
I had a lovely walk around the school and admired all the colorful creativity on view - maths , art, language, science, and social studies studies. Term one is not the best time to visit a school.It is better in Term 4 when a ranger of skills have been established but non the less there was plenty to see. And all students and teachers were dressed in green and class activities featured a green theme. I am sure it will be a long remembered occasion for all.
|Hens, rabbits and guinea pigs.|
This is what a primary school should be , full of rich learning experiences. Education has to more than faith in computers.
|Some visual science|
Dan retires to a small farmlet on the edge of the city returning to the farming background he experienced at Meremere all those years ago. He has established a small 'herd' of heritage Irish Dexter cattle and a flock of equally special sheep. This, along side his heritage fruit trees, vegetable garden , green house and hens, should keep him busy.
A new life begins Dan and you can rest assured you are one principal who really made a difference which reached far beyond Winchester School.
|Dan and the team of teacher aides|