Welcome to Muritai School


Muritai School has a fantastic junior school. This page is designed to be a wealth of information to support you and your child in your transition to school. 

We believe that relationships are essential for learning and fostering these relationships are critical to enabling your child to have a settled and happy start to school. We really want to get to know you and your child.


This is a generic timeline for starting school at Muritai.


  • In June of the year before your child starts school Jess Richards emails out a google form to East Harbour Kindergarten and Barnardos so we know who will be starting school in the following year and your personal details. This form also gives you an option to say when you would like your child to start school. In New Zealand children can start school anytime after they turn 5.

  • One to two months before your child’s 5th birthday Jess Richards the Junior Team Leader will call you to let you know the dates your child can come on school visits. Jess will also ask you some questions about your child to help us best prepare for your child’s start to school. School visits are held in week 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9, 10 of each term. 


You can find the dates of these visits, as well as lots of other upcoming events in our school calendar (Click Here)

  • Your child will attend 2-3 school visits on a Thursday. If you feel your child needs more visits then just let Jess know, these can easily be arranged. At these visits you complete our enrolment form.

  • You order their stationary.

  • Your child starts school!

Information about School Visits

Your child will have 2-3 school visits on a Thursday before they start school. They may also visit school with their teachers from Barnardos or East Harbour Kindergarten.


Visits run from 9:30-11:00am and are in room 2 led by Jess Richards (the junior Team Leader).


They are in week 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9, 10 of each term. Parents stay during the visits and complete the school enrolment form.


You can find the dates of these visits, as well as lots of other upcoming events in our school calendar (Click Here)


School Visit Tips

  • Pack a normal kindy bag (drink bottle, snacks, change of clothes if needed, coat).

  • Talk to your child about the visit before you come.

  • Have fun playing with your child but also give them time and space to meet new friends.

  • There will be some students from across room 2/3 at the visits and they will meet their classroom teacher as part of the visit.

  • The visits will include some play in class, a school tour, some short taster to school lessons and a normal school morning tea time.


We can’t wait to welcome you to your school visits!

Korora Stationary

Stationary can be ordered from www.myschool.co.nz


The stationary list is attached HERE.

Please send your child to school with all books named. You are welcome to duraseal/cover books if you would like but there is no expectation to.

Our Korora Team

Our junior school is named Kororā, after the native Little Blue Penguin that lives in our area. It is the world's smallest penguin and is a very apt name for our youngest learners who we need to nurture, keep safe and guide through their first two years of schooling. 

Room 6 - Year 2 - Mrs Gabrielle Heath heath@muritai.school.nz


Room 5 - Year 1/2 - Mrs Nadia Henderson nhenderson@muritai.school.nz


Room 2 - Year 0/1 - Miss Jess Richards jrichards@muritai.school.nz


Room 1 - Year 1 - Mrs Kea Maritz  kmaritz@muritai.school.nz


Room 3 - Year 0 - Mrs Alison Furminger afurminger@muritai.school.nz


Team Leader- Jess Richards jrichards@muritai.school.nz 


Thank you so much for supporting your child so far in their transition to school journey. Some great things to do before they start school are:


  • Visit the school grounds for a play

  • Peer in the classroom windows (say hi if a teacher is there)

  • Read them the information about their teacher

  • Answer any questions they have

  • Talk about how it is normal to feel a mixture of nerves and excitement but reassure them that their teachers are there to help and will look after them. They are going to have a great year of learning and fun!

  • Start getting back into routines in the two weeks before school starts (bedtimes, waking up)

  • Encourage their independence packing their own bag to go to the beach or pool, helping you to make a snack, tidying up their room etc 

  • Praise them lots, talk about how proud you are that they are ready for school and how they share, use kind words, can organise themselves etc. Praise is so important and develops confidence.

  • Practise eating their morning tea and lunch out of their lunchbox- make sure they can open the lunchbox and packets.

  • Connect with other children and families who are also starting school or already at school. If you don’t know any I am happy to pass on your contact details, just send me an email. I cannot give out people’s contact details due to privacy but I can pass yours on to others.


General Information- need to knows


Bell times

School starts at 8.40 am for our fitness programme. Children can arrive at school from 8:15 am, between 8:15 and 8:30 teachers are still preparing lessons so children need to be supervised by parents and caregivers. Teachers have an 8:15 am meeting on Tuesday mornings so be aware that teachers won't be in the room until after 8:30 am on those days. From 8:30 am children can be left under the supervision of their teacher, you are welcome to stay for our fitness time though. 


Morning tea is 10.30 - 10.50 a.m. and lunch is 12.30 - 1.30 p.m. All students wash their hands and then sit down to eat in their classes while they listen to a story. After eating they head outside for a play. Please note that we have some students in our school with severe allergies to nuts. We ask that your child does not bring nuts, peanut butter or Nutella sandwiches and other products containing nuts in their lunchboxes. 


The home time bell is at 2.55 p.m. At home time, the students from Rooms 1, 2 and 3 will be handed over to their parent or another adult that you have given permission to pick them up, whereas the students in Rooms 5 and 6 will be dismissed to meet you out under the sunshade. The students going to Kelly Club go to the hall at 2.55 p.m (they are picked up from their class). 



In the playground there are two teachers on duty at all times - they wear a bright yellow vest so they can be seen anywhere. There are also other adults in the playground who are supervising students, doing observations or coaching sports. Our junior students can play in the sandpit, on the junior playground next to room 1 and 2, on the bars, go to the library, get gear out of the P.E. shed or play in the quiet room (Room 4) or play with blocks under the sunshade during lunch times. 



Your child has a buddy or maybe two from another older class as each class throughout the school has a buddy class. They meet each week and may do art, reading, sport games or spelling together. 



If your child is going to be absent from school, please phone the school office (04 562 8409) and leave a message - provide your child's name, room number and the reason for their absence. This is much appreciated as it saves time for Jo and Carole trying to track down children. We must account for the whereabouts of every child. If you intend taking your child out of school during the school year and it is not in school holiday time please write a letter or send an email to Mrs Bec Power, our principal, asking for permission to do so. Please also include your child's teacher and Jo Bentley in the email. 


Stationery/Sun hat/Water bottle 

Thank you in advance for purchasing the stationery items for your child. Please name all books and send them to school with your child on their first day. Just a reminder that you also need to purchase a book bag from Jo in the office. Children are required to have a bucket hat at school in terms 1 and 4. It is also helpful if you have a small bottle of sunblock in their bag. Please also send them to school with a drink bottle. They keep their drink bottle in the classroom so they can have a drink whenever they are thirsty.


Scooters and Bikes

Students can ride scooters and bikes with helmets on, to and from school but they are unable to use them during the school day. They are to park them in the designated areas (beside the gates at either entrance for bikes and racks by room 2 for scooters). Before and after school they need to walk them through the school grounds.


Lost Property

Please name your child's clothing so if it becomes lost it can then be returned to them easily. Please also name your child's gum boots and slippers if they are bringing them in. Lost property can be found hanging up in the office area so please check this regularly if your child has misplaced an item.


Full School Assemblies

These will be held every two weeks, each term the junior school will host one of these assemblies where we share what we have been learning. Everyone is very welcome to join us to celebrate our learning. Assemblies are always on a Friday. They start at 1.40 p.m. are in the school hall and are usually around 45 minutes to an hour in duration. Please sit on the seats reserved for you at the back of the hall, nearest the kitchen.  


Communication between Home and School  

If you have any queries about your child's learning or about school, please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher in the first instance or myself. Please email your query or if you wish to make an appointment please email the person concerned or phone the school office.


The school wide newsletter ‘Power to the People’ is an overview of what is happening around our school as a whole and is emailed out every two weeks. I also write a termly Team Kororā newsletter about our terms learning. There is also lots of information on our school website including the school wide calendar, which will give you advanced warning of events and important dates. https://www.muritai.school.nz/calendar


Classroom teachers send emails to provide you with a snapshot of some of the learning and photos of your child and their class at other times. 


Email is the best way to contact staff. Please note that we will do our utmost to respond to emails within 24 hours on weekdays, but we may not see these during teaching times (8.30 a.m. – 3pm).  If your message is urgent, please call the office to ensure that we receive it.


Office and our Principal

Jo - bentley@muritai.school.nz 

Carole - lowe@muritai.school.nz 

Bec Power - principal@muritai.school.nz   


Our Learning Programme 



Each day we begin with our fitness programme at 8.40 a.m. This is so that the students can warm up their bodies ready for the day's learning. The fitness programme involves a mixture of activities, it could be Jump Jam (an exercise programme to music in the hall), other songs or dances, yoga, perceptual motor programme activities, team games, relays or skipping. 


Literacy- Oral Language, Reading, Writing, Handwriting and Phonics

The key to all learning is oral language and there are lots of opportunities throughout the school day when oral language is focussed on and skills are practiced.


Each day your child is exposed to reading in many different ways. They will read shared (enlarged) books with their teacher and their whole class. Teachers’ use these books to highlight particular teaching points. From Monday to Thursday students will have a guided reading session with their teacher and reading group to read a book at their appropriate level. These books are then sent home in book bags for the children to re-read with you. This re-reading forms a very important part of the reading programme and helps to develop children’s reading fluency, mileage and comprehension. Thank you in advance for your support with your child’s home reading. You may find that students will get books that they have already read on previous occasions. This is important to build their confidence, fluency and comprehension. 










Reading at the jellybean table with their teacher.                                       We visit the Eastbourne Library every two weeks.


Each classroom also has a daily phonics lesson. This year we are beginning the Yolanda Soryl Phonics programme. Phonics teaches children the sounds of the alphabet and their different combinations so they can use this knowledge in their reading, writing and spelling. 


Writing is a big focus in Team Kororā as it is important that all children learn to communicate in written form. Learning to write is a hard skill- children need to form and organise their ideas in their head, they then have to connect sounds and sound chunks to letters and then letters to words, they need to learn how to organise a sentence and learn basic punctuation rules. For this reason it is modelled explicitly by teachers, taught in guided sessions and students are given time to practise independently too. 



Writing a story in their books independently                  Independent writing activities in Action Stations


Handwriting is also a skill our students need to master in their first two years at school. The teaching focus is on the correct formation of all letters, both upper and lower case and the correct grip of the pencil. 


Spelling is also part of the daily programme. It is a written skill and each child progresses through the essential word lists where they need to commit these commonly spelt words to memory and transfer them into their daily writing. 


Te Reo

Throughout the year students will learn and practice words in Te Reo related to greetings, farewells, feelings, instructions, numbers, colours, our inquiry projects and our natural environment. We often teach te reo through waiata and stories. We also do junior Kapa Haka on Tuesdays and as a team in team assemblies. At the start of each term we welcome new students and their families to school with a Mihi Whakatau, more information will be emailed out about this closer to the time.




                       Visiting The Dowse to learn about the pātaka Nuku Tewhatewha                  Hongi at our Mihi Whakatau



As a school we are currently receiving professional development on maths teaching best practice and rich maths tasks. Mathematics teaching at Muritai involves solving rich maths (tasks based on stories, on problems, and hands on tasks) in groups. We also teach skill lessons around number knowledge or strategies for solving problems- both addition and subtraction as well as multiplication and division. We also cover all the mathematics strands throughout the year (statistics, measurement- time, volume and capacity, money, geometry- position and orientation, length, area, mass and perimeter

 algebra/patterns- spatial and number). 






    Practising writing numbers.                        Playing shops, counting money and using the abacus



Our Values

Muritai School has three core values which are:

Explore, Connect and Contribute.

We encourage you to discuss the values with your children and talk about how they have demonstrated them during the day at school.



Each year we have three inquiry projects. These projects might be about the natural world around us, the history of our local area, an environmental issue, science experiments, or about our community. We love to go on adventures in our local environment/community so we try and go on trips as part of these inquiries. These inquiry projects are broken up with WOW weeks, an immersion week focussed around one topic e.g. making art, doing hands on experiments or making kai.


In 2019 we completed an inquiry project called ‘What a Wonderful World’ where we studied earth systems and in Team Kororā we looked at the water cycle. We went to the Wellesley School Stream and carried out an investigation to measure the health of the stream. We also saw the longfin eels!


In 2019 we did another Inquiry Project called ‘No Place Like Home.’ In this project we went to the Parangarahu Lakes Area on the Pencarrow coast road.

We went to the Lake Kohangapiripiri area to connect to a local place of significance and to learn about why this is such a special place. Students then took this learning to help them to design a new play space beside the library that honours our local area and is inclusive for all. 





















At the end of the year we focus on  ‘Education Outside the Classroom’. Over two weeks we go to the beach, the pool, on a bush walk, hold our athletics day and our annual christmas concert among other things.


Digital Technology

All classes have a set of iPads to use during the day to enhance learning in a range of curriculum areas. We also have robots and other resources for teaching STEM- science, technology, engineering and mathematics and a specialized STEM room.





Using the Osmo App in Action Stations                         Designing their playspace design on the iPad for our inquiry



Physical Education and Health


Along with fitness, the students learn and practice a range of physical skills during physical education lessons. The focus of these lessons changes each term.




               Swimming lessons in the Eastbourne Pool term 4 2019.                                     Athletics Day, long jump 201


The Arts

Each term we cover a different art focus, we aim to integrate our art with our inquiry projects.





              We used mixed media to draw, paint and collage the  Wellesley Stream in 2019.                  Self portraits from 2019





If you have any questions about the year ahead please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


We look forward to working with you all this year.


Ngā mihi nui,


Jess Richards (Team Leader of Team Kororā) and the Team Kororā Teachers.