Project coordinator Ariana Williams explains how and why Mutukaroa works, why it’s so important for parents to understand assessments, and the benefit for them of knowing how to support their child better at home.
Mutukaroa is the name of our local maunga, which is our mountain, and it’s Hamlins Hill but in Māori it’s Mutukaroa.
Mutukaroa runs from Year 1 to 3, and it’s based on reading, writing and maths.
So the purpose of Mutukaroa is to enable parents to understand the student assessments that we do at school. What used to happen is that parents didn’t use to see that sort of information, so our goal is to make sure that parents from Year 1 to 3 get to see every assessment that their child undertakes at school.
So the reason why it’s so important for parents to understand these assessments is so that they know how to support their child better at home.
Part of Mutukaroa is being accessible to parents. A lot of our parents work, so we have to make sure that we cater to that. So in Mutukaroa we go out to peoples houses and a lot of the times I go into their workplaces as well. It makes it easier for the parents, so it’s not always on our terms because sometimes schools are scary for parents if they’ve had bad experiences.
So, we get to go out, we take the assessments, we take the resources, and we share it in their environment. The process that is undertaken when we do Mutukaroa is that we have a coordinator. So they are someone that is released from the classroom to support this work. What they do is they will meet with the parents, so as soon as a child’s started school they will meet with the parents to show them their child’s assessment.
“When your child first starts school, they do an assessment, and so lots of parents don’t know about the assessments that their kids do at school. So it’s my job to show you the assessments so that you know what they’re learning about”.
We make sure that they go through that information, they understand it.
At the end of those conversations with the parents we set targets around that learning, to think about the next steps that the kid needs to work on. And then from those targets we think about resources that come straight out of the classrooms that we can provide to parents so that they can go away and be able to do these kind of activities at home that will help children learn.
So, with the resources that we provide, because the coordinator is released and has as much time as that parent needs to go through it we have those resources there. The coordinator can go through them in depth.
If the parent has English as second language, we are able to bring in somebody, an expert, we have parents, or other people that can come in to support those learning conversations so that they walk away understanding just as much as I do because I, you know, I speak in English but for us we want to make sure that every parent has a good understanding of what they need to do at home with their kids.
So we have resources in all different languages. In our school we have to make sure that we cater for our parents, so what we do is we have translated resources for all sorts of things like comprehension cue cards. So, when parents go home they have the prompts in their native tongue that will help them to be able to support the child at home.
Because we have the learning conversations and then they go away, we have to make sure that they have what they need when they are gone.
So as a school we checked the data to make sure that what we’re doing is making a difference.
What we found prior to doing Mutukaroa is that we had a lot of kids on entry that were coming in really low. So we wanted to do something about that. We knew with great teaching and quality, you know, quality based practice, that we could get them to a certain point. But what we found by introducing Mutukaroa is that by the time that they were 6 they weren’t just at the level. We were shown a lot of kids were also above, and that’s what we wanted to see. That was something that we hadn’t seen prior.
So by providing parents with those tools and the resources that they need to support their children at home, it’s helped them to go away and be targeted in the homework that they do. And that’s just shown in the results that we have.
You know, in the school entry assessment they are basic things that they need to know, but if parents don’t know them they are not able to do them at home. But in Mutukaroa they know them, they can do them, and that’s how we get the results that we get.