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Mutukaroa – A home-school learning partnership

Tags: Home-school partnership | Primary |

Originally developed at Sylvia Park School, the Mutukaroa approach is designed to foster the development of fully engaged whānau who understand early years school assessment and how to use that information to support targeted learning.

Mutukaroa is a home-school learning partnership. Whānau work with a coordinator (who is a teacher) to understand how their child is progressing in their learning over the first three years at school. Coordinators meet with parents regularly and provide practical tools for parents to support classroom learning at home.

Mutukaroa is underpinned by the findings of the Best Evidence Synthesis The Complexity of Community and Family Influences in Children’s Achievement in New Zealand .

Vision for the Mutukaroa project

Mutukaroa is focused on learning. The aim is "to get great outcomes for our children."

– Barbara Alaalatoa, principal Sylvia Park School

Barbara Alaalatoa, principal of Sylvia Park School, shares the vision behind the Mutukaroa project. Great teaching, evidence-based data, and a tailored approach to the way they share data with whānau, all make meaningful impacts on children's learning.

Key components of the approach

  • Learners are assessed on school entry at 5 years old then again at 5 ½ years, 6, and 7 years, with the intention of tracking progress during their time at school.
  • At each stage of the assessment process the coordinator reviews the data, discusses any issues with the teacher, and agrees the next steps in the child’s learning journey. Next steps complement and support what teachers are doing in the classroom.
  • Whānau are invited to a 45 minute–1 hour meeting with the coordinator to discuss the assessment data and learning targets.
  • Accessibility – Parents can choose where to have meetings, when, and what time of day. Translators are provided if needed.
  • The coordinator utilises a learning framework and toolset to offer whānau structured and specific advice about how to support their child’s learning.

Coordinators take a very tailored and targeted approach to sharing data with individual parents, so that they can make a meaningful, authentic impact on their child’s learning. This supports parents to participate in three-way conferences and to support their child's learning at home.

Home-school partnerships

Mutukaroa supports learning-focused relationships with parents. The emphasis is on the child and their learning, focusing on student achievement and fostering the active engagement of parents through a learning partnership” (Ruia: School-whānau partnerships ).

Coordinator Ariana Williams explains how and why Mutukaroa works, why it’s so important for whānau to understand assessments, and the benefits of knowing how they can support their child's learning at home.

Mutukaroa: Home-School Partnership  – Information for parents explaining Mutukaroa and the partnership approach is provided on the Sylvia Park School website.

Support for Mutukaroa coordinators

Coordinators are supported through a private online group called, Mutukaroa – Learning and Change Networks Coordinators  in the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) where they can access the tools that they need, share resources, and communicate with each other. These include:

  • Learning conversations – downloadable Word and PDF documents with specific instructions for carrying out learning conversations, observation surveys, phonological awareness, JOST and other assessments.
  • Brochures and forms – printable brochures in English, te reo Māori, Samoan, and Tongan for parents.
  • Mutukaroa videos – a series of videos that demonstrate how to have successful learning conversations.
  • Parent resources – a bank of downloadable resources for parents to use at home for working with their child; the resources have been created and shared by coordinators.

Sylvia Park School principal, Barbara Alaalatoa, and coordinator of the Mutukaroa project, Ariana Williams, discuss the benefits for coordinators of being involved in a professional learning community where they have access to a wide range of support in a safe online environment.

More information » 

  • For further information about "Mutukaroa: A landmark learning partnership" contact your local Ministry office .

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