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Learning and growing together at East Taieri School - 2007


Digital story: East Taieri School


Our journey

East Taieri School is a decile 9 semi-rural school situated on the outskirts of Mosgiel, Dunedin. It has a roll of 300 students, who with their families make up our very supportive school community. There is a strong tradition of high expectations, community values, and involvement which are incorporated into our school's culture.

A park-like setting provides us with a superb learning and working environment which is enhanced by an orchard, creek and vast playing fields.

Recent and planned building developments complement our physical environment, with our junior block recently added to the Ministry of Education's website showing best practice teaching spaces.

Visitors to the school comment on the welcoming atmosphere and it is obvious that the older children care for our younger students, with our buddy system and 'Helping Hands' encouraging caring for one another.


The amazing support from the community is a strength of the school, with parents, grandparents and members from the community helping in so many ways - parent reading tutors, a dedicated Home and School committee, parent helpers in classes and with school activities.

The start

East Taieri began its exciting journey following the merger of schools on the Taieri. This was the opportunity as a newly merged school, for East Taieri to branch out on a new learning path. Involvement in the Taieri Te Awa ICT contract provided the framework for the start of the journey.

Introduction to thinking skills and upskilling teachers in the use of ICT in the classrooms was conducive to a shift in pedagogy and more consistency throughout the school.

Our vision

Our vision was created, encompassing the essence of 'The East Taieri Way'.

High expectations, and skills for lifelong learning within a positive and supportive environment, are reflected in this vision.

To work together in a positive, supportive environment, providing excellence in teaching and learning where skills for life are developed.

From our vision we developed the East Taieri inquiry process, mindful of the draft curriculum, tying the process in with the key competencies and, after consultation with the community, our own school values. With trees playing such an important part in the life of the school, using the acronym TREES was perfect for representing our inquiry process.

The tree is symbolic of the growth of the child. The key competencies, like the trunk of the tree, providing support; inquiry and thinking skills allowing children to branch out in any directions; and the values, like a canopy overarching, ensuring the wholeness of the child.

We see the teacher's role in the child's growth being as vital as the nourishment needed for the growth of a tree, as we learn and grow together.

Progress to date

Consistency in the use of thinking skills and tools throughout the school is obvious, with teachers and pupils using the same 'thinking' and 'inquiry' language. A focus on questioning skills has led to a marked improvement in children's questions, noticeable as far down as the new entrant level. Whole school topics have enhanced sharing and consistency through the school. Parents and the wider community are more involved in children's learning, with afternoon and evening sharing of the term's activities taking place at the end of each topic.

Future direction

East Taieri is fortunate to be part of the Southern Edge cluster involved in the Ministry's Extending High Standards Across Schools initiative. Our involvement in this initiative supports our continuing journey along the path of inquiry and thinking.

Southern Edge is embarking on an exciting journey of discovery. This journey will focus on thinking, inquiry and integration, and involves teachers, children, and families.

At East Taieri School, as we learn and grow together, we seek to promote excellence in teaching and learning by ensuring that our teachers and children are able to think creatively, critically and logically as they undertake personal research; organise their findings; and evaluate ideas to clarify their understandings and decision making. We look forward to a challenging, productive, and exciting journey ahead.

Review questions image.

This school story is described as a continuous journey. The school used a tree as a metaphor to illustrate their journey, incorporating a visual representation of their philosophy and pedagogy.

Metaphors are a strong way to illustrate a story. The tree symbol at East Taieri represents the local area while also conveying the school message in a way that makes it accessible.

Discuss a metaphor that would be appropriate for your school story, considering your school culture and your local features and community.

effective pedagogy

Published on: 19 Dec 2007