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Parents discuss PRIDE Challenges

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Learning at home and at school

Principal and parents discuss perceptions and experiences of the PRIDE Challenges.

"We started by letting the parents know about the research again, letting them know about the key competencies and how we might develop those in children and really that we wanted to develop a love of learning."

Neill O'Reilly


Neill O’Reilly, Principal

We started by letting the parents know about the research again, letting them know about the key competencies and how we might develop those in children, and really that we wanted to develop a love of learning. That is the key focus that we want when children are taking learning home. So it was also about letting parents know that we know that homework causes a fair amount of stress. It wasn’t a particularly hard sell, we didn’t need to do a hard sell. Once we put the options out there, parents were delighted. A couple of them said to me they were really fed up of the roller coaster ride – so this teacher has this notion about homework and marks it, this one has this notion and doesn’t mark it, and the next one doesn’t do any homework. So the parents and the children were being put through this rollercoaster ride as they went through school. 

Jo Kenworthy, Parent

Leading up to this year, last year they knew what PRIDE challenges were and were asking whether they could do them last year and we sort of had to encourage them to wait. But this year because of the school philosophy on them, they knew of them and were quite excited about them. My daughter signed up to do them so she could improve her learning, and my son signed up to do them so as he could get the badge at the end of the year. So that is just the difference between what a girl thinks and a boy thinks. So I think they are good. We have done five already for this year and they are good because they get you working together as a family. Both mum and dad have to be involved. We have found that we have both been involved because we’ve done the… we are quite a physical family anyway, so we’ve sort of focused on the physical ones initially in term one when it was good weather and we went out as a family and did a 40km bike ride over four weeks, so that was one of the challenges. I think they are good because they let the children do things that aren’t… they experience community and they experience real world experiences, which is not what you get from traditional homework. So they are out there, they have to cook a meal for the family – some families might do that anyway. We have done it because it is a PRIDE challenge and now they are keen to help more in the kitchen and they have cooked other meals that are not part of the PRIDE challenge. So it ignites their interest in something that may not normally happen with traditional homework. 

Julie Barrowcliff, Parent

Lyon’s in his third PRIDE challenge, which is his last one for the pounamu, which is the most important one I’m told. For us it’s fantastic because Lyon’s really busy and does lots of sport outside of school, which isn’t associated with school, which takes up a lot of his time. So he can use those towards getting the awards, which is brilliant. It has also taught him to be quite a thinking boy. It’s broadened his horizons with regards to things like charity, caring for others, and also supporting the younger people in the school, which is brilliant because obviously with Lilly down the pecking order so to speak, it has been fantastic for her as well. With regards to how it affects the family, it has actually made us think outside the square as a family as well. We have become a lot more involved with doing things for charity out of school, which has been driven by the PRIDE challenge and actually finding something that not everyone else is doing. So last year Lyon worked in a soup kitchen. He actually raised money for food in that kitchen by doing some work for me at my work. He put stickers on brochures and he got paid for that from our petty cash. The deal was that 50% of his wage he kept and 50% he put in his charity box. So then he went off with the lady who ran it through the Salvation Army and bought supplies, and he actually went a couple of times and worked in the soup kitchen and served the homeless people. So that was fantastic. If you asked him, that would be his most memorable. This year he is doing the same but not using that for his challenge, that’s now just something that has sort of become part of who he is, and he is doing something different for charity this year. So it has been really good from that point of view.

Sal Davies, Parent

In comparison to the homework that she got earlier on before the PRIDE challenges started, it wasn’t a huge amount at that age, but still it was this requirement to do certain stuff that was more stress than it was worth. I felt quite frustrated that really, was it really helping. They do eight hours and then they have more stuff to do at home. So I think this is a good balance because she does have basic facts, she has reading. Our girls love to read so that has never been a problem. But the challenges just round that out and they have been doing some great things. 

Neill O’Reilly, Principal

A common question – “But don’t parents want homework?” I think parents want what’s best for their children. I think that for many years we have told them that homework is good for their children so my challenge to them is be honest with your parent community, give them the facts, give them the research, talk about what you want for their children, and then find a way to make it possible.

Updated on: 23 Jan 2011