What is Mutukaroa?
The Mutukaroa project, developed by Sylvia Park School, is getting schools throughout New Zealand to challenge the way they communicate with parents, and to create home engagement opportunities that provide a better fit for their community.
CORE Education is supporting the initiative by providing an online space where coordinators of this project can support each other and share resources.
The Sylvia Park story
In 2012 Sylvia Park saw the need to interact with parents in more meaningful ways to help them to “…understand some of the important things that go on in schools.”
Assessment stood out as an area of concern for their school as they realised parents were unfamiliar with the assessment tools and terms. The information parents received about their children’s achievement sometimes gave them little more understanding than whether their child was above or below the National Standards.
Looking for better ways of involving parents in their children’s learning, Sylvia Park School released teacher Ari Williams from classroom duties to be the Mutukaroa coordinator. Ari’s role was to discuss children’s individual test results with the teacher, and meaningfully convey the results to parents, demystifying assessment terms and process. She took this to the next step by having learning conversations with the parents about how they could support their children’s learning.
Ari met regularly with all parents of 5–8 year olds in a place convenient to them, e.g. their workplace. She provided specific information about their children’s progress, and support materials to help move them on.
The team from Sylvia Park School is quick to point out that Mutukaroa is focused on learning, not behaviour, and that “…those conversations are the responsibility of the child’s classroom teacher.”
Find out more about how the project was conceived and established at Sylvia Park from this video on New Zealand Curriculum Online.
Mutukaroa was trialled initially at Sylvia Park School with a phase one roll out to 10 schools in 2013. A phase two rollout to a further 100 schools is currently underway with spaces still available. The Ministry provides 50/50 funding for the first year of the project to enable schools to get set up and underway.
For further insight into the journey Sylvia Park have been on check out their blogspot.