Some were disappointed it wasn’t their sibling’s class, some were super excited they got to work with “the cute little kids”, others were worried they had to work with 5-year-olds.
Room 15 came in for their first visit to get to know their buddy and check out our class. Room 7 seemed more scared than our little buddies were. The senior students were very cautious and a bit standoffish. Room 7 students quickly discovered that 5-year-olds are neither of those.
Room 7’s job was to help Room 15 complete a self-portrait, reminding them to use the correct pencil grip and help them to draw a realistic face shape. While working on a piece of art, I heard encouraging comments around the room, “good work, you’re doing awesome”, “you’re so good at art!” and even when drawing the self-portraits became challenging, I heard Oscar say “wow! We’ve got a Picasso over here!”, making sure he encouraged his buddy.
Throughout this time spent together - the tuakana (the elder) was teaching the younger throughout reading, teaching them new games, and teaching them how we learn at Wairakei by using POWER values. In turn, the teina (younger) were also teaching the tuakana skills such as patience and without knowing, the power of confidence. As the students worked together, Room 7 students' confidence improved as they were being heard and had the chance to be leaders.
This showed at our assembly when Rooms 7 and 15 were the hosts. There were a few nerves from both sides, although our Room 7 students were focused on making sure their buddies felt comfortable and confident up on the stage, which made standing in front of the school a lot easier. You could see the looks of pride from both classes when the final art projects were shown to the school.