The role of our Junior House Prefects is to ensue our Year 9s feel connected and comfortable at Westlake as quickly as possible In this series, some of our Pupuke Junior House Prefects share their first few weeks with us.
Week 1-2 Orientation & Getting to Know You
Form Class: 9PRE
Prefects: Breahn Robinson, Paige Roderick and Catherine Lee
In the very first two weeks of school, our Pupuke Junior House Prefects had the privilege of meeting all new Year 9s for 2020. We were all very excited to welcome the Year 9s to Westlake Girls and hoped that they would feel comfortable in their new surroundings. The Year 9s were welcomed into the school with a Powhiri from the Westlake Girls Prefects, which was an enriching experience for both parties. After we gathered the Year 9s into Form Classes, they were welcomed with gifts and lollies that the Pupuke Prefects made especially for them.
We then started with the introductions of the Prefects and Form Teacher. We each said a little something about ourselves to ensure they knew who we all were. Once the introductions were completed we then began a tour around the school. With many questions answered, we took them back to their Form Class, where we evoked on the journey of getting to know one another. We played many name games and they were also introduced to the House Deans and other Prefects, such as the Pupuke House Captain. We believe that the Orientation Day and first week of school can be hard for many newcomers, that is why we think as a school that it is important for us to have this programme. We think that it most definitely helps the transition of intermediate into high school and welcomes them into this new environment comfortably. Our Year 9s had everything under their belt by almost the second week and are already striving for excellence and taking on high school like a champ.
By the end of weeks 1 and 2 the form classes seemed to be getting along nicely, although it did come with its own challenges. It was important to us as Prefects that our Form Classes were happy, comfortable and all getting along. We tried our best to ensure that all the Year 9s were happy with their Form Class and if anyone seemed uncomfortable we were sure to make an improvement within the Form Class as soon as possible.
The first two weeks were a blast for both the Junior House Prefects and the Year 9 students. It was an extreme pleasure to be able to see the sheer excitement and anticipation on the faces of the Juniors. A few were overwhelmed by the size of Westlake, but they quickly adjusted to the new environment with the guide from the Junior House Prefects on the first day. We strive to make sure everyone has a sense of belonging in our magnificent Whanau.
Week 3-4 Building Class Culture & Participating/ Contributing (and Clubs Expo)
Form Class: 9PBW (pictured top)
Prefects: Amy Ellison, Arabella Hope, Gemma Douglas
During week 3 of our Form Class there was a significant difference to the previous weeks on confidence and participation. This was noticed during team building exercises that encouraged each student to find other classmates and form a group to perform the activity. Everyone came out their shell and communicated confidently with their new peers during this time in which the atmosphere changed as everyone was now being themselves and laughing within their new groups. This allowed us Junior House Prefects to recognise the class culture and the individual characteristics each student had to bring to the table to form this. It was clear that everyone now felt a strong sense of belonging as everyone was kind and compassionate towards each other.
Week 5-6 Goal Setting, Participating/ Contributing (Citizenship Awards)
Form Class: 9PZU
Prefects: Jamie Whittaker, Amayah Wingfield, Sarah Waller
We went over the Year 9 Citizenship Award in Week 6, which involved introducing a school-wide activity with the students which will enable them to give back to the school and receive an award through participation in a variety of activities in and out of classes, effort, and more importantly, kindness.
Each Year 9 student has a leaflet to complete, which is due at the end of Term 3. We also played some getting to know you games, in which the students were great at learning more about each other and becoming a closer form class family and part of the Westlake community. We are so proud of you 9PZU, you guys are the best!
Week 7-8 Managing Self/ Homework/ Studying & Self-awareness, Self-confidence
Form Class: 9PSN
Prefects: Hannah Troughton, Alannah Thoma, Blessing Tuilaepa
During Week 7 of our Junior House support programme we focused on managing ourselves when we start getting an excessive workload, as well as sharing some extra study tips. We emphasised the importance of keeping up with all our extra-curricular activities, as well as focusing on all our homework and schoolwork. So we provided the girls in our Form Class with a weekly schedule so they could infill what they had within that week.
Personally I think the students positively responded to this activity because we granted them 30 minutes to fully focus on creating a productive timetable for the rest of the year. They then got to personalise them with colours and images making it a more enjoyable experience as they could make them their own. Through this activity it meant the girls ended up with a personalised weekly schedule filled in with all their extra curricular activities as well as a box for reminders such as homework due or days when they need extra resources for their classes.
During Week 8 of our Junior House support programme we focused on self awareness and self confidence, particularly as many Westlake students come from diverse cultural backgrounds. We got the girls in our Form Class to focus on this by getting them to draw a waka (a Maori boat). The girls filled their waka with things that encouraged and supported them, some examples were family, friends or extra-curricular activities. Outside the waka, the girls wrote things they considered were obstacles in their lives, for example pressure, social media or school stresses. After carrying out this activity individually, our Form Class shared the different things they included in or outside of their waka. This not only helped students become more aware of their personal situations and what made them feel good, but how there are differences between them and that they need to respect that.