Newsletter – 24 April 2023


Nau mai haere mai, Greetings | Tena Koutou | Talofa Lava | Malo e Lelei | Namaste | Ni sa bula | Noaia’e mauri | Fakalofa lahi atu | Kia Orana | Asalam Alykum | Ni Hao | Konnichiwa | An Nyung Ha Sai Yo | Nay Ho | Goeie Môre | Привет



A very warm welcome to our new families that started today. Mr Simon Fraser is on leave this week so Mr Warren Mears will return from Wednesday to help us out.  


School closed tomorrow Tuesday April 25th for Anzac Day.


It’s never been easier to be entertained, informed and connected.

Our favorite shows, music, social media and the latest news are now available in the palm of our hand 24/7. While we enjoy this convenience, kids are enjoying it as well. Too much, in fact.

With children getting smartphones at younger and younger ages while also having access to TVs, tablets, video games and other technology in the home, they’re getting a lot more daily screen time than previous generations.

Just how much time?

The numbers might shock you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the average daily hours by age group:

  • 8-10 years old: Six hours
  • 11-14 years old: Nine hours
  • 15-18 years old: Seven and 1/2 hours                                                                                  

And these figures don’t even include the time kids spend on screens for their school work.         

The health effects          

It’s important for parents to be aware of the impact that too much screen time can have on their children’s health, as well as their ability to develop healthy relationships with friends and family.

“While TVs have been a fixture in American homes for many years, the issue of screen time is a relatively new area of concern since smartphones haven’t been around very long,” said Samina Yousuf, MD, an OSF HealthCare pediatrician.

Over the last decade, it’s become a standard topic that pediatricians discuss with children and their parents.

“Studies are showing links between excessive screen time and various physical and mental health issues in children, such as obesity, depression, behavioral issues and anxiety,” Dr. Yousuf said. “It also hinders them from getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, which harms them physically and also impacts their performance in the classroom. And then when they come home from school, it cuts into the time they should be devoting to homework.”

It also impacts their development of social skills.

“Impatience in real world interactions is one of the biggest results of excessive screen time,” Dr. Yousuf said. “You don’t have to be patient with a screen. It’s instant gratification. But you do need patience when you’re talking to someone in person. So, it’s important that children learn to wait, listen and respond.

“This will not only help them when communicating with other kids, but also when playing together since taking turns with toys is so important. All of this lays the foundation for developing healthy relationships and friendships as they grow up.”

Recommended time limits

But with these electronic devices so ingrained into our culture, how should parents set boundaries for their children? Dr. Yousuf said pediatricians generally recommend the following guidelines:

  • Under 2 years old: Zero screen time, except for video chatting with family or friends
  • 2-5 years old: No more than one hour per day co-viewing with a parent or sibling
  • 5-17 years old: Generally no more than two hours per day, except for homework

To support parents’ efforts, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents develop a family media use plan, which can be easily constructed on the AAP’s website at

“This is really a positive parenting tool that can help parents guide their children on what type of screen time is appropriate and when and where it can be enjoyed,” Dr. Yousuf said.

Other proactive steps for parents to take include:

  • Screen-free bedrooms: There should be no screens in the bedroom, and children generally shouldn’t view a screen for two hours before bedtime. The reason is a screen’s blue light can prevent the brain from knowing when it’s time to get ready for sleep. Instead of watching TV before bed, kids should engage in other activities, such as reading.
  • Fill the void: If you need to cut back on your child’s screen time, don’t leave them to figure out what to do with that free time. Replace it with something positive, such as outdoor sports or other activities.

Focus on face-to-face interactions

But aside from setting screen time limits, Dr. Yousuf said parents need to focus on face-to-face interactions with their children.

“Younger children don’t relate to what they see on a screen the same as real life. Subliminal messages that we send during in-person conversations don’t come across the same on a screen,” she said. “When you’re playing with a young child, you’re teaching them how to interact with their environment. Studies show that the more interactive you can be with them, the better off they’ll be because they’re using more of their senses, such as listening, touching and smelling.”

But whether a child is younger or older, human interaction provides benefits that can’t be replaced by screens.

“It’s all about developing relationships,” Dr. Yousuf said. “You need to be able to maintain healthy relationships later in life. If you’re not experiencing that and seeing what relationships should be from a young age, you’re not going to replicate them later on.”


It is important we have all your contacts correct including address, cell phone and an emergency contact in case we cannot get hold of a parent.

We ring if your child has had any knock to the head or injury we feel needs further medical attention.


These will take place early in Term 3 as we want to try and have a full term of solid teaching and learning opportunities. 

Winter Uniform

Please note that bucket hats/caps are not compulsory during term 2 and 3.  

Uniform shop open Monday 8-9am and Wednesday 3-4pm for any of your winter needs – Polar Fleece, Jackets, Beanies etc.





Going to school every day is important if children are to achieve and succeed.  Once your child has started school they need to attend every day so they can participate and engage in learning, establish friendships, develop social skills and good attitudes towards teamwork, and develop their understanding of classroom and school routines and expectations. 

It is really important that you place importance on regular attendance. As always, children learn by example and will take your lead. If you show a relaxed attitude to their going to school, then they will too.

Children are legally required to be enrolled at and regularly attend school. If this doesn’t happen then parents, caregivers, whanau, can be prosecuted.
Reporting your child’s absence from school

If your child is going to be away from school for any reason you must let the school know.  We need to know the reason that your child is away and that they are safe.  Your child’s safety and wellbeing is a priority for the school.  If your child doesn’t turn up to school we will be concerned for their safety.

If we don’t hear from you, we will get in touch with you to make sure your child is safe.

At Pakuranga Heights School we have several options for reporting your child’s absence:

  • Email the school office or the class teacher directly
  • Call the school office on 09 576 9209 and follow the directions for reporting an absence
  • Go to the school website  and click on the drop down menu for ‘Our Learning’ click on ‘curriculum’ and then ‘absence’ to easily report an absence without having to make a call or use email.

Schools are legally required to follow-up on students who have regular absences and attendance data is reviewed weekly. If a pattern of absenteeism develops for a child, parents will be contacted by the school to help support and manage getting the child to school. The attendance service may also be involved and other government agencies such as the Police, Oranga Tamariki and immigration.


The school day begins at 9am and it is important that students are in their classrooms when the 9am bell rings. Being on time means getting the most from lessons and will typically mean a student is ready to learn. This means aiming to arrive 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start of the day.

Occasionally other circumstances cause a lateness outside of the control of the student or parent/guardian. This is expected to be a rare event.

All students arriving after 9.10am must sign in at the office by their parent/guardian.

If a pattern of lateness develops for a child, parents will be contacted by the school to help support and manage getting the child to school on time each day.