Starting school is an exciting time for any student, but it can also be pretty overwhelming. There’s different routines, bigger workloads, and new faces, which can be tough to handle for young children.

However, when five-year-old Philip Wendt began his journey at St Joseph’s Catholic School, he hit the ground running, thanks to YMCA Manurewa Early Learning Centre.

His mum Piliopo said that YMCA Manurewa Early Learning Centre truly helped with Philip’s transition to school, because they had put in so much effort to ensure Philip would be equipped for the challenge.

“Philip has started at St Joseph’s Catholic School with much enthusiasm, and has settled well into his new routine. Congratulations on the work YMCA provide to ensure our tamariki from the Southside of Tamaki Makura are prepared for primary school, and beyond.”

She loved the fact that through the use of the online tool, Storypark, she was able to view her son’s time at preschool, for the days she wasn’t able to be there in person.

“Our family appreciated the effort to collate all of Philip’s learning. He will treasure these captured moments in days to come.”

Storypark allows teachers to upload photos and documents of what each child is doing, so that parents and whanau can see what their little one has been up to. When a child graduates, this is all included in their portfolio, along with a graduation certificate.

Piliopo added it was important that children were able to make use of the opportunities available to them, so they could have the best start in life.

“Regardless of our financial situation, we have an obligation to break cycles, break old habits and make changes that are productive and constructive. In my opinion it is our job to teach values and enhance a positive mindset to our tamariki because they are our nation’s future. Succeed in education, no matter what level of academic capacity a child has, and the future for Aoteroa will be a success story.”