We have a school with a unique structure and a special nature. In 1992 the school established three strands: an Original strand, a Māori Immersion strand and a Montessori strand. Each strand has its own philosophy and teaching style and the moderate size of the school allows many opportunities for staff and children to work together and to participate in joint cross-strand activities.
Whanaungatanga embraces the concepts of relationships and connectedness − a sense of community. During our community consultation period, the term whanaungatanga was chosen to best articulate the sense of community that parents and caregivers want to create. It is expressed throughout the school in our close relationships and in the way that we work together. Whanaungatanga binds us as one community and is well supported by our commitment to our strand values, which are set out in the strand information (see buttons to the left).
Ōtari School is nestled next to the Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush Native Botanic Garden and Forest Reserve and is overlooked by bush-clad hills. The school’s close proximity to the Reserve allows us to have full access to the ngahere – the original bush – some of which has been here for 800 years. This wonderful facility supports our Curriculum/Marautanga in a variety of ways. The school operates an Environmental Education programme in which all children participate.
Parents, whānau and caregivers are encouraged to take part in school activities, outings and to participate in the classroom. Adults are welcome to contribute within the school’s curriculum. For example, a strong, organised team of Reading Volunteers has worked over many years to make a real difference with students’ reading. Many people have contributed their skills in special interest areas such as music, art, dance or gardening, sharing their knowledge and inspiring children to follow their suit. Still others generously offer insights into their particular cultural backgrounds.
Ōtari School is known for the values it fosters within the students, as well as for the sound learning programmes that result in consistently high academic achievement. The emphasis placed on social and emotional development, alongside rich, purposeful learning experiences, contributes to the development of confident, caring successful young people.