Flying start for Makara school

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2014
flyin fox
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ

FLYING COLOURS: Makara Model School principal Gail Dewar looks on as pupil Izzy Tweedie, 10, is the first to earn her licence to ride the school's new flying fox.

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Back to school will be on the minds of kids all over the capital this week, but one Wellington school has an extra reason for their students to be excited about it.

Over the school holidays, Makara Model School added a giant flying fox to its playground, but students have to earn the right to use it.

Principal Gail Dewar says while the school is slowly looking at upgrading the whole school playground, the flying fox was also to create a reward system for the students.

"It's just a little bit of an incentive in thinking about their behaviour and being reliable, safe, responsible and working well with others," Dewar says.

"There's a little element of risk in this equipment too, so we have to know that we trust them so we issue them with licences once they prove they're responsible and sensible enough."

The school applied for a community grant from Meridian West Wind, which funded $25,000 towards the project.

Makara Model School student Izzy Tweedie, 10, was first to try out the flying fox after the ribbon ceremony yesterday, the first day back for the 2014 school year.

"When I was standing there waiting to go I thought wow it's going to be really fun and I already can't wait to do it again!" she says.

Izzy earned her flying fox licence at the end of last year, for "helping other people and not being rude or saying bad things".

She says the flying fox is a good idea not only because people want to earn their licences but also because it made coming back to school exciting.

Dewar says teachers have been assessing children's suitability for the flying fox since the end of last year and it created an opportunity to have positive conversations about behaviour improvement.

"It's a positive outcome when we are rewarding the kids who are behaving well, it puts the attention on them rather than the ones that aren't behaving and instead of telling them they're not behaving we can talk about the sorts of things they could be to earn their licence."

Dewar says the students are generally excited to come back to school but that today just made it extra special. "I think it's important that the children also enjoy themselves at school and coming to school should be fun."

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