Funding opens doors for young children


For many kids, extracurricular activities and weekends spent on the sports fields are a rite of passage.

But for students at Sunset School it’s not so simple. Over the past decade the school hasn’t taken part in many sporting or cultural events, because of difficulties with getting students to activities.

That’s all about to change though, thanks to a bold funding decision from Rotorua Trust which has agreed to fund a position within the school to help improve students’ access extracurricular activities, whether that’s arranging transport to weekly sports events or running after school music clubs.

Principal Eden Chapman says the $37,300 funding, and the new role it allows, will go a long way to removing as many barriers as the school can to make sure they have the opportunities some other students take for granted.

“This funding will enable us to offer a little bit more and open up some opportunities that kids might not otherwise think they can get into.”

But Mr Chapman says it is more important than just the funding they’ve received.

“It is a bigger gift than that and it will pay dividends well into the future”.

Employing someone isn’t simply adding another staff member to the team, and is about helping to free up the burden on teaching staff so they can concentrate on what they do best – teaching.

“It is not just another person, it is the freedom that provides for teachers.”

For the school’s 120 kids, it’s also about providing them with more opportunities and “filling their bucket”.

While funding a staff member isn’t something the Trust has traditionally done, chairman Stewart Edward says it shows the flexibility the Trust has to work with organisations to truly make a difference.

“We chose to sit down with Mr Chapman and understand the needs of the school. That allowed us to see the real benefit funding this role would make in helping students participate in sports and other activities.

“We are really optimistic that this action will make a difference. Giving students the opportunity to take part in sports also teaches resilience, will have health benefits and nurture sporting talent. Equally, encouraging more children to take part in music opportunities has benefits that extend beyond the class environment.”

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