What are the hours of the school day?

At The Gardens School we start our learning promptly at 8.50am, so it is important that children are at school in plenty of time to prepare for the day.  We recommend children arrive at school between 8.20 and 8.40am.  Children who require supervision before 8.20 will need to be enrolled in "Before School Care".

The school day is as follows:

8.20am  Students are able to enter school

8.50am  The school day begins

10.40am - 11.05am Morning Tea

12.35pm - 1.25pm Lunchtime

2.50pm - School finishes for the day

What if my child is absent?

If your child is absent from school for any reason, it is vital that you inform the school as early as possible.  You can do this in any of the following ways:

* Complete an absence notification through our Skoolbag App - this will come directly to our office staff

* Phone the office on 09-2690041 and speak to one of our office ladies, or leave a message if you are calling outside school hours

* Send an email to the office reception@thegardens.school.nz to let them know (it also helps if you cc in your child's home-group teacher)

If you do not notify us that your child will be absent, a txt alert will be sent once morning rolls have been completed.  Failure to notify us as to the reason your child is absent may result in your child being marked as "truant" from school.

Rolls are taken twice per day, children who go home during the school day will be marked absent in the afternoon.

If your child has an extended absence for medical reasons, a medical certificate may be requested.

If you wish to take your child out of school during term time for more than a few days e.g., family holiday, overseas trip etc. you will need to speak to the principal in advance.

What if my child is late to school or needs to leave early?

Any children who arrive at school after the 8.50am bell must go straight to the office where they will be signed in at our electronic sign-in desk.  They will be given a late pass which they must then take to their teacher.  They must not go to class first, as rolls will already have been taken and the child will have been marked as absent and you may receive a text message asking where they are, which leads to unnecessary confusion and worry.

If you need to pick up your child early, you must go to the office (not your child's learning space).  The child will be called to the office and they must be signed out before they can leave.  If they are returning e.g., following an appointment, they must be signed back in at the office when they return.  We ask that you phone ahead if you need to collect your child and we strongly discourage collecting children during break times.


How do I contact my child's teacher?

If you need to contact your child's teacher for a non-urgent matter, email is the best option.  All teacher email addresses are available on our staff page.  For urgent matters, contact the office on 09-2690041.

Teachers check emails before and after school.  Parent-Teacher meetings are held during the year, around our reporting times, however parents are welcome to make a time to meet with their child's teacher(s) at any point during the year.  

Due to the collaborative nature of our teaching programmes, your child will work with multiple teachers in the course or the day/week.  If you are not sure which teacher you need to meet with, start with their home-group teacher.  

What happens if my child gets sick during the day?

Our school sick-bay is based at the main office and is managed by our office staff.

Children who become unwell during the school day will be sent to the sick-bay and parents will be phoned if the child needs to be picked up.  It is important that we have current contact information for parents/caregivers as well at least one non-parent emergency contact person.

Personal medication such as asthma inhalers or antihistamine, must be kept in the sick bay.  It is the parent's responsibility to ensure this medication is current and that we are informed promptly of any changes.

Students with high medical/health needs e.g., Epipens for anaphylaxis, will meet with staff during the enrolment process to discuss the specific health needs of the child and an action plan will be put in place, if medically necessary.  Again, it is important that the school is informed promptly of any changes to medication/health needs.

Does my child need to bring a digital device to school?

The Gardens School is BYOiPad, starting in Year 5.  Students in Year 7 and 8 may alternatively bring an Apple Laptop if they wish.  All students and parents must sign the BYOiPad User Agreement.

The Gardens School has proudly been an Apple School since we first opened, in 2002.  Our staff have undertaken significant professional development in the use of Apple devices/apps and the foundation skills taught in Year 0-4 are on iPads and Apple Laptops.  

Our BOT has made a huge investment in ICT infrastructure over the years and our school has a growing relationship with Apple Education (NZ/Australia), who work alongside chosen schools, to ensure staff and students are getting maximum benefit from these devices.

There is no financial incentive for us as a school to choose Apple products for our students.  We have made a conscious decision to invest in Apple technology, as we believe it is the best fit for our students and staff.  

For more information on BYOD, click HERE.


Will my child have homework?

In the early years of school, homework expectations are minimal, generally comprising of reading, Mathletics and either spelling or the learning of high-frequency words.  As children move through the school, homework may comprise other activities, based around literacy/maths or the current topic of study.  By the time children reach the senior and intermediate level, homework is generally the completion of work that has been started at school.  The increased use of digital tools for learning e.g., google classroom, student blogs etc, means there is a seamless transition between learning that happens at school and at home.

All students, regardless of year level, should be reading (or being read to) every night - this can be reading material that has been sent home, or other reading material of their choice.  Mathletics accounts are required for all students in Year 0-4 only.  

Don’t get into a battle with your child over homework as it turns homework into a negative that may last for years. STOP if you find you are battling with them about it and write a note or talk to the teacher about the situation, to try to find a solution.  

Homework serves different purposes at different stages and homework includes talking about your child's day with them.



Make life easy for yourself:

- try having a set time to do homework

- have a set place or desk set up with everything that might be needed

- eat first, homework second.

- if one day is very busy, do extra on another day to fit around out of school activities

- have a quick look at the homework and help your child to plan the week

Is there a Before or After School Care programme?

"Great Times Out of School Care" offer before and after school care for students from The Gardens School.  They also offer holiday programmes.  They are based in the Weka classroom block (not in the main school building) and are easily accessed from the path behind the caretakers shed, or the school field.

For more information, contact Trish Le Prou directly.

Great Times Out of School Care

Trish Le Prou


Can my child bike to school?

With such a small school zone, we strongly encourage students to walk, scooter or bike to school.  

Students from Year 4 - Year 8 may bike to school.  Permission forms are available at the school office and, once returned, students are issued with a "Ride with Pride" wristband which acts as their "license" to ride to school.  Helmets are compulsory and all bikes must be locked to the bike racks during the day.  

We take our advice on a suitable age to ride to school, from the NZ Police.  Students in Year 0 - 3 are welcome to bike to and from school if they are with a parent or caregiver.  

Students in all year levels may scooter to school - a permission form is required (available at the office) and students will be issued with a "Ride with Pride" wristband, when they return their form.

Bike and Scooter permissions are loaded into our school database and will follow the student through until they leave TGS.

Can lunches be purchased at school?

All Lunch orders are made via our Kindo App. 

There are a range of options available and our menu can be found on our homepage.



What sports teams can my child join?

School Sports Teams

From Year 4 onwards, students have the opportunity to trial for school sports teams in numerous codes.  Our school sports coordinator is responsible for these teams and we are often also fortunate to have other experienced coaches work with them.  School teams participate at inter-school events, during school time.  Most trainings occur during lunch-times, or after school, depending on the availability of coaches.  Information about upcoming trials is shared with teachers/students, throughout the year.

Other Sports:

The Gardens Netball Club

The Gardens Netball Club is not connected to The Gardens School, however many of our students do play for the club.  Teams participate in the netball competition held at Bruce Pulman over the winter terms.  Information is made available via our school newsletter, when trials are held each year.

Papakura Junior Touch 

Each year, we have a large number of students from Year 1 - Year 8 participate in the Papakura Junior Touch Competition.  This competition runs outside of school hours and teams are coached and managed by parent volunteers.  We endeavour to find a team for every student who wishes to play.

What are houses?

We have 4 "Houses" at The Gardens School.  Houses are essentially teams which include all students from Year 0-8.   On enrolment, students are placed into one of four houses - Kowahi, Rimu, Tawa, Kauri.  Siblings are placed in the same house.  

Houses are used to promote team-work and house spirit at events during the year.  Students can earn "gold tokens" which act as House Points, these can be for anything from good behaviour, great work in class, showing kindness, picking up rubbish etc.  House Points from tokens and all our sports events during the year are added up each term and again at the end of each year, to find the winning house!  

Students in Year 7/8 are elected as House Captains and there is great house-spirit amongst our students, teachers and even some parents!