Almost at the centre of our coastal ward is the New Brighton Catholic School with one of the best learning and recreational backyards of any school in Christchurch or Aotearoa.
Over the fence unfolds the wondrous Rawhiti Domain woodland, and within a short walk is the Alice in Wonderland-like Sensory Garden, and unique covered all-weather stadium where tennis and netball or volleyball can be played.
For science and ecology the class can stroll, and not too much further to the beach or Otakaro-Avon River/estuary.
No bus required.
As part of the New Brighton Resident Association’s drive to feature the very good educational facilities operating in the Coastal zone, Chairperson Celeste Donovan says when looking at the different schools, you soon realise they are quite diverse in some ways and offer an attractive range of choices for parents.
The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions began teaching in New Brighton in 1935, and each day they travelled by bus from their Convent in Ferry Rd where the first Sisters lived.Originally from France they established their first Mission in the Diocese of Christchurch in 1868, meaning they have been here 152 years.
From 1962 to 1992 a group of Sisters lived in the Convent on Lonsdale Street, across the street from the school (now The Pier Lodge). While the nuns may have gone the spirit is still there, and the state integrated school has a roll of over 200 including 20 ethnicities.
Long serving principal Deb Daines says the New Brighton Catholic fosters a family-like atmosphere where every student is known and valued: “These ethics are taught and lived, and high standards of personal integrity encouraged, including a strong cultural and social awareness.”
“We are committed to educational excellence and as a result NBC is well-resourced school with individual chrome-books for students (years 3-8)), alongside laptops and I-pads to enhance the learning environment.
Ms Daines says “this has allowed seamless transition distance online learning in the lockdowns, so pupils don’t miss a beat with projects and stuff each teacher was doing in class.
Deb Daines has built up this aspect over the years to ensure parents have an up-to-date knowledge of what is going on with the school and classes.
On Facebook and the webpage, there is a comprehensive weekly newsletter, and contact links for information or help and guidance of many kinds. Also popular is the ‘Skool Loop’ app designed to meet increased parent-teacher demand for simple communication between staff and families.
NBRA’s Celeste Donovan says New Brighton Catholic is a reflection of where many schools are at in 2021, and Covid-19 has accelerated the movement towards ‘virtual classrooms’ and means when disasters or distance get in the way, no problem with class continuation.