18 March 2019

Dear Parents and Caregivers

We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you how we are dealing with the Christchurch tragedy at school today so that you will know how to react at home tonight.

At our morning meeting we discussed having a uniform response to the event that recognises the children’s various levels of understanding and awareness of the tragedy. It is important that we do provide children with the opportunity to talk about their feelings but we must be careful that we do not create an atmosphere that will increase anxiety.

We have instructed our teachers to open the conversation with their students in an age appropriate way ensuring that we don’t build more concerns around the issues. Teachers are aware that children are not adults and therefore sometimes don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with the feelings that this event may bring up but they will deal with any questions as simply and as honestly as possible. Teachers may also set up methods such as question boxes so that questions can be dealt with on an individual basis rather than larger open forum groups.

We have been advised that it is important that children have the opportunity to talk about the incident if they need to. It is inevitable that there will be playground talk and therefore it is important that we talk to the children so they have an avenue to ask questions and have those questions answered.

It is also important for us to maintain our regular routine and ensure the children know they are in a safe nurturing environment.

We are considering a fundraising mufti day to support the families who have lost loved ones. We will provide more information around this later in the week.

This advice from the Oranga Tamariki site has been helpful in guiding our response. https://www.orangatamariki.govt.nz/caring-for-someone/support-and-training/talking-about-traumatic-events/

Finally, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to anybody who has been directly affected by this tragedy and also to the people of Christchurch who are once again facing adversity. In these times we pull together so please do not hesitate in approaching the school if we can help in any way.

He waka eke noa – We are all in this together

On behalf of the staff of Torbay School,


Gary O’Brien



Torbay School, Deep Creek Road, Torbay, Auckland 0630. Phone: 09 473 8603

Website: torbay.school.nz Email: [email protected]