Connecting with the community

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Rakaia School principal Mark Ellis has been keeping in touch with his school community, one book at a time.

Rakaia School principal Mark Ellis has been a hungry, itchy, and cranky bear over the past few days as he reads stories online to his school community.

Mr Ellis, along with others around the district, have stepped up during Covid-19 restrictions, entertaining captive audiences with the wide reach of the internet.

Businesses, individuals and organisations have taken to social media to keep in touch with their respective communities in entertaining ways.

Ashburton District mayor Neil Brown has again been cooking up a storm in the kitchen, but Mr Ellis has read The Very Itchy Bear, The Very Hungry Bear, The Very Cranky Bear and Ron the Weather Monster on Facebook for the Rakaia School community.

There have also been videos from the senior leadership team, stories from guest speakers, activity and entertainment ideas for parents and caregivers, as well as mental wellness motivations and video blogs.

It’s not the first time Mr Ellis has gone above and beyond.

The last time New Zealand went into lockdown he took on the persona of some colourful characters to keep his pupils engaged.

He not only unveiled a very short home-haircut to them, but took on a whole new persona to entertain; he was international soccer star Patrick Quentin Rafferty who gained his status from being in the Irish Under 13 team. That post was viewed hundreds of times.

“We have been here before and know that lockdown can be a challenging time. We are also aware that many people are trying to juggle work and looking after tamariki,” he said.

“Remember to have realistic expectations for what your bubble can achieve and that this will be different for everyone.

“Spending a small amount of time everyday on the wellbeing of yourself and your family can help get through this,” he said.