New Zealand has a national curriculum that guides what your child learns at school. Your child will develop a range of values and key competencies, or capabilities, that they need to succeed in life. These are all woven into the teaching of learning areas, or subjects.
The National Curriculum is the term used to refer to The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. These set the direction for student learning and guide schools and kura as they design and implement a curriculum that meets the needs of their students.
There is a big focus on reading, writing and maths in the primary years, as these are really important foundation skills that everyone needs in order to be able to do well in life. Children need strong reading, writing and maths skills to progress through the levels of the National Curriculum and be able to achieve NCEA Level 2 or above at secondary school.
The New Zealand Curriculum is taught in all English-medium schools (where teaching is in English). This includes state and state-integrated schools.
It has an holistic view of the abilities and skills we want children to gain and includes:
an overall vision
learning areas (or subject areas).
It is guided by a set of principles that are used by schools in their decision making and curriculum planning. The principles are high expectations, Treaty of Waitangi, cultural diversity, inclusion, learning to learn, community engagement, coherence and future focus.
The vision is for young people to be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.
Students are encouraged to value:
excellence, by aiming high and by persevering in the face of difficulties
innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, by thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively
diversity, as found in our different cultures, languages, and heritages
equity, through fairness and social justice
community and participation for the common good
ecological sustainability, which includes care for the environment
integrity, which involves being honest, responsible, and accountable and acting ethically, and
to respect themselves, others and human rights.
Competencies are abilities and capabilities that people use to live, learn, work and contribute as active members of their communities.
The New Zealand Curriculum identifies 5 key competencies that it has a focus on children developing throughout their time at school:
Thinking - is about using thinking processes to make sense of information, experiences and ideas.
Using language, symbols, and texts - working with, being able to understand, and making sense of the codes (languages and symbols) in which knowledge is expressed.
Managing self - having self-motivation, a "can-do" attitude, and seeing oneself as a capable learner.
Relating to others - is about interacting effectively with a range of different people in a range of different situations, including things like being able to listen well, recognise different points of view, and share ideas.
Participating and contributing - being involved in communities, such as family, whānau, school, and be able to contribute and make connections with other people.
There are 8 learning areas (or subject areas) in The New Zealand Curriculum:
health and physical education
mathematics and statistics
The values and competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum are woven into these learning areas. They are designed to encourage enjoyment of learning and the ability to think critically, manage oneself, set goals, overcome obstacles and get along with others – the attributes students need to succeed as adults.
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