Overview of the NZ Curriculum

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You have probably heard of the New Zealand Curriculum and even lived through it when you were at school, but things change as things tend to do, so we’ve created this handy overview of the New Zealand Curriculum so that you can support your child’s learning in a way that aligns with their schooling. 


The national curriculum guides schools and teachers as to what children should be learning whilst they are at school. This includes not only learning areas like Maths and English, but also key competencies that will enable children to grow and succeed in life. 

“The vision is for young people to be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.” – Ministry of Education

When planning your child’s learning, teachers will always refer to the New Zealand curriculum in order to ensure that what they are teaching is relevant to the Ministry of Education’s vision and aligned with the key competencies and learning areas.

Learning Areas and Strands 
  • listening, reading and viewing
  • speaking, writing, and presenting
  • dance
  • drama
  • music – sound arts
  • visual arts
  • personal health and physical development
  • movement concepts and motor skills
  • relationships with other people
  • healthy communities and environments
  • communication
  • language knowledge
  • cultural knowledge
  • number and algebra
  • geometry and measurement
  • statistics
  • nature of science
  • living world
  • planet earth and beyond
  • physical world
  • material world
  • identity, culture, and organisation
  • place and environment
  • continuity and change
  • economic world
  • technological practice
  • technological knowledge
  • nature of technology

Key Competencies

  • 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.

Gaining a basic understanding of how the NZ Curriculum is structured, will equip you with the knowledge to choose the right types of learning support for your child. 

If you would like to find out a little (or a lot) more about the NZ Curriculum, please visit http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/