Curriculum Structure

Mission Heights Primary School is a 21st century learning environment where all students will experience valuable and exciting learning opportunities both in and beyond the school, and where they will become confident, active, reflective and high-achieving independent learners. The school is characterised by an ethic of care, and our culture will emphasise a positive, safe and supportive environment where lifelong learning will be successfully fostered.

We strongly believe that high expectations set from the early years of schooling ensure that students are active in their own learning throughout life.  Students need to understand how they learn best, and to develop their own identities as learners and as member of the community. The New Zealand Curriculum and its Values, Principles, Key Competencies and Learning Areas underpin all learning, teaching and assessment at Mission Heights Primary School.  With a deliberate focus on literacy, numeracy and essential research and knowledge skills, students at Mission Heights Primary School (Mission Heights Primary School) will learn to direct and shape their own learning from an early age.

The following principles underpin the Mission Heights Primary School curriculum. Mission Heights Primary School provides a learning environment where;

  • all students are engaged in challenging, appropriate and meaningful work;
  • all students experience effective teaching;
  • key curriculum learning opportunities are embedded in the class programme;
  • students can explore their interests and curiosities as well as master basic skills in literacy and numeracy;
  • hands-on and authentic learning experiences are integrated;
  • te reo me ona tikanga Maori are integrated in meaningful and appropriate ways;
  • effective assessment tools and strategies are used to co-construct learning;
  • students and staff engage and identify with positive learning communities;
  • teaching is reflective, effective and research-based;
  • learning is supported by meaningful professional development and relationships within a robust culture and climate of high trust; and
  • appropriate services and resources are accessible to staff and students to support ongoing learning and the pursuit of excellence.

At Mission Heights Primary School we are  actively committed to the ongoing process of improving students learning outcomes, enhancing the quality of teaching and learning, monitoring and evaluating teaching and learning practices and outcomes, using engaging and innovative learning strategies and technologies, and spending significant time and effort in fostering students achievement.

From the New Zealand Curriculum to the Mission Heights Primary – School Curriculum

The Mission Heights Primary School curriculum gives effect to the New Zealand curriculum by addressing the particular needs, interests and circumstances of the school’s community and students.  It describes how Mission Heights Primary School will deliver the curriculum, how students’ learning needs will be met, and how students’ achievement will be monitored and assessed.  The Mission Heights Primary School curriculum builds on effective pedagogy in the primary school years, and an integrated curriculum. The Mission Heights Primary School integrated curriculum makes connections across disciplines, to real life and authentic contexts through connections that are both skill-based and/or knowledge-based.

The Principles

The principles of the New Zealand curriculum underpin our school’s curriculum.  The following table links the principles of the Mission Heights Primary School curriculum to the New Zealand Curriculum Principles.

Mission Heights Primary School Curriculum Principles New Zealand Curriculum Principles
all students are engaged in challenging, appropriate and meaningful work High expectations
Treaty of Waitangi
Cultural diversity
Inclusion
Learning to learn
Community engagement
Coherence
Future focus
all students experience effective teaching High expectations
Treaty of Waitangi
Cultural diversity
Inclusion
Learning to learn
Coherence
Future focus
key curriculum learning opportunities are embedded in the class programme High expectations
Learning to learn
Coherence
Future focus
students can explore their interests and curiosities as well as master basic skills in literacy and numeracy Learning to learn
Community engagement
Coherence
Future focus
hands-on and authentic learning experiences are integrated Learning to learn
Community engagement
Coherence
Future focus
te reo me ona tikanga Maori are integrated in meaningful and appropriate ways Treaty of Waitangi
Cultural diversity
Community engagement
Future focus
effective assessment tools and strategies are used to co-construct learning High expectations
Learning to learn
Coherence
Future focus
students and staff engage and identify with positive learning communities Learning to learn
Treaty of Waitangi
Community engagement
Future focus
teaching is reflective, effective and research-based High expectations
Coherence
Future focus
learning is supported by meaningful professional development and relationships within a robust culture and climate of high trust Treaty of Waitangi
Cultural diversity
Learning to learn
Future focus
services and resources are accessible to support ongoing learning and the pursuit of excellence High expectations
Learning to learn
Coherence
Future focus

Learning in the 21st Century

Mission Heights Primary School curriculum is aimed at meeting the needs of its new and growing community, which will continue to become increasingly diverse, where technology and its use will continue to increase and where students will need to be prepared for the ever-changing and complex world of the future.  Learning is no longer just about the teaching of facts and ‘content’. It is about acquiring learning capabilities and learning strategies.

Our interpretation of learning in the 21st century is that we must provide opportunities where students can achieve to the best of their ability across all dimensions of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values.  Learners at our school are self-directed, creative and enthusiastic.

The use of innovative technologies and flexible learning facilities, along with our vision of collaboration with Mission Heights Junior College, contributes to the provision of a 21st century learning environment.  The physical design of Mission Heights Primary School supports the intensive use of digital technologies, as well as fostering a culture of collaboration, visual connectedness,  flexibility, openness and interaction.

An Integrated Approach

Integration is about unification of learning and experiences that are relevant to students interests from a range of subject areas. A popular way to integrate the curriculum is to address a topic or theme through the lenses of several different subject areas and skills.  Integrating reading, writing, and oral communication in literacy is a common example, as is the teaching of Social Science, Science and Technology through a theme in most schools. Often three or more subject areas are involved in the study over several weeks’ and the whole school/ learning community may be involved.

At Mission Heights Primary School using integrated approaches to teaching and learning is about seeking the most effective ways to engage students through effective cross-curricular design and planning strategies with authentic assessment practices.  Implementing an integrated approach at Mission Heights Primary School is about using information technologies effectively, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary skills and knowledge into the curriculum, rather than adapting the curriculum.

In the Mission Heights Primary School integrated approach of the six step planning model, the students’ prior knowledge and skills form the starting point for new learning.  Students are able to see how knowledge, skills and values are connected and their learning is not so constrained by the boundaries of subject areas.  Students have an important role in deciding on contexts that interest them in order to make learning more relevant, authentic, interesting and personally worthwhile for them.  The integrated approach incorporates literacy and numeracy learning wherever appropriate and allows teachers to easily include such components as inquiry, information technologies and thinking skills.

Personalised learning

Mission Heights Primary School has a commitment to personalised learning across the curriculum and views this approach as integral to the provision of learning and teaching in the 21st century.  Personalising learning involves thinking about knowledge as an active process where students are knowledgeable and active participants in their own learning. Personalised learning is more than ‘individualised’ learning or ‘child-centred’ learning although these aspects are still important; it is about putting students at the centre of the learning process and empowering them to make decisions about their learning and to understand the learning process.

At Mission Heights Primary School, personalised learning is achieved through;

  • effective teaching that utilises a variety of techniques and approaches, is informed by research and developed through professional development
  • assessment for learning, giving teachers an in-depth knowledge of the future learning needs of their students, and where students know what they have learnt and where they need to go next with their learning
  • high expectations, where students are constantly challenged to achieve to the best of their ability and to take control of their own learning
  • engaging and challenging curriculum, allowing teachers to deliver a programme that is relevant to their students and that integrates digital technologies and other resources
  • a strong engaged community, where the diversity found across families is valued and used as a learning resource, and where parents and whanau are involved in the learning process wherever possible