Our vision and values underpin all aspects of learning at Botany Downs School. We are committed to keeping children engaged through rich curriculum learning programmes which add to their knowledge, and skills. Curriculum integration enables a coherent education, allowing connections to be made within and across subjects and developing the key competencies: Thinking, Using language, symbols and texts, Managing self, Relating to others, and Participating and contributing.
More information about the New Zealand Curriculum can be found here: https://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/
The eight learning areas covered in the New Zealand Curriculum are:
Literacy skills provide the foundation on which all future education and participation in society rest. We value literacy highly, and provide various engaging learning experiences for our students to grow their reading, writing, oral language, critical thinking, and information skills.
Mathematics and Statistics
Mathematics skills are equally important for future life skills, problem solving skills and many different career pathways. Our teachers engage our students to build their mathematics understanding using a variety of resources. In Senior years, maths classes are grouped in levels to ensure students are supported and extended at ther appropriate stage of their learning.
To help develop our students’ understanding of the world around them, we introduce and build on knowledge of the physical, material, and natural world, as well as the world beyond Earth. Using relevant and appropriate resources, children have the opportunity to experience the many exciting aspects of science and nature.
School wide Inquiry topics develop our students understanding of their place in the world, and we encourage understanding of, and appreciation for different cultures. Social Sciences provides connections in knowledge that help students develop their views and values. Recurring topics include: Waitangi Day, ANZAC Day, Matariki, Other Cultures, etc. Current events such as the Olympic Games, national elections or similar offer opportunities for engaging learning.
The Arts offers a way for students to express themselves, and to share their experiences, and personality in a creative way through visual art, music, dance and drama. All classrooms spend time creating artworks using a variety of techniques which are linked to current learning. These artworks are proudly displayed throughout the school enhancing our environment. We are proud to have a specialist Music teacher who develops music skills, and enjoyment of music in weekly classroom sessions. Older students have the opportunity to participate in choir and orchestra groups.
Health and Physical Education
All students benefit from physical activity, both physically and emotionally. Body movement skills help develop learning skills, and playing together helps build important social skills. Each class has regular time-tabled PE sessions where they learn and practice a range of skills, games and sports. Other valuable learning covers health, and personal safety. Annual school events such as cross-country, athletics, and swimming sports day offer more opportunities to participate and have fun.
Students also have the opportunity to join teams to represent our school in inter-school competitions. These teams are coached and managed by teachers.
Our students are taught the importance of living safely and making wise choices for living and eating. Health and well being is promoted through our School Values programme and our planning and programmes ensure a balanced approach to the key learning areas of Mental Health, Food and Nutrition, Body Care and Physical Safety.
We recognise te Reo as one of New Zealand’s official languages and welcome its use in our classrooms. Our students and staff are encouraged to develop their understanding, and use of te reo, and tikanga in all areas of the school.
For our students who do not have English as their home language, we offer support with a specialist ESOL teacher.
Digital technology has opened up countless opportunities for engaging education and we integrate technology in many areas of our learning across the curriculum from creating presentations, to recording learning reflections, to zoom author visits, and more. Alongside using technology, we develop students’ information skills to help them find, understand, and evaluate the information they find online, which are increasingly important skills.
We provide chromebooks for our year 3-6 students and ipad for years 0-2 for learning with digital technologies. All students and parents are required to sign our “Use of Devices Contract” before the use of devices in the classrooms. All clases teach a unit on cyber safety before devices are used.
Cell phones and smart watches discouraged and are only allowed at school with permission from the principal and are to be kept in school bags. If these are brought to school we accept no responsibility for these.
Education Outside the Classroom
Not all learning takes place within the classroom, and school trips and camps offer valuable learning experiences, as well as opportunities to develop social skills. School trips help link class lessons to real life experiences, and adds deep relevance and engagement to curriculum learning.
For Senior students, our school camps (Camp Adair in Year 5, and Camp Bentzon in Year 6) provide new experiences and challenges which extend learning and important social and emotional skills. These camps are a highlight of senior school and are looked forward to and remembered for many years.