More than a quarter of New Zealand schools have fewer than 100 students. They are often rural and remote, with minimal infrastructure and fragile economies. For teachers in these places, the challenges are high. How can they provide a rich, varied curriculum with only one or two teachers? How can their students gain meaningful connections with the wider world and overcome their isolation? Ako spoke with teachers who are grappling with these questions and finding solutions through online communities.
The interplay between a school and its community is complex and rich with potential – for personal connection, professional support and building capability. A range of schools throughout the country illustrate the myriad ways – and reasons why – school communities come together.
The importance of whānau and community doesn’t lessen just because a child starts school, but it can be hard for educators to maintain these strong connections once a child leaves early childhood education. Jane Blaikie and Jane Arthur talk to educators across the country about the challenges they face when trying to build bridges between the child and their community.
One of the most important things for children with additional needs to be able to access the curricula and to thrive at school is having huge support behind them. That includes from the school and whānau communities and from school leaders, support staff, teachers and itinerant staff.