For Amie Roberts, a New Entrants/Year 1 teacher at Owhiro Bay School in Wellington, community means that teachers, parents and families are all working together to support the child in a holistic way, be it social, emotional, developmental or academic. “We’re a team,” she says.
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.