The New Zealand Curriculum has 8 learning areas: English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Physical Education and Health, The Arts, Technology and Languages. These are listed below along with an introduction to the rationale for each subject at our school.
Our curriculum develops pupils from the beginnings of reading and writing where knowing the alphabet and knowing numbers is the first step right the way through to the beginnings of the external qualifications years at year 11. Our secondary trained staff teaching in our senior years provide an excellent link to year 11. We have designed and continue to improve a curriculum which is both focused on pupils achieving well in the year they are in, as well as preparing them for the coming years.
We acknowledge our first call as a school is academic learning but we also accept as our mandate the need to develop the whole child in terms of character and purpose and our curriculum is designed to enhance each of these aspects. All we do grows out of our understanding of a biblical Christian world view and our passion to express Christian values and relationship through all we do.
The Curriculum Learning Areas
Good communication is extremely important for us all, especially if we claim to be followers of Christ. We need to be able to understand God’s communication to us. This allows us to distinguish truth from untruth, using the Bible as our foundation to become discerning thinkers. It also equips us to communicate the gospel with each other and the world around us.
For a pupil to live a purposeful life, strong first teaching of the key English concepts is vital. English teachers are essentially literacy teachers, and literacy skills are the essential links between all curriculum areas and all facets of life.
Anyone can communicate ideas, but to communicate them well is an art form – this is what it means to strive for excellence in English. Pupils should therefore be encouraged to take risks and be creative in their communication.
Excellent communication needs to be modelled regularly and accurately – a diverse language-rich environment fosters this. This is not only important for English classrooms, but for every learning environment within our school community.
Mathematics is a coherent, consistent and growing body of concepts which involves the study of patterns in number, space and the interpretation of data. Mathematics provides us with a means of communication which is powerful, logical, concise and unambiguous.
Mathematical language is used by scripture to describe order, quantity and dimension. To actually see and appreciate the presence of mathematics in creation and in the Bible is to see something of God’s glory that is enriching to our faith and teaching. Mathematics is a tool given to humanity so that we may measure God’s intrinsic order. Because Mathematics is only part of God’s creation it cannot show all there is to know, as the Creator is greater than the creation.
Arithmetic (skills in basic operations) is a basic building block in understanding mathematic order. It is vital that pupils are competent in these foundational skills. We see directive, instructional teaching as fundamental in achieving such competence. As God uses mathematics in the concrete context of His universe, we should teach it in the context of creation and human life.
The skills of Mathematics are part of our daily lives, whether in our work, our personal life or recreation. The more Mathematics you can learn, the better prepared you will be for adult life. Mathematics is also an important tool for many other subjects. Understanding what is taught in Mathematics will make many other subjects easier to understand.
Through the study of Mathematics, pupils should:
- Develop a sense of wonder at the nature of God as they become aware of the order, precision, design and constancy of creation through seeing patterns and relationships.
- Develop an understanding of principles underlying the structure of mathematics, to nurture confidence in their own mathematical ability, to foster a sense of personal achievement, and to encourage a continuing and creative interest in mathematics.
- Develop the skills, concepts, understandings, and attitudes which will enable them to cope confidently with the mathematics of everyday life and with the continual study of mathematics and/or other learning areas where mathematical concepts are utilised.
- Develop a variety of approaches to solving problems involving mathematics, and to develop the ability to think and reason logically.
- Achieve the mathematical and statistical literacy needed in a society which is technologically oriented and information rich.
Science is about exploring and discovering God’s creation.
Science is significant for every pupil as it reveals the majesty and authority of God in the creation all around them. It enables pupils to explore and discover the world around them and how things work. Learning in science leads to understanding and also a realisation of how much we don’t understand. It points to the interrelationships / interdependence of components of the world around us. It has the potential/aim to lead to awe and wonder at the complexity, the vastness, the minuteness - the paradoxes in creation.
We strive to develop a maturing biblical understanding of our place within creation and our responsibility within it (stewardship). A growing knowledge of the world and our ability within it will lead pupils to consider real ethical choices. Our science programme will provide a platform for pupils to explore the impact of human choice on the world we live in.
Our science programme will expose pupils to varied world views in science including those of our multi cultural community. It honours the uniqueness of cultures in the understanding of our world and beyond. It acknowledges the standing and influence of Maori in New Zealand. Our filter will be our biblical world view with the purpose of leading pupils to be critical thinkers and make discerning choices.
Science is about generating ideas, testing, exploring, discovering, discussing, recording and making conclusions. Our science programme will lead pupils to see how God is over all things and, therefore, that they are challenged to make a positive impact in the world around them as an outworking of knowledge and faith.
Science is a practical, hands on exploration of creation and moves from the concrete to the abstract.
Social Science is about society, how it operates and how people participate in it.
Social Science is significant for every pupil in their every-day participation as citizens and members of their communities. In Social Sciences courses, pupils will engage critically with issues about society and gain knowledge, skills and experience to understand, contribute to and participate in the communities in which they live and work.
As teachers of the Social Sciences, we believe that the Lord our God has gifted creation to all of mankind. Pupils learn about God’s world and how humans have responded to God’s mandate to take care of the earth. He has placed the earth and its environment under our care and guardianship / kaitiakitanga. With this comes the responsibility of guardianship / kaitiakitanga. The Social Sciences offer a unique opportunity for teachers to develop this sense of responsibility in our students.
The Social Sciences also offers the opportunity to examine how people have interacted throughout the course of history. God created an incredible variety of cultures, each with a part to play in the life of our world.
The Social Sciences should make pupils and teachers look at, and think about, human behaviour realistically, objectively and with sensitivity. The Social Sciences at Aidanfield Christian School seek to promote two of the relationships that God has established for man:
a. Man’s interaction with the Earth and his surrounding environment.
b. Man’s interaction with mankind.
Physical Education and Health
The heart of Health and Physical Education at our school is a focus on God, rather than on man. Our overall aim is to teach pupils to think of God first, others second and themselves last. The outworking of this philosophy should be genuinely positive involvement and participation in our communities, whether that be through involvement in a team, supporting people in the community, achieving personal goals, caring for the environment or social action.
Well-being (hauora) is an essential concept in this learning area. True well-being begins with acceptance of the ideas that man is created in God’s image and that our relationship with Him is paramount. We must recognise that we are knitted together by God. He gave us a function and a purpose and an eternity - this is made clear in His word. Spiritual awareness and growth is the key contributor to the development of an individual. Well-being involves understanding the factors that influence the health of others and us. It involves learning how our bodies work, and how to make the most of them, recognising that they are a gift from God.
From this foundational understanding of what well-being really is pupils can develop truly healthy attitudes that concentrate on the individual’s right to contribute to, support and shape their community. Respect, care and concern for other people come from that understanding that men are all created in God’s own image. The attitudes developed in our pupils today will and should affect future generations.
Attitudes drive actions. We expect the actions of our pupils to be altruistic, powered by a selfless attitude towards the development of their God-given talents. God made every part of our body, and He expects our communities to work together like a body. We desire to see pupils become determined to promote health in the community through making choices that do not revolve around themselves, but around service to God and others.
The Arts (music, visual art, dance, drama)
God is the creator of all things. All people have been created in God’s own image which means we have been created with the ability to express ourselves by creating and recreating through many art forms. We all have these abilities, to a greater or lesser degree. Discovering these may be a life long journey. By participating in the arts we reflect the very nature of God within us. At Aidanfield Christian School, expressions in the Arts is an expression of praise back to God.
The Aidanfield Christian School Arts programme is designed to be a reflection of biblical practise.
As stated in the New Zealand curriculum, studying the Arts explores, challenges, affirms and celebrates unique artistic expressions of self, community and culture. The Arts can create emotions within us and this enhances our capacity to think, feel and love. We are able to appreciate the work of others in various forms. At Aidanfield Christian School, we celebrate different artistic forms while taking all expression captive to the authority of scripture. We encourage artistic discernment based on our scriptural foundations and this should be seen as liberating rather than restrictive.
The Arts encourages and allows those who struggle with formal structures of expression to articulate themselves through artistic form. The Arts are a means for some pupils to discover alternative ways to express themselves, their thoughts, talents, feelings, and responses to God and the world. Appreciating and reflecting on other peoples art can be a form of worship. As an example, listening to God-honouring music allows one to enter into an aspect of worship as much as singing the song. The same can be said for dance, visual arts and drama.
Talents in the Arts often rest dormant in individuals and grow in a person at different points in their lives. At Aidanfield Christian School we want to see these seeds watered over time. While pupils grow through different periods in their life, the expression through the Arts is a means of expressing to God and others these differing feelings, frustrations and joys.
Participation in the arts exposes us to a variety of disciplines and commitments over a long period of time. This teaches self discipline and both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
For every discipline there needs to be an intentional and authentic learning opportunity.
Aidanfield Christian School encourages pupils to develop a Biblical Christian understanding of Technology. Through the purposeful application of knowledge, experience and skills they will be creative and use tools, resources and systems through authentic learning opportunities. This understanding should enable students to act responsibly and effectively in responding to demands of an increasingly technological world.
All creative processes and knowledge began and came from God. The characteristics of “Godly Technology” are embedded in the creative acts of God: Design, Order and Purpose. Technology is man’s application of God’s given resources and knowledge to create processes and products that meet specific needs. Man’s responsibility is to generate and apply technology in God honouring ways.
Pupils will learn how technology has influenced the lives of people of different cultures, backgrounds and times and how people have developed and used technologies. We need to challenge children’s thinking in technology in the light of the past and encourage children to have the mind of Christ. Technology is not just a subject but impinges on how to think through a process. Pupils are encouraged to think critically, while learning practical skills that can be used in everyday life. This will include ‘failure analysis’, recognising the value of alternative and unexpected outcomes.
Technology is becoming a powerful entity in our society and needs to be used with discernment. We cannot do anything in technology that does not impact on others. Technology is never static. It is influenced by and in turn impacts on the spiritual, cultural, ethical, environmental, political, and economic conditions of the day.
At Aidanfield Christian School we teach Maori language and culture from year 1 and we introduce language learning in the senior years at our school. At present, the language is French and all year 9 and 10 pupils study this for a year.