Locally Grounded   ...   Globally Aware  ....Confident  ...  Lifelong Learners

 The tuakana–teina relationship, an integral part of traditional Māori society, provides a model for buddy systems. An older or more expert tuakana helps and guides a younger or less expert teina.

At Pahoia, we value working together and recognise the benefits that such relationships have both on learning and in social interactions. Therefore, when a child transitions into our school, either from a kindergarten or another school, we aim to provide such an environment.

Experience has shown us that the children settle quickly and make solid connections with those around them.

Learning Together


At Pahoia School we work together in innovative learning environments that have teachers working in teams and open learning environments to support the needs of their learners. 

Modern learning practices have developed over the years and we continually reflect on our practice to best support our children to be successful. Technology is integrated into the learning process to be a natural part of the environment.

Vision for Learning


Our vision for the school is ‘To be a community of globally aware and locally grounded, confident, lifelong learners’. We hold a set of values and attributes for our children that unpin the qualities and skills needed to be an effective learner. These key areas influence our planning for learning and the way that we teach and engage with each other.

Being active in our learning is an important value for our community. We recognise that learning never stops and that connections need to be made between the formal learning process and the reality of the world our children live in. Every child brings so much to their own learning and to those around them. Learning from our experiences, successes and mistakes is important.

Without curiosity, risk and the willingness to get things wrong, learning can’t happen. 

We are deliberate in creating a high trust environment where children are enabled to explore, take risks, try new things, test their ideas and stretch their thinking.

Providing a foundation of key literacy and numeracy skills, along with the development of the attributes that make up a lifelong learner are what supports our children in being successful.

The motivation to learn and improve, and a willingness to problem solve and reflect underpins successful people. These are the qualities we are looking to develop as we work together for the success of our children.

The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:


Relating to others

Using language, symbols, and texts

Managing self

Participating and contributing

Our NZ Curriculum places equal importance on these KCs and values as they do on the Learning Areas and Achievement Objectives ensuring “young people will be confident, connected, actively involved, life long learners.” At all times the learners are at the heart of any of our programmes or style of learning that is being used to deliver an effective transitioning from Early Childhood to Primary. It is recognised that ākonga come to school at different developmental stages and have had varying experiences, therefore, it is paramount that we cater for the individual needs of all our learners. Some can self regulate, play with and alongside their peers harmoniously, whilst others need to build on and gain self management skills, resilience and how they can positively relate to others. As children play together, they learn to get along with one another, cooperate, communicate effectively, problem solve and resolve conflicts.

We now also identify that some of our learners are functioning in the pre-operational stages, whilst others are identified as being at the concrete stage, thus, making their next learning steps extremely individual. We offer quality transitioning visits before a new 5 year old begins, enabling us to observe and begin building relationships from the get go, with the child and their whānau. We gain an insight into their individual needs and the difference as to how they are functioning so we can individually plan their initial learning steps. We have adopted and are using a robust programme entitled ‘Ready for Learning’ that focuses on and assesses the five different domains; ‘Seeing, Hearing, Speaking, Moving, and Print.’ Underpinning this programme are the important Key Competencies. The rationale for employing ‘Learning through Play’ is that it is a perfect vehicle to foster and target positive learning dispositions, social and emotional needs, and how ākonga see themselves as learners.

For our whānau we are passionate to equip them to see the learning within Play as well as the value and benefits of Play. To this end, we use the Seesaw platform to share the children's learning activities. This takes time, and is an ongoing commitment. We now know that the ‘learning environment’ is known as the third teacher and can radically help to enhance the ākonga deeper learning. Consequently, our learning environment offers a wide range of different spaces and contexts to foster creativity, problem solving and peer discussions


Pahoia School began our ‘Learning through Play’ journey in the Junior School in 2018. Since that time the concept of ‘Learning through Play’ and what it looks like in the individual pods has changed to meet the needs of the learners and to include the professional development/ new knowledge gained by the Kaiako.

Thanks to the latest research on brain development and PD opportunities with Nathan Wallis, we now know that children are not ready for the more formal model of schooling, simply because they have turned 5 years of age. Play allows children to use their creativity, while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strengths. It is also important for healthy brain development. 

It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. We know that Play, which incorporates all of the Key Competencies (KCs) as well as positive learning dispositions transitions and supports our learners to their next level of learning and helps them become successful learners.