Our Curriculum

Parakai School Curriculum Design 

Our Problem Based – Thinking Curriculum,  builds around real world problems.   We set our children up to build their skills around the 6 C’s:  Character, Citizenship, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. These form building blocks around core learning areas of Literacy, Numeracy and Inquiry. 
Although Wellbeing was always important, it has never been as critical and urgent to teach and develop within our school community as in the present. Parakai School has taken  the lead and been proactive by participating in the Sir John Kirwin ‘Mitey’, evidence based, school wide approach to teaching mental health education which is built around the NZ Curriculum. (https://www.mitey.org.nz/about-mitey/what-is-mitey). 
It seemed  futuristic when people spoke about setting our children up for success in a fast changing world for jobs and lifestyles that we could not predict.  Well, well, well! What did COVID teach us…
  • All children from Year 1  would need to have skills, knowledge and dispositions to learn from home or school and have rigour to manage face to face and distance learning. These have become apparent in recent lockdowns and sickness and back to school learning disruptions. Seamless learning skills will now need to be developed.
  • All children need support to develop Habits of the Mind to become effective in living between their two worlds of face to face and digital space learning. 
The 16 Habits of Mind identified by Costa and Kallick include:
Persisting + Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision + Managing impulsivity + Gathering data through all senses + Listening with understanding and empathy + Creating, imagining, innovating + Thinking flexibly + Responding with wonderment and awe + Thinking about thinking (metacognition) + Taking responsible risks + Striving for accuracy + Finding humour + Questioning and posing problems + Thinking interdependently + Applying past knowledge to new situations + Remaining open to continuous learning. 
  • Cognitive science has taught us that children need three elements to be effective thinkers:  Skills + Motivation ( a real context to implement skills) + Notice when to use the skills. 
  • The Visible Thinking approach and the idea of Thinking Routines support our curriculum delivery. 

Links to help you understand :

Thinking Dispositions: Please click on the link here to know more.
To help you understand how our curriculum comes together, we have shared some of our recent plans under resources. 
Feel welcome to make an appointment with your child’s teacher, the deputy principal or the principal if you would like a discussion on what  curriculum delivery actually looks like at your child’s age and stage of learning.  
Here’s to building GREAT learning relationships while we grow GREAT Citizens

Thinking Routines:

Tikanga and Te Ao Maori

He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata, he tangata he tangata!

We are proud of the links we hold directly with our local iwi Ngati Whatua o Kaipara. We have supports in place that include guidance from the hau kainga and local kaumatua/kuia.  We understand the importance of the whenua where our school is placed and we are committed to learning our local curriculum and histories that pertain to Kaipara Moana and the 5 marae here on Kaipara Ki Te Tonga.

We now have kapahaka inserted back into our kura, and look forward to nourishing this space and enabling all tamariki to take part. We encourage whanaungatanga through our strong Relationship Based Learning programme. Manaakitanga, aroha and matauranga hold a high regard because they sit alongside our school values. 

You can hear tamariki and staff using te reo in everyday settings.  Our vision here at Parakai School is to not only normalise Te Ao Maori, but to use a Maori lens in curriculum planning and delivery throughout our kura.

Empowering our students by using Te Reo daily, students and teachers are able to continue to gain confidence and use Te Reo Maori in everyday settings.


Parakai School is part of the PB4L or Positive Behaviour for Learning initiative. Within this we are intentional in supporting children to develop positive learning habits and how to make positive decisions in managing their behaviour. We use strategies to “notice” children exhibiting and making good choices in taking charge of their behaviour and focusing on giving their best. Within our school you will hear clear guides for children to follow in expected behaviour, lots of positive strategies to reinforce this, and staff intent on noticing our children positively.


Parakai staff have worked alongside the team from kidpower which provides a programme with strategies that gives kids the power to connect and manage daily conflict in a positive way.  Our school use a range of safety signals and small gestures, drawings, and words to help all of us remember important “People Safety” ideas and skills.  These mostly non-verbal cues set our children up for emotional and physical safety.  
Kid power infuses seamlessly as a part of PB4L and Mitey implementations.


Student wellbeing is one of Parakai School’s Strategic Goals.  Read more about our partnership with Mitey, which helps us achieve our goal.
We are delighted to partner with Mitey over the next year to grow and support the mental health and wellbeing of all our students.  
The Sir John Kirwan Foundation has designed Mitey with NZ teachers and the University of Auckland to provide an evidence-based approach to teaching mental health education to primary and intermediate aged children.
It is built around the NZ curriculum and embedded into everyday learning, to ensure children are equipped with the age-appropriate skills and knowledge they need to recognise and respond to mental health issues in both themselves and others before they enter teenage years. 
Mitey has successfully implemented its approach in schools and we are excited to be included. 
A Mitey coach works with staff to develop teaching and learning. This will also ensure Mitey is tailored to our school’s unique culture and community.
Mental health education will be taught by our teachers in every classroom with the skills, knowledge and understanding of mental health woven into what is already being taught.
Parents and the whole school community are an integral part of Mitey’s approach and as with all our learning your engagement and support is a key aspect of educating our students.
Mental health concerns and issues amongst NZ youth have doubled in the past 10 years and we all agree that unhappy students don’t learn.
Youth suicide rates in NZ are among the highest in the world. Partnering with Mitey allows our school to be part of a transformational change for young people by enabling them to nurture their mental health – and that of others – for the rest of their lives.
The following link will take you to Mitey’s homepage www.mitey.org.nz