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Creative Resource All Ready To Go For Schools Next Week

A banner of children playing creatively being used by the Te Rito Toi project.

In response to Covid-19, a project to support primary school teachers with a rich, arts-based resource when they return to school next week has been developed by a team at the University of Auckland.

Led by Professor Peter O’Connor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Te Rito Toi provides detailed lesson plans and classroom activities designed specifically for the changed environment teachers and students now face.

“The resources, which can all be found on one website, are based on years of experience by University of Auckland researchers who have worked in schools post-disaster,” says Professor O’Connor. “They are recommending teachers use an arts and wellbeing approach to engage children in this changed classroom environment.”

New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) president, Liam Rutherford, says educators have a huge role to play in helping tamariki navigate the uncertainty and stress of the Covid-19 crisis over the coming months.

“These beautifully presented resources will be really valuable in supporting that work,” he says. “We know these anxious times have had a deep impact on many children, and these quality curriculum resources will provide teachers with the confidence to safely navigate the issues and concerns that will tumble into classrooms next week.”

The lesson plans include a poetry lesson by former Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, a unit on dealing with anxiety supported by the John Kirwan Foundation and Māori arts resources curated by a bicultural team based in Wellington.

The University of Auckland has partnered with the New Zealand Principals’ Federation, the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) and the Sir John Kirwan Foundation to make sure as many teachers as possible are aware of the resource, which will go live this Friday 24 April at 9am at https://www.teritotoi.org/.

Professor Peter O'Connor from the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland.

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