At Newlands College, we are striving to empower our students so that they are at the centre of their own learning and develop into successful, lifelong learners.
Wā Ako was first introduced in 2017. It is a weekly session in our student's timetable which brings our school vision to life and in turn, reinforces the key competencies outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum. It is time which allows students to be active participants in their own learning. The programme alters for each year level to meet their differing needs.
All students come to us with a diverse range of skills and strengths. We aim to nurture those skills and strengths so that our students develop into local and global citizens who are empowered to make a difference.
Wā Ako allows time for learning, it is reciprocal learning where both the Wā Ako leaders and students learn together and from each other. The year in Wā Ako, begins with two important concepts; Me Whakamatau and whānaungatanga. We focus on our identity and our values as a school as well as developing positive relationships within the Wā Ako groups. Goals for the year are written and students are encouraged to reflect and evaluate these throughout the year. Learning strategies are introduced to help students have success with their goals.
Within the programme, all students have the opportunity to undertake a personal challenge, identify and solve a problem, or engage in school/community service in project-based learning which we call Active Learning. Students have complete agency and the inquiry process is used to help structure this learning experience. This reflects mātauranga and akoranga; students gaining knowledge, being inquisitive, innovative and reflective in their learning. Active Learning allows for a more holistic approach to learning. We showcase this learning early in Term 3.
The programme also seeks to develop important life skills as we equip students for their future. We want them to be flexible in their thinking, to show initiative, to think critically, be resilient, as well as being future focused.
Wā ko provides the opportunity to develop our students’ level of confidence, creativity and connection in a meaningful, authentic way. It sets a platform where students have agency over their learning and will evolve into successful, lifelong learners.