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Nelson Central School

Nelson Central School joined the collaborative Human Rights in Education (HRiE) Initiative in late 2008 and began looking at their school curriculum in 2009 with the following New Zealand Curriculum elements in mind:

  • ‘respect for self, others and human rights’ – and related values of respect for diversity, equity, and community and participation for the common good – to be encouraged, modelled, and explored by students (NZC p10),
  • ‘Students will gain knowledge, skills and experience to...understand how people define and seek human rights’ (NZC level 5 social sciences achievement objective)


Nelson Central Staff members workshop their ideas for human rights-based education in January 2009

In its first year as a Human Rights in Education partner the school brought ‘human rights’ into its well-developed inquiry learning process, as part of its 2009 school theme of ‘Citizenship is everyone’s business’.

In 2010 the school is looking at how ‘human rights and responsibilities’ can be an integrating framework, creating greater coherence in overall school programme and deepening human rights learning. Work is currently being done, for example, on basing the school’s Social Skills programme more explicitly on human rights to strengthen the explicit human rights culture of the school.

Joining Human Rights in Education
Paul Potaka, Principal, explains how Nelson Central set about making HRiE an integral part of the school culture. More

Developing class agreements
Many New Zealand teachers start the year with classroom contracts, but the difference in HRiE schools is the explicit linkage to the internationally-agreed rights young people have. At Nelson Central Primary teacher Helen Zachariassen undertook this task with early success. More

Developing citizenship
In 2009 Nelson Central School showed how applying a human rights and responsibilities lens to the curriculum can enable children to develop as local and global citizens.
•    Five year olds made school a better place for children with disabilities
•    7-8 year olds learned to appreciate what they have and enlisted help for children in Sierra Leone
•    School democracy was reviewed by 9-10 year olds  More

“We’ve got these children from 5 years to 11 years…we have to ask ourselves how are we going to make it different and meaningful for them? We like to focus on Big Ideas. They really matter because those are the things that will change kids’ lives. Human rights are hard to refute. We’re going to just get on and do it.”

Principal Paul Potaka

Last Updated (Thursday, 21 October 2010 19:41)