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Learning through sport in schools and kura
Sport NZ is leading an educational project with a difference for schools and kura called ‘In Our Backyard’. In partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Ministry of Education, and four National Sporting Organisations, Yachting New Zealand, New Zealand Cricket, and New Zealand Rugby, New Zealand Football, we are developing new learning opportunities through sport as New Zealand hosts a series of major sporting events over the next few years.

The project complements the Healthy Active Learning initiative, a collaboration between Sport New Zealand and the Ministries of Health and Education to improve the wellbeing of tamariki through healthy eating and drinking and quality physical activity.

In Our Backyard aims to support schools and kura, sporting organisations and local communities to work together in a collaborative way, engaging tamariki in new, different and innovative ways to help them learn through sport. And, in the process create a legacy from hosting major sporting events in our country that has real value for schools, kura and communities beyond the actual events.

Kick-started with a desire for change

In Our Backyard has its beginnings in our shared ambition to ensure quality experiences for our tamariki.

In 2020, a group of National Sporting Organisations, which have major events over the next two years (New Zealand Rugby, Yachting New Zealand, New Zealand Cricket, New Zealand Football) came together with Sport NZ and Physical Education NZ (PENZ) to discuss how we currently do education programmes surrounding major events and consider if we could do things better.

Traditionally education programmes linked to major events sit in isolation from school curricula or marau-ā-kura and rarely lead to opportunities that endure beyond the events. They also tend to be focussed on learning about the sport itself, rather than using sport as a context for a much broader learning opportunity. The group wanted to discover ways to address these issues.

Meanwhile, Yachting New Zealand was already underway with a different approach to engaging with schools and kura during the 36th America’s Cup event held in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, 2020.

In the lead up to the event, the Major Events team at MBIE established an interagency ‘Leverage and Legacy’ group to run projects that leveraged off the America’s Cup and left a legacy for the future. Yachting New Zealand worked with Emirates Team New Zealand and the Ministry of Education to develop and run a school engagement service called Kōkōkaha – Powered by the Wind.

With cricket, rugby and football, all scheduled to run Women’s World Cups over the next two years, Kōkōkaha provided inspiration for further collaboration, learning, and the development of additional school engagement services.

These services can support learning during the excitement of the event taking place – here ‘In Our Backyard’ – and just as importantly, beyond the event taking place, creating enduring value for school and kura and communities.

A work in progress

The four sports are currently developing their engagement services with clusters of teachers and Healthy Active Learning advisers in Tai Tokerau, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Waikato and Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. As they work together to test and pilot the services, you can see the progress being made through the Tākarokaro and Kōrinorino development websites.

These services are expected to be available to schools and kura, alongside the Kōkōkaha service, from the beginning of the 2022 school year.

Service design, curriculum design and quality experiences

In Our Backyard uses ‘service design’ to position schools as the customer of these services and has teachers working alongside clubs in their community to co-design each service. A consistent approach to ‘curriculum design’, that make use of inquiry, problem solving and experimental processes to help solve societal challenges at the community level, is used to structure each service. Within each service, sports are responsible for providing ‘quality experiences’ focussing on the broader value of being physically active and support students to practice kaitiakitanga, establish tūrangawaewae and experience whakapuāwai.

Smiling girl jumps with a skipping rope

Being created for the upcoming cricket, football and rugby women’s World Cups, the Tākarokaro learning module supports ākonga/students in years 5 to 10 to use inquiry, problem solving and experimental process to design activities to help everyone in their community get more active. The Tākarokaro service is being co-designed, tested and piloted with clusters of teachers in Tai Tokerau, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and Waikato.


Fleet of yachts preparing to set sail

Yachting New Zealand’s second of three learning modules, Kōrinorino focuses on the history, science, technology and maths associated with voyaging. Kōrinorino considers the history of settlement of Aotearoa New Zealand at national and local levels with sailing experiences focusing on what it was like for our ancestors to sail to New Zealand. The learning experiences are designed for ākonga/students in years 5 to 10, providing them with the skills and knowledge to retell the history of settlement of their area. The Kōrinorino service is being co-designed, tested and piloted with teachers from the Motu Kairangi Kāhui Ako in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

Tamariki sailing a dinghy

Kōkōkaha is a learning module that focuses on the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) associated with harnessing the wind. The learning experiences are designed for ākonga/students in years 5 to 10, and provide them with the skills and knowledge to design their own technologies to harness the power of the wind.

Kōkōkaha is being used as the model for the development of Tākarokaro and Kōrinorino modules and is already available to schools and kura across Aotearoa New Zealand.

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