When you enter through our school gates, you are immediately greeted by a serene natural environment that is both still and peaceful, yet alive with wonder and learning. At Aurora we understand the importance of re-imaging education, making the switch from memorising content to learning how to learn, is an integral shift that sets us apart. As the world changes, for teachers at Aurora, it is our responsibility to prepare learners for a world of possibilities that is greatly unknown. With this in mind, we redirect our focus from filling children’s heads with information, to equipping them with skills that are relevant and transferable to any content they choose to study in the future.  

At Aurora, learners are encouraged to take ownership of their environments, and of their learning. This can be found in many instances throughout our school, from the way each class creates a list of “Essential Agreements”; to the way they make their calendars, class schedules, and duty list rotations; to allowing learners to select the method in which they present their findings, advocate for what they would like to learn. The language we use with children in our school, the types of questions we pose, and the opportunities teachers create for children to lead their learning as valued experts in their own right, are some of the many ways we work to empower our children and unlock a life-long curiosity and love of learning. These small practices and routines might seem insignificant to the untrained eye, but to our teachers and learners, it is a significant part of what creates a strong sense of belonging, community, and confidence.  


At Aurora International School, the environment is recognised as the third teacher, playing a vital role in shaping the educational experience. Designed with a “home away from home” concept in mind, the school embraces repurposed and natural materials to create a nurturing and inspiring atmosphere. The intentional use of these materials not only promotes sustainability but also enhances the connection between our learners and their surroundings. The thoughtfully designed spaces allow for ample natural light and a smooth flow, creating an inviting and engaging environment conducive to learning and exploration. By considering the environment as a teacher, our school cultivates a space that supports and inspires learners, fostering their curiosity, creativity, and overall well-being. In addition to the carefully designed interior spaces, teachers at Aurora extend the idea of learning beyond the classroom walls, incorporating balconies, terraces, playgrounds, and cross-class collaborations into the educational experience. These opportunities for hands-on exploration, physical activity, and connection with nature, enrich learners’ understanding of the world and encouraging a sense of wonder and curiosity, they come to be firm in their beliefs that learning happens everywhere, as is not confined to the walls of a classroom.  


The short answer is yes! When selecting a National Curriculum that aligns well with the philosophies under-pinned in the Reggio-Emilia experience, we carefully considered the core values that define each curriculum. The New Zealand curriculum aligns well with the Reggio Emilia experience to learning and teaching in the primary years, emphasising a child-centered and holistic educational experience. The New Zealand curriculum places importance on the holistic development of learners, focusing on their well-being, identity, and social interactions. Similarly, the Reggio Emilia experience values the child as an active participant in their learning, promoting exploration, creativity, and collaboration. Both approaches emphasise the role of the environment as a significant element in the learning process, encouraging the use of natural materials and spaces that inspire curiosity and engagement. The New Zealand curriculum’s focus on key competencies, such as thinking, using language, symbols, and texts, and relating to others, aligns with the Reggio Emilia experience’s emphasis on the development of multiple intelligences and the integration of arts and expressive languages. It is through these key focuses that the New Zealand curriculum is not only a strong curriculum in its own right, but that it effortlessly aligns with the values and beliefs of a Reggio-Emilia inspired approach to learning.  


Our curriculum in the Primary school is taught through investigative research, which is an inquiry-based approach, where children share prior knowledge, co-construct new knowledge, and share what they have learned, or demonstrate a new skill they have acquired. At Aurora, our teachers follow the Common Ground Collaborative® standards and learning modules as the foundational framework of learning and teaching. CGC ® is an international company that works alongside inquiry-based schools across the globe to create a varied selection of learning modules, designed to capture the learners’ interests and inspire them to seek out answers.  

The 3 Cs are how we define learning. The learning process is viewed as a continuous spiral as children progress through deeper levels of constructing Conceptual understanding, building Competencies and developing Character. Each module fits within a framework designed around 6 human commonalities: 


The Art of Languages and Literacy

Children make use of language to express feelings and attitudes, negotiate, create and retell stories, communicate information and solve problems. Opportunities are provided for learners to have sustained conversations, have fun with words, use complex language and grammatical structures, and increase their vocabulary. Contextual learning is at the forefront of our teaching strategies. At Aurora, our teachers understand the importance of creating meaningful, relevant learning engagements, where learners can relate new information to the world they already know.  


The Primary English Curriculum covers the following learning strands: 

  • Listening  • Reading • Viewing 
  • Speaking • Writing • Presenting

English is structured around two interconnected strands, each encompassing the oral, written, and visual forms of the language. The strands differentiate between the modes in which students are primarily: 

  • making meaning of ideas or information they receive (listening, reading, and viewing) 
  • creating meaning for themselves or others (speaking, writing, and presenting) 

The achievement objectives within each strand suggest progressions through which most students move as they become more effective oral, written, and visual communicators. Using a set of underpinning processes and strategies, students develop knowledge, skills, and understandings related to: 

  • text purposes and audiences 
  • ideas within language contexts 
  • language features that enhance texts 
  • the structure and organisation of texts 

Learners need to practice making meaning and creating meaning at each level of the curriculum. As they progress, learners use their skills to engage with tasks and texts that are increasingly sophisticated and challenging, and they do this in increasing depth. 

New Zealand Curriculum – April 2023 

Mother-tongue languages

In our Primary school, learners who are first language speakers join their respective language classes weekly with Vietnamese and Japanese speaking teachers, that follow the MOET (for Vietnamese) and MEXT (for Japanese) National Curriculums.  

The curriculum focuses on key learning areas encompassing various language skills, cultural understanding, and communicative competence. Learners engage in listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities to develop their language proficiency. Language immersion and authentic materials are utilised to enhance language acquisition and cultural appreciation. Additionally, cultural studies and literature are integrated to deepen students’ understanding of the rich heritage and traditions associated with the Vietnamese and Japanese languages. Through these approaches, learners at Aurora develop strong language skills along with a deep appreciation for the cultures associated with Vietnamese and Japanese languages. 


Additional language – Spanish

Spanish as an additional language is taught with a focus on immersion, exploration, and hands-on experiences. The teaching methodology encourages active participation and meaningful interactions to foster language acquisition. Authentic materials, such as storybooks, songs, and videos, are utilized to engage students and expose them to the sounds, vocabulary, and cultural aspects of the Spanish language. Collaborative projects and group activities provide opportunities for communication and language practice, promoting social interaction and language development. At Aurora, we value our learners’ interests, curiosity, and self-expression, allowing Spanish language learning to be an organic process that aligns with the child’s own learning journey, and provides them opportunities to develop their communication competencies of this widely spoken language.  

The languages of Maths 

Mathematics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in quantities, space, and time. Statistics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in data. These two disciplines are related but different ways of thinking and of solving problems. Both equip students with effective means for investigating, interpreting, explaining, and making sense of the world in which they live. 

By studying mathematics and statistics, learners develop the ability to think creatively, critically, strategically, and logically. They learn to structure and to organise, to carry out procedures flexibly and accurately, to process and communicate information, and to enjoy intellectual challenge. 

Concepts covered are: 

  • Number and algebra 
  • Geometry and measurement   
  • Statistics 

By learning mathematics and statistics, learners develop other important thinking skills. They learn to create models and predict outcomes, to conjecture, to justify and verify, and to seek patterns and generalisations. They learn to estimate with reasonableness, calculate with precision, and understand when results are precise and when they must be interpreted with uncertainty. Mathematics and statistics have a broad range of practical applications in everyday life, in other learning areas, and in workplaces. As with all learning areas, teachers create opportunities to link mathematical learning to other subjects or areas of study, to reinforce the link to the application of the concepts covered each semester.  

New Zealand Curriculum – April 2023 

The Language of Science

Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence (including observations, investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others) in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding, and explanations. Students are given learning experiences that stimulate curiosity and excitement and develop scientific and investigative skills that are necessary for them to understand their everyday world. 

Nature of science

Through this strand, students learn what science is and how scientists work. They develop the skills, attitudes, and values to build a foundation for understanding the world. 

Living world

The focus of this strand is on living things and how they interact with each other and the environment. Students develop an understanding of the diversity of life and life processes, of where and how life has evolved, of evolution as the link between life processes and ecology, and of the impact of humans on all forms of life. 

Planet earth and beyond

Through learning engagements of this strand, students learn that Earth’s subsystems of geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life) are interdependent and that all are important. They come to appreciate that humans can affect this interdependence in both positive and negative ways. 

Physical world

This strand provides explanations for a wide range of physical phenomena, including light, sound, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, forces, and motion, united by the concept of energy, which is transformed from one form to another without loss. By studying physics, students gain an understanding of interactions between parts of the physical world and of the ways in which they can be represented.   

New Zealand Curriculum – April 2023 

The language of Creative and Performing Arts

The 100 languages, as defined by Loris Malaguzzi, acknowledges that the arts have their own distinct languages that use both verbal and non-verbal conventions. Through movement, sound, and image, the arts transform children’s creative ideas into expressive works that communicate layered meanings. Woven into their inquiry modules, teachers at Aurora create opportunities for learners to meaningfully explore various elements of the arts as a way to interpret new ideas or communicate their understandings.  

Visual Arts

Learners will be introduced to a range of 2D and 3D techniques. They will learn how to acknowledge the work of established artists and allow their own work to be informed by their techniques and concepts. Learners will complete a range of c explorations and develop their own art works, learning to work individually and collaboratively. Learners will develop their ability to visually communicate their own personal, social and cultural experiences through Art. 


Learners at Aurora explore and use dance elements, vocabularies, processes, and technologies to express personal, group, and cultural identities, to convey and interpret artistic ideas, and to strengthen social interaction. Learners develop literacy in dance as they learn about, and develop skills in, performing, choreographing, and responding to a variety of genres from a range of historical and contemporary contexts. 


Drama expresses human experience through a focus on role, action, and tension, played out in time and space. In drama education, students learn to structure these elements and to use dramatic conventions, techniques, and technologies to create imagined worlds. Through purposeful play, both individual and collaborative, they discover how to link imagination, thoughts, and feelings. 


By incorporating elements of music education into class projects, learners work individually and collaboratively to explore the potential of sounds and technologies for creating, interpreting, and representing music ideas. As they think about and explore innovative sound and media, learners have rich opportunities to further their own creative potential. 

New Zealand Curriculum – April 2023 

The language of Well-being – Health & Physical Education

Well-being in school education, particularly in the context of health and physical education, holds immense importance and offers numerous benefits. It recognises the value in educating the whole child, focusing not only on their academic achievements but also on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By weaving aspects of health and physical education into the curriculum, learning modules, and daily school life, at Aurora we promote healthy habits, active lifestyles, and overall wellness. Learners engage in lessons and routines that provide knowledge on nutrition, fitness, and personal hygiene, equipping them with the tools to make informed choices that positively impact their health.  The emphasis on well-being extends beyond the classroom, as healthy practices are encouraged and modelled in daily routines and school environments. This comprehensive approach cultivates positive relationships and a sense of belonging among learners both as individuals and as part of a broader school community. By prioritising well-being throughout the school curriculum and daily life, learners are empowered to lead healthier lives, develop resilience, and establish a foundation for lifelong wellness. 

Four underlying and interdependent concepts are at the heart of this learning area: 

  • Hauora – a Māori philosophy of well-being that includes the dimensions taha wairua, taha hinengaro, taha tinana, and taha whānau, each one influencing and supporting the others. Hauora and well-being, though not synonyms, share much common ground. Taha wairua relates to spiritual well-being; taha hinengaro to mental and emotional well-being; taha tinana to physical well-being; and taha whānau to social well-being. 
  • Attitudes and values – a positive, responsible attitude on the part of learners to their own well-being; respect, care, and concern for other people and the environment; and a sense of social justice. 
  • The socio-ecological perspective – a way of viewing and understanding the interrelationships that exist between the individual, others, and society. 
  • Health promotion – a process that helps to develop and maintain supportive physical and emotional environments and that involves learners in personal and collective action. 

 Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum – April 2023 

 As part of Physical Education at Aurora, learners participate in weekly PE and Swimming classes that are designed to challenge their skills as individuals, as well as how they work together as part of a group. Learners engage in various challenges, games, and specific skill development to improve and sustain their overall physical health and abilities. The main areas of focus for all Physical Education classes are:   

  • Gross- Motor Skills Development 
  • Fine-Motor Skills Development 
  • Team Games (Techniques & Participation) 
  • Swimming Skills Development 


Education outside of the classroom plays a vital role in a well-rounded education, offering unique opportunities and benefits for learners. It provides an experiential learning environment that complements classroom inquiries and supports holistic development. By venturing beyond the classroom walls, learners can engage with real-world scenarios, cultural experiences, and hands-on learning experiences that foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Field trips, outdoor expeditions, and community involvement enable learners to connect theoretical concepts with practical applications, enhancing their understanding and retention of knowledge. Moreover, education outside of the classroom promotes social skills, teamwork, and resilience, as learners navigate new environments and interact with diverse individuals.  


Family involvement is a fundamental aspect of the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach at Aurora School, as it recognises the importance of strong partnerships between families and the wider school community. At Aurora, families are encouraged to actively participate in their child’s learning journey, whether through joining class learning explorations, contributing to projects, or attending whole-school events and celebrations. This involvement creates a sense of belonging and collaboration, fostering a vibrant and inclusive school culture.  

By engaging with their child’s learning experiences, families gain insights into the Reggio Emilia experience and become co-creators of knowledge alongside educators. This shared responsibility nurtures a sense of community, where everyone’s perspectives and contributions are valued, and where the school becomes an extended family. Through ongoing collaboration, communication, and shared experiences, Aurora School creates a culture that supports the holistic development of children.