About the Approach


Both The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa emphasise a vision for lifelong learners in Aotearoa New Zealand which supports experiential learning outside the classroom.

“If students are to be confident in their own identities, learning should occur in places where that sense of identity is strong and can be developed – and those places are not limited to the classroom or school.

If students are to be connected to the land and environment, they need opportunities to engage in learning beyond the classroom walls.

If students are to be actively involved participants in a range of life contexts and contributors to the well-being of New Zealand (social, cultural, economic, and environmental) they need opportunities to actively participate in those contexts during their schooling.

Schools are not preparing students to be actively involved later or when they are grown up – students are capable of participating actively in a range of contexts, including those beyond the school, now.

This is one of the pathways to becoming lifelong learners.”

From EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the Curriculum Alive, Curriculum Vision (Page 7)


Environmental Education & Education for Sustainability

There is growing awareness of the damage being done to our environment, both globally and locally, through human activity. Often this information comes to us as bad news, focusing on negativity and implying human helplessness in the face of large scale problems. The effect of this dissemination is often to make people “switch off”.

Indeed, human activity has caused a range of complex problems. To begin solving these problems, we need to re-connect with our environment and acknowledge that we are actually a part of it! We humans are at the top of the food chain. Environmental health is the very source of human physical, mental, cultural, spiritual, emotional and economic health and wellbeing.



Environmental Education, Education for Sustainability and Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) are not “subjects” but an underlying kaupapa or approach to learning. The principles of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability encourage and empower us to regain control of our own health and wellbeing through ensuring the health and wellbeing of our environment. They encompass positive, practical, action-oriented approaches; giving students and rangatahi the tools and skills they need to restore environmental damage, make informed decisions and work toward a healthier future.


Beyond the Classroom

The principles of Education Outside the Classroom extend curriculum-based learning beyond the classroom setting, making education accessible and relevant to every learner. When purposefully incorporated within wider educational programmes, at levels appropriate to the needs and capabilities of students, EOTC has the potential to provide sustained challenges which inspire and engage students and rangatahi. EOTC provides learners with opportunities to develop knowledge application skills, perseverance, resilience, decision making, teamwork and self-reliance; all vital contributing elements in personal and societal growth.


Relevant Learning

Environmental Education, Education for Sustainability and Education Outside the Classroom principles can enrich daily living, curriculum objectives, classroom topics and the ways we do things in our schools and homes. A broad educational base provides learners with hands-on opportunities for developing the necessary knowledge, qualities and skills to contribute as individuals and societies in resolving fundamental issues relating to current and future use of world resources. Awareness alone is simply not enough. Emphasis on connectedness, personal initiatives and social participation foster the overall objective of Action Competence; capable, life-long learners who take practical action for environmental sustainability.


What is Action Competence?

The ability and willingness to take action on issues of interest. In practice – students learning about environmental issues; enabling them to plan and take informed action on those issues. Action competence supports the development of the key competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum through the process of taking action.
(Refer TKI website)


For more information on Education for Sustainability and Environmental Education please refer to:

Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools



sitetools empiredesign panpac doc endeavour kiwisforkiwis infinity