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Muritai School Conceptual Curriclum


The New Zealand Curriculum provides Muritai School the flexibility to scope, design and shape our school curriculum to suit our students and help them achieve the national vision of becoming confident, connected, actively-involved, life-long learners. 


Effective learning curriculum design brings the NZC and Local Curriculum to life in our schools and kura and supports the classroom to be responsive to the needs of ākonga and students. Our goal is to provide rich learning opportunities for ākonga and responds to ākonga and whānau needs and aspirations, facilitates learning connections and strengthens partnerships. 


The Muritai School Curriculum places our students at the centre and is responsive to the needs of our students and community, to engage and develop lifelong learners. 

Conceptual Curriculum 

A Conceptual Curriculum is an approach to curriculum design that moves away from subject-specific content and instead emphasises “concepts” that span multiple subject areas or disciplines. 


A concept is an idea, a principle or notion that is enduring and is not constrained by a particular origin, subject matter or place in time. Concepts represent ideas that are broad, abstract, timeless and universal. Concepts add depth and rigour in student thinking, rather than a “two-dimensional” curriculum consisting of learning facts. Concepts place no limits on breadth of knowledge or on depth of understanding, and therefore are accessible to every student.

  • Concept based inquiry builds conceptual understanding.

  • Concept based inquiry creates deeper transferable learning inviting students to make connections to current events, local curriculum and helping them see the relevance of their learning.

  • It promotes student agency by inviting learners to construct meaning and articulate their own understanding around the achievement of a concept 

  • A concept based inquiry allows the whole school to be working towards the achievement of a concept, and still allows for opportunities to differentiate learning directions

  • A concept based inquiry approach allows teachers to follow ideas and passion of their learners. 

  • Concept based inquiry is a powerful vehicle for learning that promotes meaning and understanding, and challenges students to engage with significant ideas.


Our Muritai School Concepts have been developed with consultation with our learners, staff and community and are appropriate and relevant for our students; that coverage of the “Concepts” is meeting our student needs. Our Muritai School Concepts are:





Systems or Patterns






Big Idea

We believe that the purpose of all teaching and learning at Muritai School is… To be the best we can be.

Therefore all our planning will evolve from and be based on students knowing and understanding our Concepts and by working towards the achievement of a Big Idea statement. Big ideas evolve from our curriculum needs, student needs and real life opportunities and is a statement that the whole school can work towards achieving. These Big Ideas are dynamic and fluid and can change depending on the outcomes we as a school want to achieve. 


Key Understandings 

Key Understandings are what we want all children to know and understand by the end of the inquiry. These Key Understandings can be differentiated across teams and can be diverse, but still achieve the Concept and Big Idea.  Each team will make an Explore, Connect and Contribute statement that all learning activities will be developed from. These are called Key Understandings.  

Students will have opportunities to follow the school inquiry process of Explore, Connect and Contribute to develop confidence, pursue their personal interests and gain a sense of personal achievement as they become engaged and participate in a wide variety of planned experiences to increase their knowledge and awareness of themselves, their environment and their world and how they fit into it. Our Inquiry process allows each child the freedom to explore what success looks like and can vary in how they achieve the Key Understandings, Big Idea and Concept. Through our Explore, Connect and Contribute Inquiry Process children are taught to be an inquirer and develop a range of capabilities to be successful now and in the future. 



























How this could look 

Concept                            - Relationships 

Big Idea                             - Knowing what is in our Place 

Key Understandings.   - Explore: Explore our Beach to Bush and build an understanding of what is special in the places around us

                                              - Connect: Find ways you can make a positive impact in our spaces from working with local experts

                                              - Contribute: Create community awareness of the importance of our places

We believe it is important that student’s see the relevance of what they are being exposed to; are empowered to make connections with their own experiences and knowledge; make the links within and across the learning areas; and engage with the rich learning opportunities that their local environment provides to gain an understanding of the world in which they live.

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Inquiry in Action

Here is a sample of what our Conceptual Curriculum looks like at Muritai School

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