New Zealand boys participate in all the same activities school boys do around the world. New Zealand school children like school children in other countries have different ways of getting to school. Most primary school children walk to school. The exception is the children in rural areas where bus routes were developed. There are of course academic classes, art, computers, dramatics, music, science, sport, and a wide range of extra-curricular activities. The boys here are enjoying chess, a popular activity at a number of schools (figure 1). Sport is especially important at New Zealand schools. It is not just the top atheletes in New Zealand that enjoy sport, but most schools have active intra-mural sports programs. Camping is also important and many schools have active camping programs that support various asoects of the school program. While there are extensive sports program, New Zealand schools also offer a wide variety of other activities. Boys are especially interested in sports. There are a range of gender preferences as to other activities.
New Zealand school children like school children in other countries have different ways of getting to school. Most primary school children walk to school. The exception is the children in rural areas where bus routes were developed, we think after World war I in the 1920s. Even so, some children lived in such remote areas that they had to board. This was a little more complicated for secondary schools. Children that did not live near the school used bikes or public transport. Bicycles were particularly popular in New Zealand, although with rising traffic levels, this has declined somewhat--especially for primary children. Again some children in remote areas had to board. This was a major reason for boarding in New Zealand. Some attended private schools, but many state secondary schools set up boarding houses as well. This was important not only because of distance, but the need for secondary students to stay after hours to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities. Improvements in transport and the opening of more secondary schools meant that more rural children could take the bus to get to school. New Zealand opened a number full term schools (combined primaries and secondaries) to reduce the need for long bus routes. We note an innovation for primary children in recent years--the walking bus.
Academic classrooms in New Zealand are very similar to thise in North America and Western Europe. They perhaps tend to be a little more modern because most schools now in operation have been built since Wotld War II. This reflects the country's prosperity since the War as well as a desire to have earthquake resistant school buildings. We note airy classrooms with lots of windows. The classrooms are generally well equipped with modern classrrom furniture and teaching equipment. The classrooms are generally organized with a teacher's desk at the front. The children have desks ahd chairs which are easily moved and thus can be arranged in a number of different ways. This varies with the teacher's preferences and the type of lesson. Some teachers organize small group activities, especially in primary schools. Secondary schools tend to be more formal classroom arangements with the teacher at the front directing the class. There are special classes for specific topics like science and foreign languages as wll as non-academic subjects. Here school size is a factor in the special classroom facilituies. This is most common at the secondary schools, but some larger primary schools have special facilities as well. On nice days some teachers may take the children outsoors for a class. Some schools may have facilities for such outdoor class sessions.
Modern New Zealand schools have important fine arts programs. The programs vary as to the school level and type of school. There have also been been major changes over time. Here New Zealand schools have been strongly influenced by trends in British schools. Since World War II, New Zealand schools have greatly expanded the fine arts programs giving much greater attention to them. Before the War there was a major foicus on sports and the fine arts were often neglected. Art was always a subject covered to some extent, but has been substantially expanded. Music was not a subject that was given much attentioin at most schools before the War, but this has also changed. Many schools now have vibrant music programs, including both choral and instrumental music. Some schools have very sophisticated music centers with recording equipment. Dance is only a minor orogram, although some schools have dance programs--mostly for the girls. Theatricals is a different matter. Here the British roots of New Zealand education show. Many schools have drama programs. These are strongest in secondary schools and private schools.
Developing reading skills are of course a major goal of the schools. Actual reading does take place at school, especially primary school. By secondary school the program involves doing most of thecvassigned reading and researching at home. Until after World War II, few schools had very extensive libraries. Thus the children relied on the public libraries for finding interesting books and resesrching. There were often close connections between the schools and libraries. Reading was also an important recreational ctivirt for the children tht teachers and parents had sucessfully interested in reading. This was especially true in the forst half of the 20th century when there were a limited range of activities competing for children's time. Beginning in the 1960s, New Zealand schools have given much more emphasis on building string school libraries.
Sport is especially important at New Zealand schools. The mild climate permits sports to be played outdoors
around the year. And the British colonial tradituions brought sports to New England with the first immigrants. And the New Zealand educational system was founded by British teachers. New Zealand it obe of the counries in the world most interested in sports. The most popular sport is Rugby. Mew Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where siccer is not the most popular sport. While Rugby is particularly important. New Zealanders enjoy a wide range of sports. And unlike the European countries, the schools play a major role in New Zealand sports.
Here the pattern is different than in America. There are matches between schools, but these are much less hyoed than in America. You do not see impressive school stadums for football games. It is not just the top atheletes in New Zealand that enjoy sport, but most schools have active intra-mural sports programs. Thus there are multiple teams for the major sports, giving any one interested tge opportunity to enjoy the sport. Schools have a wide range of sports facilities and grounds, but the focus is not on the top atheletes as in Anerica.
The haka is a traditional dance form practiced by South Pacific islander, most notably the Māori people of of New Zealand. It is best known outside New Zealand because it was adopted by rugby team for team displays--especially the All Blacks. The haka is categorized as a group posture dance, characterized by vigorous, styilized movements, stamping the feet, facial displays, and rhythmically shouting. The rugby haka are in the form of the war haka. There are, however, other types. Haka are not limited to war displays or exclusively male dances. There are haka performed by women and mixed groups. And since World War II, children have begun ding haka displys, most commonly school groups. They were initially a Maori dance, but in recent years have become a wider national display. They are now many reasons for staging the haka. They are often dine for fun, demonstrate Atletic prowess, and welcoming important visitors, or to honor major achievements. Schools for examole will have a haka group for appropriate occassions. Often each class will practice the haka.
Computers are a relatively new addition to New Zealand schools, as they are at schools in other countries. They are now an important part of the school program, both inside and outside the classroom. There is a notable gender difference here. Boys have taken a much greater interest in computers than girls. At school this is somewhat different. As far as academic uses in school goes there is not such a difference, either in the classroom or the library. It is recreational usages that the difference emerges and perhaps more importantly advanced computer usage such as programming. The great interest of children in computer gaming is largely an activity persued often with great intersity by boys. Computer clubs or courses like programing without immediate academic relevance.
While there are extensive sports program, New Zealand schools also offer a wide variety of other activities. Boys are especially interested in sports. There are a range of gender preferences as to other activities. New Zealand Schools offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities. The boys here are enjoying chess, a popular activity at a number of schools (figure 1).
Camping is also important and many schools have active camping programs that support various aspects of the school program.
New Zealand during the early-20th century enacted a system of socialized medicine financed by the state. The national healt care system had to be reformed in the late-20th century as it and other socialist reforms were driving New Zealand into national bankrupsy. As a result, the system has been changed from a fully public system to one in the government has introduced market reformst and private health insurance to control costs. This has created a mixed public-private system tghat seems to be making health services available to all while cobntrolling costs. Health care is thus avaiable to all New Zealand residents through a mixed private-public system. There is also a private medical system for those who do not want to wait for needed services as is often necessary in the state system or who want services not provided by the state system. The schools play a role cin the health care system. Most children get their medical care from a general practioner, but schools of any size have infirmeries for children if they get vsick at school. There may also be some medical checks at school, but we do not have details. There is free standard dental care for school age children. We believe that there were dental services perfornmed at schools, but as far as we can tell, this is no longer the case. Hopoefully, New Zealand readers can provide us more information.
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