Celebrating exceptional teaching

Issue: Volume 100, Number 3

Posted: 8 March 2021
Reference #: 1HAHgr

Entries for this year’s Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards are open now until 16 April.

The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards celebrate the work of early learning services, kōhanga reo, schools and kura that are making a big difference not just to learners, but to their whānau and the wider community.

The Ministry of Education’s Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement, Ellen MacGregor-Reid says the awards are a great way to acknowledge those in the education community going above and beyond to ensure the success and achievement of their learners.

“Teachers and kaiako play a such an important role in the lives of all New Zealanders. These awards are about showcasing and celebrating schools, kura, kōhanga reo and early learning services whose work is delivering excellent outcomes for young New Zealanders,” says Ellen.

“We want to hear from education providers who are proud of the difference they are making in the lives of their learners, whānau and local community.”

Four categories

There are four main award categories: Excellence in Engaging, Excellence in Leading, Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Excellence in Wellbeing Education.

The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award is given to the best overall entry from these four categories.

An Education Focus Prize is also up for grabs for an education service that can demonstrate excellence in environmental and sustainability education.

The prize celebrates teaching and learning that empowers children and young people to develop critical thinking skills as they explore the impact that people have on the environment, and encourages them to take action for a sustainable future.

Finalists will be notified in June and the winners will be announced at an award ceremony dinner in September.

Winners will receive a package that includes a trophy, certificate, $20,000 financial award and professional development opportunities.

The winner of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award will receive a package that includes a trophy, certificate, and an additional $30,000 financial award.

To enter or find out more about the awards, visit the Prime Minister’s Excellence Awards website(external link).

Entries are open until 16 April.

Meet a previous winner

Tiaki Early Learning Centre, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, was awarded Excellence in Wellbeing Education at the 2019 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Tiaki Early Learning Centre set out to authentically connect with their local community and its history and culture, so that their children are able to access the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional benefits these connections offer. 

The centre reviewed its vision in consultation with their whānau and local marae, and made connections with their local schools. They wanted their children to benefit by having a strong relationship with the land to enhance their health and wellbeing and that of Papatūānuku. 

The programme includes moving beyond recycling towards zero waste and the provision of plant-based meals, which is supported through the development of vegetable gardens.

The centre, which values place-based education, initiated a Tangata Whenuatanga day in the community involving all the children, and a visit to their marae every week.

The result has been significant growth in the health and wellbeing of the children and the development of a real respect and appreciation of Papatūānuku. The children have gone on to display these characteristics when they start school.

Judges’ feedback

“This early learning service was commended for its close connections with its local marae and the environment. Tiaki ELC demonstrated that the programme is embedded in the centre. The revegetation of the wetland is making a significant difference in the community and enabling children to become active community members.”

“Connections with local primary schools are evident and the development of learning stories make visible the learning from this programme.”

To find out more about the Tiaki ELC programme see the video(external link).

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 2:35 pm, 8 March 2021

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