Transitioning with Te Rito Toi: Arts Return to School

Classroom resources

Posted: 28 August 2020
Notice reference #: 1HAAPi

A return to community transmission of COVID-19 in New Zealand has meant a heightening of emotional responses within families. Children easily sense their parents’ emotional state and many will find classrooms reopening next week a particularly difficult time. Teachers and principals will once again need to meet the mental health needs of children as they return to school.

NZEI, the NZ Principals’ Federation, the Sir John Kirwan Foundation and The University of Auckland Centre for Arts and Social Transformation are renewing their call for schools to support students wellbeing through the use of the arts-based resource Te Rito Toi.

Professor Peter O’Connor from the University of Auckland says:

“International evidence is clear that a focus on wellbeing is the quickest and most effective way to re-engage children with learning following or during crisis. Teachers will need to acknowledge the uncertainty and worries that many children will bring back to school.”

Te Rito Toi provided teachers with expert advice and support after the first COVID-19 school closures. Preliminary research into the use of Te Rito Toi after the first lockdown shows very high levels of use by teachers and a focus on arts making was the priority for many schools as they navigated the emotional roller coaster of the last months. 


For your creative work to be included in the launch of the online gallery please share by Tuesday, 15 September. 

The Te Rito Toi team are building an online gallery to exhibit the outstanding work created by students and their teachers.

The Te Rito Toi online gallery hopes to provide a space to celebrate the possibility and beauty of the arts to re-engage students with the wonder of learning.

To share work please contact Christa Napier-Robertson at: or visit