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The Centre for Arts and Social Transformation latest research report on how schools managed their return after Covid-19 lockdowns makes it clear that the ‘going back to normal approach’ often recommended for schools after a crisis should be replaced with a focus on wellbeing.
The Centre researched twelve schools who used Te Rito Toi resource as the focus of their return to the classroom after lockdowns. This study found that the resource, supported by the NZ Principals Federation and NZEI, gave teachers the confidence to prioritise wellbeing over other academic goals.
Teachers spoke of how the arts-based approaches gave students and teachers the chance to catch up on relationships rather than on lost learning and to safely explore the issues and concerns children had about the epidemic. The report urges for better training on crises as part of initial teacher education and to actively involve teachers and principals in emergency planning and training.
Philanthropic support has enabled the Centre to revise the Te Rito Toi site so that it can be effectively used after any crisis. The updated site was launched on Friday 2 July at Sylvia Park School by the Honourable Jan Tinetti, Associate Minister of Education. The Minister acknowledged the work the Centre had done in creating the site and spoke about the importance of the arts post crisis from her own experience as a Principal. She said she looks forward to working with the Centre on the recommendations in the report.
The relaunch of the site sees a section on using Pasifika Arts. The classroom lesson plans are the first significant professional development curriculum materials to support the teaching of Pasifika arts in a generation.