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Special issues for each KAL

Mental health

Issues to consider for this key area of learning (KAL) are as follows:

  • The focus is on promoting robust mental health within health education.
  • The various aspects of mental health are closely interrelated.
  • To prevent students receiving confusing or mixed messages, units in which students learn strategies to protect themselves from abuse and harassment should be implemented at a different time from units emphasising positive aspects of sexuality.
  • Students are encouraged to take critical action to support their own mental health and that of others within the school environment. For example, the Curriculum in Action title Making Connections includes an activity in which the students: Identify ways in which their attitudes and values affect the ways in which they work with others; decide how they might make a personal commitment to develop the best possible working relationship with others; identify, develop, and rehearse skills and techniques they might need; keep a reflective diary for two weeks to record changes, successes, or issues; report on connections between their modified attitudes, values, and related behaviours and improvements in their working relationships or in the school's social environment.
  • There is an example of a unit of learning for mental health in the teaching and planning materials section of Health and Physical Education online.

For more information about the mental health key area of learning, see pages 36–7.

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

Sexuality education

Issues to consider with this key area of learning are as follows:

  • Sexuality education covers more than simply sexual and reproductive health. Learning in this key area: encourages students to think critically about their own values and beliefs, and those of others; enables students to develop skills and understanding to enhance their relationships; enables students to examine factors that affect their perceptions of gender and sexual identity (using the socio-ecological perspective).
  • Because of the sensitive nature of sexuality education, schools need to consult fully with their communities about these programmes.
  • Units of work emphasising positive aspects of sexuality should be implemented at a different time from units in which students learn strategies to protect themselves from abuse and harassment.
  • There is an example of a unit of learning for sexuality education in the teaching and planning materials section of Health and Physical Education online.

For more information about the sexuality education key area of learning, see pages 38–9;

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

Food and nutrition

Issues to consider with this key area of learning are as follows:

  • The focus is on learning about people's nutritional needs and developing the skills to meet them.
  • The curriculum states (on page 40): "It is expected that all students will have had practical cooking experiences by the end of year 8".
  • When students complete food and nutrition units of work (based on Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) before starting food technology units (based on Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum), they can transfer their knowledge of food and nutrition to the context of developing food products to meet a particular need or opportunity. Schools can plan to ensure that learning in each curriculum supports the other. There are examples of programme planning for food and nutrition and food technology in the teaching and planning materials section of Health and Physical Education online.
  • Students need opportunities to think critically (using the socio-ecological perspective) about how food-related decisions affect people's well-being. They need to be challenged to take critical action to improve their own food choices and to support others in making wise choices about what they eat.

For more information about the food and nutrition key area of learning, see page 40.

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

Body care and physical safety

Issues to consider with this key area of learning are as follows:

  • The focus is on identifying and preventing hazards, learning basic hygiene procedures, and ensuring personal safety.
  • Learning with this focus needs to be supported by school policies and procedures.
  • Students learn to take responsibility for their own and others' physical safety and consider how physical well-being affects other dimensions of health.
  • All those engaging in outdoor activities should be involved in this key area of learning.

For more information about the body care and physical safety key area of learning, see page 41.

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

Physical activity

Issues to consider with this key area of learning are as follows:

  • The emphasis is on understanding and enjoying movement and developing positive attitudes towards taking part in regular physical activities.
  • Students examine factors that influence people's decisions about physical activity. They learn to think critically about the implications of these decisions for individuals, communities, and environments, and go on to take action.
  • The curriculum states (on page 42): "It is expected that all students will have had opportunities to learn fundamental aquatics skills by the end of year 6." Strand B achievement objectives at levels 2 and 3 describe how many swimming strokes students should attain (- see pages 17 and 19 of the curriculum document).
  • Te reo kori is an important aspect of this key area of learning (- see page 42 of the curriculum statement).

For more information about the physical activity key area of learning, see  page 42–43.

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

Sport studies

Issues to consider with this key area of learning are as follows:

  • Students examine sport through scientific, technological, social, and cultural perspectives.
  • The focus is on students learning in, through, and about sport, as follows:
  • learning in sport involves learning the skills required to play a range of games and sports, learning the rules and strategies of specific games, and gaining the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for umpiring, coaching, and organising games or tournaments;
  • learning through sport can help students to understand people and their societies, and enable them to contribute positively to their own community. Learning through sport involves practising, in the context of games and sports, behaviour based on the principles of fair play, teamwork, inclusiveness, and tolerance.
  • learning about sport involves using the socio-ecological perspective to think critically about games and sports, to examine their role, their influence, and their social significance, and to find the information needed to plan and take positive action.

For more information about the sport studies key area of learning, see page 44–45.

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

Outdoor education

Issues to consider with this key area of learning are as follows:

  • Outdoor education is the context in which education outside the classroom (EOTC) is addressed in this learning area. EOTC includes all activities beyond the classroom (in any essential learning area).
  • This key area of learning nurtures students' enthusiasm for outdoor activities. Outdoor education fosters enjoyment, challenge, and a sense of adventure ,as well as offering other opportunities to enhance well-being.
  • The emphasis is on helping students to learn physical skills, problem-solving skills, and social skills, and to develop responsible and caring attitudes towards the environment.
  • The curriculum encourages teachers to make maximum use of the school grounds and the immediate local environment rather than focusing on high-cost, high-profile, away-from-school experiences.
  • There are always risks with EOTC. Careful planning helps to ensure that the activities offered are appropriate to the students' needs, ages, experience, and abilities. Refer to the EOTC Guidelines for more information.
  • When outdoor education teachers liaise with the other teachers who run EOTC programmes, they can help to ensure balance, consistency, and good communication within the school.
  • National Administration Guideline (NAG) 5 emphasises the importance of ensuring the health and safety of staff and students at all times.

For information about instructor competency for outdoor pursuits that involve challenge and risk, refer to the EOTC Guidelines.

For more information about the outdoor education key area of learning, see  page 46–47.

PDF icon. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (1999) (PDF, 688 KB)

For resources appropriate to each KAL, see the PDF;

PDF icon. Special issues for the each key area of learning (PDF, 25 KB)


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