Sunnyhills Learning Priorities

Our Learning Priorities:

At Sunnyhills School we prepare our learners for the 21st century by offering a nurturing, fun environment where confident children set goals, achieve success and fulfil their academic, social, sporting and cultural potential through a wide range of opportunities.  We recognise the importance of providing for the whole child – their Hauora.  We place importance life skills and key competencies as outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum.


Sunnyhills School gives high priority to the teaching of Reading and Writing.  We set high achievement expectations in our annual targets.   Teachers assess regularly and use up to date information to inform their planning and teaching.   We cater to individual needs, giving support and extension through differentiated grouping and personalised programmes.   Digital technologies and thinking skills are integrated into our literacy curriculum.



The teaching of Mathematics is also of great importance.  Teachers collaboratively plan the learning programmes, tailoring them to the needs of individuals and groups of students.  At Sunnyhills we employ a specialist Mathematics teacher to support and extend students and to accelerate their pace of progress.  We are proud of the results we achieve in the annual interschool Mathex Competition and in the Otago Problem Solving Challenges.

Inquiry Learning:

Sunnyhills’ Inquiry Model, STRIVE, scaffolds the children in their curiosity and research as they learn more about the world in areas of Science, the Social Sciences, Technology and the Environment.   Inquiry Learning gives us an authentic context for learning, bringing to the fore all of the Key Competencies and the values of citizenship.  We maximise the availability of local resources and contexts.  Questions posed foster curiosity, encouraging students to investigate, gain knowledge and use this knowledge for social action in the school and wider community.




Health & Physical Education:

In our Health and Physical Education programme, children develop skills and understandings to be healthy, well-rounded individuals.   They are involved in class, syndicate and interschool physical education and sporting competitions.  Participation and co-operation are encouraged when children work in teams, striving for a common goal.   They learn to live safely and make wise choices for living and eating.  Enthusiastic teachers coach sports teams at lunchtime.   Regular, timetabled fitness sessions across the school emphasise the importance we place on physical activity as part of well-being. 


Health and PE

E Learning:

We believe children's learning is enhanced when digital technologies are integrated across the curriculum. They allow children to access and manipulate information as well as develop creative skills as they make movies, web pages and digital presentations. Every class has a digital camera, an interactive whiteboard, iPads and computers as well as other technologies to allow for equitable access to devices for all students.   We share our learning through our classroom blogs.  Two classes are trialling BYOD in 2013.  Sunnyhills  has an e-learning facilitator to support teachers and children in their learning.



The Arts:

Visual Art, Music, Dance and Drama are a part of all classroom programmes.  ‘Creating’ is fostered and valued.  At Sunnyhills, we have a specialist music teacher who works with each class.  She also provides inspiration and tuition for our school choir, instrumental and ukulele groups.   After school providers offer classes to students in various musical instruments.    Check out our music blog:

Our Kapa haka is flourishing, with two large groups (Senior and Junior) meeting once a week.  Kapa haka provides leadership opportunities for many students.  Our Maori learners are able to realise their own unique potential as a Maori.  During this practice time, students learn the different aspects of Tikanga and Te Reo Maori.  We have very strong whanau support with our groups.

The Arts Kapahaka

Environmental Education:

Sunnyhills is an Enviro school and achieved a Silver Award in 2006 for our initiatives. We have student designed cultural gardens, a native trail, a worm farm, marketing of worm juice, paper recycling, a vegetable garden, a butterfly garden.  Environmental aspects are included in our Topic and Inquiry planning. 
 Sunnyhills has an Enviro student council and Enviro teachers who work together to address Enviro issues in the school and lead students to make wise choices. Follow our learning at



Education Outside the Classroom:

School Camps, such as our Year 6 camp to Lakewood Lodge, and class trips offer opportunities to extend learning and social skills.  The Key Competencies:  Thinking, Managing self, Relating to others, Participating and Contributing and Using language, symbols and texts are highlighted as children work together in a different environment and face new challenges.  We are always proud of the way our students conduct themselves when representing the school as learners in the community.


Education outside of the classroom

Sharing the Learning:

Parents and friends are welcomed into classrooms to view their children’s work.  Each class has its own blog and work is posted regularly so that those further afield can keep up to date with the learning  Each week, on a Friday, there are school or syndicate assemblies where children prepare and present items and share work completed in class, taking great pride in their achievements.



These values form the base for how we live and learn at Sunnyhills.  We integrate our values in our learning programmes.  Children are encouraged to develop the following character traits as a part of their “Learning for Life” journey.