Differences Between Schools in America 🇺🇸 and New Zealand 🇳🇿
Join Chantal and Tara from KiwiAmericans as they discuss the differences between school systems in New Zealand and the US.
The first and probably most unusual thing is that children here aren’t allowed to actually start school before the day of their 5th birthday. Once they turn five at any point of the school year, they can join a classroom or wait for the start of the next school year.
Talking about school years, they run from year 1 through year 13 and are divided into primary school, middle school, and high school/college.
Students can choose to end their education in year 12, but year 13 is mandatory for everyone who wants to attend university.
Unlike in the US and Canada where students have to be accepted to college or university, in New Zealand, passing year 13 actually grants your entrance.
Another interesting fact is that the first year of UE in New Zealand is free. Unfortunately, many don’t go forward and according to Tara, making year 4 free instead of year 1 would be a lot more incentive.
Circling back to primary school, New Zealand’s teachers have an unconventional way of handling homework. While they are still present as part of the curriculum, after-school assignments are optional. So, following a long day at work or in school, Kiwis prioritize family time over doing homework.
Having said that, New Zealand has been quite successful at encouraging young minds to explore their talents. Their philosophy that promotes learning as a life-long process helps students develop a love for growth and progress.
A common classroom on the island can seem pretty chaotic to most non-locals. If you wonder why, it’s because they believe in growing and learning through actions, so children are encouraged to move and express themselves freely in open-concept classrooms.
Students usually take up sports such as rugby, cricket, kayaking, and swimming but they also have to participate in choir singing and school plays. This allows them to get exposed to as many activities as possible so they can discover their talents and interests.
Another big part of the school experience in New Zealand is uniforms. In many schools they are mandatory, especially on school trips or games. Uniforms are also a matter of pride as they represent the school you belong to and what it stands for.
It’s interesting that most schools here are either all-boys or all-girls schools, but mixed schools are also available in more populated areas. One thing is for sure, boys and girls act totally different when there is no pressure coming from the opposite sex.
As parents, when it comes to our children, safety is everything. Children in New Zealand are allowed to walk or bike to school and back, and they don’t receive active shooter training as there are none. Schools are a safe zone! They don’t even require medical checkups before enrolment.
On top of it, future education may look quite different, as online and homeschooling are evolving fast and in so many directions, particularly after COVID-19.
Hopefully, we gave you a good grasp on how education in New Zealand works, in case you are with children and planning on moving to the islands.
Enjoy the video!
00:00 Say Hi to Tara from KiwiAmericans
01:22 School Doesn’t Start in NZ Before the Actual 5th Birthday
02:11 School Years in NZ Rundown
02:47 The Pathway to UE
03:28 First Year of UE is Free
04:55 Homework is Whole Lot Different in NZ
07:22 Children Choose What They Focus On
07:44 New Zealanders — Out-of-the-Box Thinkers
08:06 Open Concept Classrooms
09:56 Nationalized Curriculum in NZ
09:24 Extracurricular Activities in NZ
11:25 Uniforms and What They Represent in NZ
12:14 All-Boys vs All-Girls Schools in NZ
15:55 Kids Can Walk Safely To School in New Zealand
18:17 School Security and Safety
19:53 Future of Education