NZ Curriculum Links


The seven ‘Heart Tools’, core content of the VIA programme, fit conceptually with page 10 of the New Zealand Curriculum (2007). Since 2013, each 'Heart Tool' has  been enriched by being woven together with a Maori value, under guidance of local Maori, notably Kereama Nathan who leads the Te Herenga Waka O Orewa Marae in Silverdale.  The  VIA Team are privileged to be able to explore and celebrate with the children the richness of the unique bicultural mix that is the hallmark of our nation.

BE KIND aligns with INTEGRITY and EQUITY and weaves in with AROHA

Woven in with the loving kindness of the Maori value of AROHA, the  Be Kind Heart Tool focuses on being kind and honest in all we do and say.  The children are encouraged to face problems with attitudes of kindness and honesty.

Integrity is defined in the National Curriculum as ‘being honest, responsible, accountable and acting ethically. Equity is defined as ‘fairness and social justice’.

HELP aligns with ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY and weaves in with AWHI

Learning how to Awhi themselves, their families, their community and the natural environment  weaves in with  the Help Heart Tool and focuses on our responsibility for all aspects of our environment – the land, plants, animals and other people.  The children are encouraged to take responsibility for helping to solve problems in their world.

Ecological sustainability is defined in the New Zealand Curriculum, as ‘including care for the environment’. 

ENJOY is inherent in a range of VALUES and weaves in with WHAKANUIA

Embracing the Maori concept of WHAKANUIA, whole-hearted celebration of life in its fullness, the  Enjoy Heart Tool focuses on appreciating and making the most of life.  The children will be encouraged to be active participants in every aspect of life by making informed choices, dealing proactively with problems and learning the art of celebrating every season of their lives.

AIM HIGH aligns with EXCELLENCE and weaves in with TU KOTAHI AI

Emphasising the importance of TU KOTAHI AI, being able to stand as one together in unity with those in our world knits in well with  the  Aim High Heart Tool by focusing on reaching for your best and beyond for the good of of community as well as in individual personal endeavour.  The children are encouraged to form internal motivation, decide a focus, set goals and acquire life skills to  work for the benefit of the greater good as they  aim high and deal with personal and community problems and challenges.

Excellence is defined in the New Zealand Curriculum as ‘aiming high and persevering in the face of difficulties’.

RESPECT aligns with RESPECT and DIVERSITY and weaves in with MANAAKI

MANAAKI, the deep respect for self (MANA) and others (MANAAKI) that is esteemed so highly in Maori culture, weaves  into the Respect Heart Tool,  focusing on showing equal respect for every human being.  The children are encouraged to become aware of their own bias, dispositions and perspectives that are inherent as a human being.  The children will explore ways that will help solve problems through developing respect, tolerance, acceptance and a celebration of  difference.

Respect is defined in the New Zealand Curriculum as respect for ‘themselves, others and human rights’.  Diversity is defined as valuing ‘our different cultures, languages and heritages.’


Developing, deep in one's heart, a WHAKAARO or understanding of self, others and the world around us ties in closely with the  Think Heart Tool as it focuses on using personal intuition as well as intellectual thinking to process information and to problem-solve.  The children are encouraged to reflect deeply about a topic, becoming aware of how it affects them at a deep personal level as well as using a range of cognitive and critical thinking models to analyse it.

Innovation, inquiry and curiosity are defined in the New Zealand Curriculum as ‘thinking critically, creatively and reflectively’.

SUPPORT aligns with COMMUNITY and weaves in with TAUTOKO

The concept of stepping up to TAUTOKO others brings warmth and depth into the Support Heart Tool which focuses on supporting each other as problems arise.  The children are encouraged to examine what it means to support others and work effectively in a team. They are encouraged to live with a proactive awareness of how important a contribution their words and actions can make to the well-being of others around them.

Community is defined in the New Zealand Curriculum as participation for the common good.


The ‘Values in Action’ programme supports development of key competencies, page 12-13 New Zealand Curriculum (2007).


Values in Action teachers are trained to encourage children to ‘actively seek, use and create knowledge’.  They help them to ‘reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions’.

Using Language, Symbols and Texts

Through the diverse stories and art works the children are exposed to and encouraged to critically reflect on in Values in Action lessons, children  learn how to interpret a range of written and visual texts, both ancient and modern.

Managing Self

Values in Action teachers tell entertaining stories that are structured around a specific value, as outline in the 'Values' section above.  Each week the actions of the main character are reflected on and children have an opportunity within the lesson to practise the positive skill that has been modelled.

Relating to Others

Values in Action teachers use  active listening skills in a process which encourages children to consider, clarify and articulate their own thoughts and opinions as well as listening to and recognising the points of view of others.  VIA teachers are trained to show acceptance of the thoughts and feelings of children, thus  facilitating growth of  of self-awareness, a key component in empathy and the ability to relate well to others.

Participating and Contributing

Values in Action teachers facilitate co-operative group activities, encouraging the children to reflect on why their group was / wasn’t effective.

Learning Areas

While Values in Action is an optional programme, it does have strong links to other learning areas.


Through Values in Action lessons, children engage in rich learning experiences in the ‘Understanding the Arts in Context’ strand, page 20 New Zealand Curriculum, with particular emphasis on viewing Visual Arts, and sharing their responses.  Similar, but less frequent, learning experiences involve Music and Film.  Children also have opportunities to participate in creating and performing drama sequences.


Stories from New Zealand history and  Bible stories are key content in Values in Action lessons. Knowledge of these ‘contributes to students’ developing sense of identity, their awareness of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, and their understanding of the world.’ (Page 18 New Zealand Curriculum)


(Page 22 New Zealand Curriculum)


Taha Wairua, or spiritual well-being – is touched on in many Values in Action lessons.

Taha Hinengaro, or mental and emotional well-being – is strengthened as children’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs are accepted and affirmed in a non-judgemental environment in every VIA lesson.

Taha Whanau, or social well-being, is encouraged through regular co-operative activities and guided reflection on the dynamics of these.

Attitudes and Values

A sense of social justice is fostered through exposure to and processing of hundreds of narrative stories from the Bible and from New Zealand history.

The Socio-Ecological Perspective

Relationships between the individual, others and society are thoroughly explored through stories and group activities


Stories from the Bible and New Zealand history provide examples of ‘people, places, cultures and histories beyond New Zealand’.  Children ‘develop understandings of how societies are organised and function,’ page 30 New Zealand Curriculum.


Values in Action teachers are trained to comply with the principles laid down on page 34 in the New Zealand National Curriculum (2007), defining effective pedagogy.

Lessons and methods which have evolved over  sixteen years of continuous improvement  helps to...
‘Create a supportive learning environment’
‘Encourage reflective thought and action’
‘Enhance the relevance of new learning’
‘Facilitate shared learning’
‘Make connections to prior learning and experience’
‘Provide sufficient opportunities to learn'
Inquire into the teaching-learning relationship’


Delivery is structured tightly within 30 minute lesson plans.
Each seven step plan involves: 


Children discuss what the focus value is like for them 


The curriculum context is set

Story telling

 Stories - Bible and  history of New Zealand and beyond illustrate the focus value


Children reflect on and discuss the stories they have heard 


 Considering how the value looks in our daily lives


 Interactive activities to practically apply the value 


 Reviewing and reinforcing learning


Induction and ongoing professional development are thorough and  teachers are closely monitored and managed within a culture of continuous improvement.