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Owhango School – bringing the arts back into our curriculum

Owhango School is a very small, full primary school situated in the middle of the North Island, close to Mt Ruapehu.

Leaders and staff at the school made a decision in 2018 to bring the performing arts back into the teaching and learning in their school. They consider the performing arts to be an area that deserves attention in the era of post National Standards (archived), where there is more emphasis on cross-curricular learning.


Target 2: To support the children to become more confident and competent in the performing arts learning area of the curriculum.


A quote from The New Zealand Curriculum in their report introduces the rationale for their decision:

'Learning in, through, and about the arts stimulates creative action and response by engaging and connecting thinking, imagination, senses, and feelings. By participating in the arts, students’ personal well-being is enhanced. As students express and interpret ideas within creative, aesthetic, and technological frameworks, their confidence to take risks is increased… Arts education values young children’s experiences and builds on these with increasing sophistication and complexity as their knowledge and skills develop. Through the use of creative and intuitive thought and action, learners in the arts are able to view their world from new perspectives. Through the development of arts literacies, students, as creators, presenters, viewers, and listeners, are able to participate in, interpret, value, and enjoy the arts throughout their lives.'

Studies measuring creative thinking, critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning all find these functions increase and improve when arts education is added to the educational mix.

Correlative studies also show a strong relationship between arts education and:

  • positive emotional development that leads to stronger abilities to self-regulate
  • deep engagement in learning
  • motivation to learn for understanding
  • a decrease in disciplinary issues in schools
  • self-awareness, self-concept and self-expression
  • self-efficacy and self-confidence.

Collecting baseline data

To collect baseline data, teachers constructed and conducted a survey asking about the children’s confidence and competence in the performing arts. You can download a PDF of the survey below.

PDF icon. Performing Arts Survey (PDF 258 KB)

Collating data from the survey

Data from the survey was collated and graphs constructed, allowing the school to formulate an action plan. You can download a PDF of the data below.

PDF icon. Collated data from arts survey (PDF 291 KB)

Action plan

       Select the image to view at full size.

An action plan was constructed from the survey results. It includes aims, actions to achieve those aims, assessment, resources and time frames. 

How the school will evaluate the success of target 2

  1. A comparison of the results of a survey carried out at start of year and at the end of the year to gauge the change in confidence and competence in the performing arts.
  2. Observations and informal assessment of students’ success in the performing arts challenges of various disciplines (kapa haka, group singing, playing and performing with a musical instrument, performing in plays, performing in dance, creating music, dance and/or drama).

With thanks to Ewan Starkey, Principal, for sharing the school story.