Kauri Flats

Innovative Learning Spaces

Innovative Learning Spaces support strengths-based teaching. They offer students and teachers flexibility, openness, and access to resources. Working in an open, flexible learning environment where inquiries are shared, interventions devised collaboratively, and reflections based on both self and peer observations, leads to a more robust, continuously improving community of practice.

An innovative environment is one that is capable of evolving and adapting as educational practices evolve and change – thus remaining future focused.

At Kauri Flats our Bases (learning spaces/classrooms) are designed to ensure the best of both worlds for our students. Bases have been designed to ensure the flexibility of learning and ease of group teaching whilst also keeping the structure of a sound learning programme.  

We appreciate that ILS’s are still a relatively new concept in New Zealand and with this in mind we have designed our learning spaces so that they are not just one large space, but they have areas for students to learning in a variety of ways - small/large groups, individually, with their teacher etc.  The design means our spaces are adaptable to suit the needs of all of our students.

Innovative Learning Spaces can take time for some students to adjust to and this is why we have been very strategic in the school visits we have undertaken and also with the furniture and design of each Base too.  This way students can be integrated smoothly into the environment - very much like transitioning from kindergarten to new entrants.

The ILS does however open up so many more teaching opportunities and even more collaboration amongst teachers and students. Our ultimate aim is to ensure our students receive not only the best educational experiences but equip them with the skills to succeed in life, whichever layer of industry/profession they should choose to be involved in by developing;

  • self-directed learning

  • high-level cognitive skills - inquiry, problem solving, listening and analysis

  • personalised learning paths, so students can learn content at their own pace and in ways that work best for them. With teachers having the most impact by leading interdisciplinary projects and other rich performance tasks that help students weave together content knowledge and high-level cognitive skills.


Collaborative Teaching

Our focus is always on effective teaching. One of the biggest benefits of the flexible spaces is the opportunity for children to learn with multiple teachers throughout the day. Teachers use their strengths, passions and expertise, bounce ideas off each other, problem solve, support and challenge each other to provide differentiated learning opportunities for all children. Two or more heads are definitely better than one!

Evidence, both nationally and internationally, highlights that teachers are better able to meet the diverse needs of children and provide targeted support and challenge through collaborative teaching.

Collaborative teaching and learning in flexible spaces also supports the Māori concepts of:

Manaakitanga: Looking after others, showing respect and kindness to others, enhancing mana. This is also expressed in our concepts of REAL Learning Heroes.

Whanaungatanga: Building strong relationships, building a sense of family connection, providing a sense of belonging through building relationships, and including others and learning in multi-year level studios together.

Tangata Whenuatanga: Affirming Māori learners as Māori and providing contexts for learning where the language, identity and culture of Māori learners and their whānau is affirmed. All learners, including staff, have a strong sense of place and identity through the dual heritage of the community they live in, enhanced through our study of Tangata Whenua over 2014 & 2015, our Kaupapa, and the culture in our learning studios.

Rangatiratanga: Learners are encouraged into leadership and decision making around their learning and achievement. Progressively, students are enabled to make REAL CHOICES about where they learn, who they learn with and then when, what and why they learn.

Ako: A dynamic form of learning where the educator and the student learn from each other in an interactive way.

Tuakana Teina: Refers to the relationship between an older (tuakana) person and a younger (teina) person. Within teaching and learning contexts, this can take a variety of forms.

Peer to Peer – Teina teaches teina, tuakana teaches tuakana.

Younger to Older – The teina has some skills in an area that the tuakana does not and is able to teach the tuakana.

Older to Younger – The tuakana has the knowledge and content to pass on to the teina.

Kaitiaki: The term used for the Māori concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land. A Kaitiaki is a guardian, and the process and practices of protecting and looking after the environment are referred to as Kaitiakitanga. Our students are encouraged and supported through their learning community to become guardians of our school and surrounding environment.

Our Learning Bases

Our school currently has five Learning Bases as well as our Reception Space. Our Bases are a learning space that accommodates the equivalent of 3 classes of learners and 3 teachers, except our Year 7/8 Base, which is the equivalent of 2 classes of learners and 2 teachers. All of our Learning Bases are composite levels, i.e: Year 2/3, Year 3/4.

Further information about Innovative Learning Spaces:


2019) Innovative Learning Environments