Learning areas
Key Competencies

The Key Competencies


Our students all come from unique starting points.

All of our students have a level of competence in the five key areas of Thinking, Using Language Symbols and Texts, Managing Self, Relating to Others and Participating and Contributing. They have the potential to further develop their competence by means of carefully structured learning to acquire specific underlying skills. Our students require personalised opportunities that allow them to both use and develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values that lead to appropriate actions in different contexts to develop their competence.

Learning is shaped by their environment and experiences. For our students to develop competency in the five key areas we must recognise the place of specific skill development as a foundation. At Kaka Street, this focussed learning through the key competencies is evidenced in each student’s I.E.P. and through the Integrated Planning experienced in each classroom.

The key Competencies provide the link between the curriculum and the learner. The key competencies are the destinations for the learner. Accessing the curriculum is reliant upon the learner being able to develop their competence in each of the Key Competencies. They are central to the learning areas and provide the context for learning. Understanding the importance of and planning for the Key Competencies is the key to a successful journey for our students.

Thinking involves the use of “creative, critical and metacognitive processes to help make sense of information” (p.12 NZC). Students need opportunities to learn how to learn and to apply this learning to a variety of environments, activities and creative pursuits. They do this through seeking, applying and reflecting on knowledge and creating new ideas. At Kaka Street, our students require focussed, planned opportunities to ensure they develop their competence in thinking.

Using language, symbols and text is learning to communicate through the use of “words, numbers, images, movement, metaphor and technologies in a range of contexts and settings” (p.12 NZC). It includes knowing how to use ICT including assistive technology to support that communication. If our students have no means of accessing, using or understanding the relevance of this competence, then their ability to communicate, even at the most basic level is compromised.

Managing self is having a ‘can do’ attitude. It is about being “enterprising, resourceful, reliable and resilient” (p.12 NZC). This competency encourages the student to be self motivated, to act independently and to access strategies that help them to meet challenges in their life. For our students, through learning to manage themselves, they become more independent, develop self esteem, access their environment, manage their behaviour and emotions and begin to take risks.

Relating to others “is about interacting effectively with a diverse range of people in a variety of contexts” (p.12 NZC). This competency encourages students to learn how to express themselves, how to respond to others and also the value in learning from others. Relating to others at Kaka Street is experienced at many levels and in a huge variety of contexts.

Participating and contributing “is about being involved in communities. Communities include family, whanau, and school” (p.13 NZC) and those people outside our school who support growth in this competency. Students who participate in and contribute to communities have a sense of belonging which gives them the confidence to participate within new contexts. To participate and contribute allows our students to build upon the other four competencies and apply their learning in the world. This is planned for holistically, and includes a variety of community based learning experiences.


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