Including Awareness and Celebration Events in Learning – FREE Calendar

Ever thought about how easy it is for school to be like its own wee world?  How what goes on within the school gates is all that really matters for that moment in time?

The reality is, however, that schools exist within the real world and we are growing children to understand, interact and find success in this world.  We have all heard  “I wish they taught me how to budget, change a tire, how to swim, how to write a CV at school, instead of the maths I have never used”  and we can easily respond with “well what would you like us to stop teaching in order to fit that in?”  I’m not going to get into what should and shouldn’t be included in the curriculum as I feel we are pretty lucky to have the broad curriculum we do that allows us to take learning, for the most part, where learners want to go.

An easy, and real way to link learning as much as possible with the real world is to include learning around awareness and celebration events in your classroom.  We can use real contexts, real experiences and real problems to teach what we need to teach.  Why?  Because this gives our learners a broader view of the world around them.  It helps them to feel a part of this word, and it helps them to understand more about this world. Our world. Their world.

Waitangi Day, Seaweek, Easter, Anzac Day, NZ Music Month, NZ Sign Language Week, Matariki, Conservation Week, Recycling Week, Diwali, Tech Week, Pacific Language Weeks, Maths Week, ….and many more.  These celebration and awareness events all have dates on the calendar. Some are just a day, others a week and others a whole month. By all means, they do not need to be recognised only during the relative calendar date but sound the dates set there are often real-world events taking place that learning can link to.

But the curriculum is soooo full and I don’t have time!  I too used to think like this until I realised what was actually important, along with that I could use these events as the context and still teach what I needed to teach.  How? you ask.

Take Anzac day for example.  Texts such as this can be included in your reading programme.  Visual Art such as this can be integrated into learning.  Literacy activities such as this.  

It is easy to do the old token gesture and slip in an activity here and there around a particular event or topic.  This is better than nothing but does it really do the topic justice?  Could you instead look at upcoming dates of interest alongside your learning outcomes and think of ways the two could really be integrated together.  Transform your learning programme, raise engagement, belonging, understanding and achievement all at the same time!

This FREE calendar will help you with all the events and dates you need to know for the year.  It is worth noting that some event dates, including the pacific language weeks are not confirmed until the new year is underway.  These events are on the calendar based of the pervious years dates and will be updated when confirmed information is available.

**This blog post was originally written on