Wednesday, February 7, 2007

First Day of School in New Zealand!!

My youngest daughter, the last of my three children who has yet to finish high school, began the 2007 academic school year today. She was excited and happy to be back amidst books and assignments. Yes, my daughter LOVES school.
* * *
I thought I'd say a little bit about what the New Zealand school year is like. It begins in February...this is February, right? Uh, yyyeah... and ends in December. The school year is comprised of 4 terms. There is a two week break between terms one, two, and three, and a 6 week summer holiday...not enough time for total house destruction, but plenty of time to be reacquainted with the dreaded, whiney, nagging, "I'm bored".
* * *
Okay....back to school. We Americans say 'grade' to indicate levels; here the words 'year' and 'form' are used. 'Years' are used to describe primary school, for example 1st year, 2nd year etc, thru to 5th year. Primary school are years 1-5, intermediate school (junior high school) are forms 1 and 2, and highschool begins with 3rd form. To say that my daughter is a 4th former is to say that she is studying her 9th year of school, or the 9th grade.
* * *
Mandatory subjects are English, math, science, social studies, music, art, and physical education. There are also optional classes which have a wide range of subjects. Home economics is no longer taught in New Zealand. Instead there is a class called 'technology' which include woodworking, cooking, fabric, and I think something to do with metals (can't remember).
* * *
Once a student has reached 6th form, science and math are no longer mandatory, but if a student wants to attend university they would have to give it serious consideration depending on what they want to major in.
* * *
Fifth form is a very important school year in New Zealand. Students sit their first 'major' set of examinations. It is a crucial year. Sixth form in interesting in that students are not legally required to continue school once this form is completed. Students who do not plan to attend university tend to drop out during this form. The senior year is 7th form and ahs the least amount of students. Students in this form sit university entrance exams at the end of the year. My eldest daughter sat her exams and will be attending the University of Auckland this year. We will go together...mother and daughter!
* * *

No comments: