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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 3) 2014/15

Esther Mekelenkamp, Mairehau Primary School, New-Zealand, mobility for internship, KPZ

Contact and general information

Adress Mairehau Primary School

43 Mahars Road, Mairehau

Christchurch, New Zealand

+64 3 3853796



During the organisation of our internship, we looked at the internet for a couple of schools in Christchurch, New Zealand. Because another student had already done an internship at Mairehau Primary School, that was our best chance. At the website of this school, we found the principle's emailadress and we dicided to try. Within a few days, we received an positive email form the principle. He was very enthusiastic and that was the beginning of our yourney.

After that things went very easy. The principle wanted to help us with everything, including homestay. He made sure that we could stay with one of his teachers, for 120 New Zealand dollars the week (which is cheap). We emailed him our Placement agreement and he made sure he signed everything. So, things went pretty easy.

The school is located in an area with a lot of poor people. That is one of the interesting things about this internship. This school accept all kinds of children, diabled, behaviour problems, kids with traumas, kids with rich parents, gifted kids. Every child has a place at Mairehau Primary School. Besides that, the New Zealand education system is very different from ours. (more in chapter: educational system)

I'm going to find out in what way the New Zealand school system is different from ours and what I can do (with my Dutch vision at education) for them. I want 'best of both worlds'. I think it is good to change you mind and be open for other visions. So, that's what I'm hopefully going to find out.

I prepared myself by reading about the country and the educational system. We emailed with the other Dutch student from the KPZ, who went to Mairehau Primary School. As soon as we knew where we were going to stay, we had contact with the people. Besides form that, it was waiting until the date that we were leaving was finally there.

Internship (educational system)

I already said that the education in New Zealand is different from ours. First this is schooltimes. A normal schoolday looks like this:

  • 8:30 schoolbel rings, children are supposed to be at school.
  • 8:30 - 9:00 play time (inside and outside)
  • 9:00 - 10:30 learning time (reading)
  • 10:30 - 11:00 Morning tea
  • 11:00 - 12:00 learning time (maths)
  • 12:00 - 12:20 Kai time (lunch)
  • 12:20 - 13:20 learning time
  • 13:20 - 14:00 Big play (children play outside)
  • 14:00 - 15:00 learning time
  • 15:00 end of day

There are a lot more breaks during the day and that is nice for the children. Another big difference is that they don't use methods. With is fine, but I still don't get what their structure is. Every class from the same level is doing something else. The teacher is very free in what they want or don't want to do. The tempo of working is lower than in the Netherlands. It is more like 'go with the flow'. That is something that for me, as a Dutchie, feels like breathing. I think sometimes we expect to much from our children, even if they are not capable enough. But, it frustrates me a lot that they can work for three days (one our a day) about a story from eight phrases. It has two sides. Another thing different from the Netherlands is that the kids during instruction time, start of the day and the time after the breaks, are sitting at the floor. In my classroom there is no Smartboard. We have a beamer, but that isn't working that well. So we use a whiteboard. The children are sitting in front of that, at the floor. As soon as they start working, the find a place to work. There is a big table (with chairs) in the middle of the class, there is a standing table and there are some 'normal' schooltables. Some kids like working at the floor and that is fine as well.


flight: 1320,- (Emirates airways) (Amsterdam - Christchurch)

Visa: 100,- (working holiday).

homestay with teacher: 800,- (depending on exchange rate). It's 120 NZ dollars a week. This contains food and a room.

Groceries are pretty expensive here, so make sure you have enough money with you to buy yourself stuff. You get breakfast, lunch and dinner from the people you live with. You have to pay for all the rest.

If you want to travel a bit, you need a lot of money. Everything costs money, even doing a hike. The distances are pretty far. We stayed in Christchurch and on the south island, everything is almost a 5-6 hour drive.




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