Our Learning Spaces

Waitaha Base School

Te Tupu Harakeke - Primary School satellite at Knights Stream School

Ta Pā Harakeke - Primary School satellite at West Rolleston School

Te Rito Harakeke - Secondary School satellite at Rolleston College

Base Learning Spaces

He Kākano - Suzie Kerr, Raewyn Windley, & Rozlyn Doherty

In He Kakano, engagement and communication are at the forefront of all learning. Our tamariki are encouraged to be as independent as possible. We have predictable routines in our class which allows our students to experience a safe environment whereby they know the expectations and can become more self-managing. 


Students will be guided in their learning to ensure curriculum goals and ILP’s are met but have opportunities to have agency within their learning by having freedom and choice to explore learning activities that interest them as individuals.  


Children learn through play: by doing, asking questions, interacting with others, using a trial-and-error approach and by making purposeful use of resources. As they engage in exploration, they begin to develop attitudes and expectations that will continue to influence their learning throughout life.

Rātā - Grace Infantado, & Kate Chapman

In rūma Rāta, we hold communication and engagement at the centre of all learning. We naturally weave communication throughout all aspects of our day. Whether it is exploring core words in our workboxes or staff modeling core words during play, we jump into any language opportunities throughout the day. Our goal is to help our students become self-managers. We build independence throughout the day by the use of visuals and personal timetables, empowering our ākonga to manage the aspects of their everyday lives at school.

We take an individualised / student-directed approach to learning, offering a wide range of learning experiences from structured literacy to learning through play. Our day maintains a very structured routine but within that routine students are encouraged to be independent and use student agency to direct their own exploration.

Our education outside of the classroom allows us to explore our wider community. We have various opportunities planned throughout the school year that are anchored to our ākonga’a goals and interests. 

Kōwhai - Katherine Wilson, Paege Sumpter, & Erin O'Neill

In Kōwhai, connection is at the heart of everything we do with our Year 4-8 learners. Our strong relationships cultivate ākonga well-being and engagement for learning. We join together as a class at least three times a day for circle time. This is where we reinforce our key core words for the week, practice our interoception skills and bond over our shared love for singing songs. 

We use visual timetables to help develop self-management skills and check these regularly to establish routines. We create learning opportunities that have ākonga interests embedded into them and also expose our learners to new sensory experiences. We foster communication, character building, citizenship, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking throughout each day. We enjoy incorporating life skills into our learning such as cooking so that everything we do can be applied to the real world!

He iwi tahi tātou - we are one whānau!

Kahikatea - Nathan Down, Stephanie Driver, & Reana Instone

Welcome to Kahikatea, where vibrant energy meets structured learning for senior students aged 13 to 18. Our bustling classroom is a dynamic space that prioritizes student independence and prepares them for future community accessibility. In Kahikatea, we delve into diverse topics, including food preparation, interoception, communication, life as a young adult, and essential physical life skills.

Our class is not just about academics; it's a nurturing environment that encourages students to explore their passions and interests. We foster personal growth by promoting critical thinking skills, guiding students in making positive choices, and instilling a deep understanding of what it means to be a responsible and engaged citizen.

At Kahikatea, we believe in empowering young men and women to shape their own destinies. Through a blend of hands-on experiences, open discussions, and personalized support, we prepare students to confidently step into the next chapter of their lives. Join us in Kahikatea, where the journey to self-discovery and responsible citizenship begins.

Waitech - Jane Sinclair, Karen Lubbe, & Rebecca Pendle

E Raka te maui, e raka te katau / A community can use all the skills of its people.

Waitech is our senior transition programme for young people who are in Year 13 and above or for those who have indicated that they are planning to leave school at 18 years old.

The purpose of Waitech is to provide students the opportunity to participate in internal and external work experience, community activities and develop life skills to enable them to have a purposeful and meaningful life.

Initially our young people are involved in internal work experience based on their interests. As they develop their skills they move into the Community Hub where they are involved in external work experience and community activities such as walking groups, gardening and going to the gym.

Our programmes are underpinned by the seven employability skills: 

We provide stimulating and engaging programmes such as New Zealand Certificate in Supported Living and Youth Enterprise Scheme to assist our young people to acquire the skills and confidence they need to undertake both internal and external work placements and develop a sense of belonging within the community. 

Satellite Learning Spaces

Te Tupu Harakeke - Takuma Peters, Karina Lilley, Samarra Hanna, Tara Zahn & Anna Hay

Te Tupu Harakeke is Waitaha’s junior Satellite situated at Knights Stream School in Halswell. Te Tupu Harakeke has 7 full time staff, including 3 teachers, 4 Learning Assistants and 1 part time teacher. We have students ranging between year 1 to 8. 

The aim of the satellite learning space within a mainstream school is inclusion into every opportunity at school and within the community. The satellite staff  and students are viewed as a real part of Knights Stream School and as such are involved in all aspects of the school., including social, team building, PLD and well being activities. Our students wear the Knights Stream uniform and understand that this is their school that they attend every day. Te Tupu Harakeke is treated as another Knights Stream class which is automatically included in school events, such as the recent junior and senior cross country events, athletics, talent quest competition and many other activities including school camps and discos. Mike Molloy the Principal of Knights Stream and Tak the Co-ordinator of the satellite meet regularly to discuss activities on the calendar and to share ideas around including Waitaha students in every possible mainstream activity.

Te Pā Harakeke - Sean Kiely, Josh Winder, Sarah Millar, Stephanie Paris, & Kendra Horne

Te Pā Harakeke is an open learning space located at West Rolleston School. Waitaha school has worked in collaboration with West Rolleston since its opening in 2016 to create a learning space that nurtures and supports our young learners. This Satellite can hold up to 17 students from years 1-8 who work alongside a team of specialist teachers and full time learning assistants to support them to engage in our day-to-day learning programmes. Students are given a range of opportunities at West Rolleston School to promote inclusion within mainstream experiences. This includes extended curriculum learning and whole school events. 

From Monday to Friday students participate in adaptive learning opportunities, developed specifically with each student’s needs in mind. This includes functional skills in both Literacy and Maths as well as opportunities to explore additional curriculum areas throughout the afternoon sessions.

Te Rito Harakeke - Wendy Blackmun, Johanna Talbot, Brian Johnson, & Ciara

Te Rito Harakeke is an open learning space located centrally within Rolleston College. Te Rito Harakeke is a unique space in that it fosters a close relationship with its host school, Rolleston College. Students are given every possible opportunity that we can facilitate, to emerge in mainstream experiences. This includes extended curriculum learning and whole school events. 

Our students are beginning to explore more life skills through community engagement, safety and hygiene in the kitchen and money skills. This prompts our seniors to consider life beyond school and the skills they will need to work towards the future they want. Technology underpins the majority of learning that takes place in our space. Students are encouraged to use devices to assist with communication (both verbal and written) which allows students to develop their learner agency. Throughout the day students participate in innovative learning opportunities, developed specifically with each student’s needs in mind. This includes functional skills in both Literacy and Maths as well as opportunities for creative outlets through the Arts. 

Community Hub - Steph Faulks, Jo Grosvenor, & Joanne Allan