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Education for sustainability

Education for sustainability

Sustainability is a critical issue for New Zealand – environmentally, economically, culturally, politically, and socially. We need to learn how to live smarter to reduce our impact on the environment for future generations.


Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools
This is the online version of Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools, published in 1999 for the Ministry of Education by Learning Media Limited.

Climate Change Learning Programme – Teacher Resource.

Climate Change Learning Programme – Teacher Resource (updated July 2020)
This level 4 programme aims to: increase awareness of climate change and explain the role science plays in understanding it; understand both the response to and impacts of climate change – globally, nationally and locally; explore and act on opportunities to contribute to reducing and adapting to the impact of climate change on everyday life.

PDF icon. Climate change learning programme – Teacher resource (PDF, 7 MB)

Climate Change Learning Programme – Wellbeing Guide.

Climate Change Learning Programme – Wellbeing Guide
The Climate Change Wellbeing Guide has been developed to provide teachers with background information and tailored resources to help them navigate the delivery of climate change scientific content, whilst maintaining the wellbeing/hauora of students.

PDF icon. Climate change learning programme – Wellbeing guide (PDF, 762 KB)

Programmes and workshops

LEARNZ virtual field trips have a common theme of sustainability. LEARNZ takes classes virtually to inaccessible, remote or prohibited places all over New Zealand and overseas where students can follow experts in the field and interact with them by posing questions in live audio conferences or on a web forum. Every field trip has its own curriculum-integrated site with a teacher section and a student section, as well as a rich field trip area that includes videos, audio podcasts, photos, and diaries. LEARNZ has about a dozen new field trips every year and is free for New Zealand teachers and their students.

Enviroschools is an environmental action-based programme where young people are empowered to design and lead sustainability projects in their schools, neighbourhoods, and country.

Teaching resources

Putātara – a call to action
Incorporating sustainability and global citizenship across the curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand. This resource supports schools and teachers to develop learning opportunities that are place-based, inquiry-led, and focused on participation for change. Read more in About this resource.

Instructional Series
The instructional series offers a range of texts related to sustainability and conservation.  

Supporting websites

Department of Conservation – Conservation education
The Department of Conservation provides information and resources to support conservation education programmes in schools, including field trips and activities.

Royal Forest and Bird
Forest & Bird works to preserve New Zealand’s natural heritage and native species. They also co-ordinate hands-on restoration projects and educate people about environmental issues through their children’s club, Kiwi Conservation Club, publications, and public awareness campaigns.

WWF-New Zealand  
WWF-New Zealand is part of the world’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting nature and looking after the planet. The website offers a selection of resources curated for New Zealand educators

World’s largest lesson – The climate campaign
Use these resources as a starting point to engage and inspire students to become climate activists.

School stories

Oakura School – Homes for penguins
Oakura Community and the Department of Conservation (DOC) had a project to do and needed some assistance. So they went to the obvious place for help and approached the children at Oakura School.

Enviroschools stories
The Enviroschools website has a range of stories that describe how schools throughout Aotearoa are developing EfS learning experiences. 

Sustainability video collection
This video collection on Technology Online shows how schools are exploring sustainability through technology.


Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools
This 2015 report updates the findings from a large multi-method study of environmental education in New Zealand schools, done in 2002–2004.

Updated on: 17 Dec 2020