Covid-19 support from the Classroom

The national lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic really is a ‘history in the making’ moment, and one that will no doubt be the source of much historical scrutiny in the years to come.

It presents a number of learning opportunities for children (and adults) to record their experiences and observations of an event none of us have ever experienced before. Some ideas as to how students might record their experiences of the Covid-19 lockdown will be the subject of a separate Classroom Conversation – so watch this space.

Unite against COVID-19 logo

Unite against COVID-19 New Zealand Government website.

With schools currently closed, the Ministry of Education has launched the Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites to support learning at home. Parents and whānau, as well as teachers, can find advice and resources spanning early learning through to senior secondary. Recognising the role of parents and caregivers in supporting the children in their ‘bubble’ to maintain some semblance of formal learning, there are a range of activities across different learning areas that parents could use with their children, alongside what might be provided by individual schools and teachers.

Many schools have provided some form of online teaching or take-home resource packs to support their students as they try to keep learning programmes and routines ticking over. Looking at conversations on Facebook and talking to teaching friends and colleagues, it is clear some schools are further along than others in the online teaching space. This digital divide highlights that not all households have ready access to the necessary tools – the availability of suitable devices and/or internet access – to support online learning.

In response to these concerns the government announced on 8 April that it will roll out a raft of distance learning tools, including TV channels, for the new school term. This will increase the number of students who have internet access and devices. The Ministry of Education will also deliver hard copy packs of materials for different year levels.

The Government will also fund two television channels to broadcast education-related content – one for English medium and one for Māori medium, including content that is targeted to Pasifika and other communities. This is a significant response that will hopefully support schools wanting to deliver meaningful and creative distance learning experiences.

We will be developing a range of new activities for our NZHistory Classroom to support those teachers and schools looking for ideas and content to support their distance learning programmes. Our focus will be on developing historical thinking skills within a New Zealand history context. There are many existing activities available on a range of topics in the Classroom. Keep checking back in over the next while to see what new content has been added.  

All the best for these challenging times. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. As long as you and your loved ones (which may or may not include your students!) stay safe, we will be able to resume our normal life and activities at some point, hopefully soon. It will be interesting to see, though, what the long-term legacy of Covid-19 on our world might be.

Steve Watters, Lead Educator-Historian

How to cite this page

'Covid-19 support from the Classroom ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Apr-2020

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