The On-Arrival Programme

The Centre for Refugee Education provides English language instruction for every refugee, and for adult students an orientation to life in New Zealand.

Permanent teaching staff are assisted by bi-lingual aides/interpreters, casual staff, volunteers, and guest speakers.

There are four sections within the centre, with special needs support available at all levels:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Secondary
  • Adult education

Early Childhood Education

Licensed by the Ministry of Education, the Early Childhood Centre follows the philosophy and teaching practices of the NZ Early Childhood curriculum, Te Whariki.

Parents and staff support children in settling in, enabling the children many of whom have never been away from their mothers before to feel safe with unfamiliar surroundings, people, and activities.


Children prepare for mainstream schooling by developing experience and confidence in using English in a school context, while at the same time home languages and cultures are used as a base for new learning.

Teachers foster independent learning habits, and develop co-operative attitudes and coping skills. Students are introduced to the routines and curriculum areas they will encounter in New Zealand schools.

By visiting a local library the children are given the opportunity to practise appropriate school trip behaviour as well as become familiar with an important community resource.


Students become familiar with the New Zealand secondary school system, classroom expectations and behaviour in a NZ setting before venturing into a mainstream environment.

Students discuss peer pressure, social issues, and adapting to a new culture and spend a day in a local large, multi cultural, co-ed high school during the programme in order to deepen their experience.

Adult education

Adult education programmes are two-fold, supporting a range of needs in terms of language learning and resettlement. The programme includes English language and Orientation to New Zealand sessions, introducing refugees to the essential skills and information required for successful integration into the wider New Zealand community.

On the last day of the intake there is a farewell ceremony. Speeches are made, the primary and secondary children perform songs, and the adult students have the opportunity to speak on behalf of their fellow refugees.

Each family receives a Departure Kit, containing individual progress reports for each student, information about support agencies and services and English language provision, a free copy of the centre's Picture Dictionary, and an Orientation to New Zealand booklet.

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