New outdoor education teacher loves to challenge students

An exciting addition comes to Nayland College’s physical and outdoor education departments this year, as Kristel Leijten joins the staff. Originally from the Netherlands, Mrs. Leijten has been in New Zealand for almost five years. She has been teaching for fourteen years in total, with four and a half of those years at Glenfield College […]

An exciting addition comes to Nayland College’s physical and outdoor education departments this year, as Kristel Leijten joins the staff.

Originally from the Netherlands, Mrs. Leijten has been in New Zealand for almost five years. She has been teaching for fourteen years in total, with four and a half of those years at Glenfield College in Auckland. 

Mrs. Leijten says that she felt very welcomed by the staff and students here at Nayland. “l moved to Nelson in August of last year, and I looked into the different schools and looking at Nayland, what I really liked was that there were lots of opportunities for students to do different things.”

Mrs. Leijten’s favourite aspect of outdoor education and PE is the practical side. She likes “learning by doing” and challenging students in a different environment, as well as seeing them gain confidence.

“Seeing students working together and realising they can learn things from each other and do better that way is another thing I enjoy,” Mrs. Leijten said.

Mrs. Leijten enjoyed teaching a range of courses at the University of Amsterdam, prior to teaching in New Zealand. She was engaged in a lot of sport, as well as sports marketing, project management and personal development at the International Business School. During her time at Glenfield College, Mrs. Leijten also initiated the outdoor education program as they did not have one included in their curriculum.

Mrs. Leijten studied for six years in total following secondary school. She completed an outdoor education diploma, which took three years. After that she completed her bachelor degree in physical education and sport, which despite being a four year program, only took her three.

“But I absolutely loved it,” Mrs. Leijten said. “I felt like I knew what I wanted to do when I was at secondary school, because one of my PE teachers told me, what about doing something in sport? I thought, yep. That’s what I want to do.”

By student reporter Aleisha Smith