In the Kindergarten we seek to provide an environment that is more like a home than a classroom. A warm, secure and calm atmosphere is created where, surrounded by beauty, the young child’s imagination and creativity can unfold within their play and work.
We take an unhurried approach to childhood and believe that each child’s development has unique qualities that should be experienced fully before moving on to the next stage.
The children are received with love, warmth, kindness and interest, respecting each child’s unfolding life and the child’s family, Whanau and cultural stream.
We strive to work closely with parents/Whanau of each child to provide a strong connection between home and the Kindergarten.
Although Kindergarten teachers are responsible for providing the programme, parent’s feedback, views, contributions and observations of their children are valued.
Imitation and Play
Through their wide open senses children unite themselves with their surroundings through imitation. Teachers strive to provide an environment that is worthy of imitation. They carry out a variety of practical and domestic activities like baking, sewing, cleaning, toy making and repairing. Some children join in with this work and after a time may go back to play.
Self- directed imaginative play is respected as one of the most important ways a child explores and learns about the world. We use natural play materials and resources such as wood, wool, stones, shells, ropes, flax, beeswax and clay for modelling, offering a play-based curriculum that nurtures the development of children’s senses and imagination, allowing them to learn by imitation and discovery.
Various shapes of wood, shells or pinecones can become anything in the child’s imagination and may change from a telephone to a hedgehog. Through this active imaginative play children develop skills including cognitive and problem solving skills, creativity, self-expression, concentration, investigation, language, numeracy and social skills. This means they learn to work with others co-operatively and collaboratively.
The curriculum also includes painting, drawing, weaving, sewing, finger-knitting, circle games, drama, poetry, cooking, finger rhymes, music and story-telling. These are told orally and often are accompanied with puppets. When children are listening to a story being told, they have to create their own mental pictures. It also engage and expands the child’s concentration span. Storytelling is also used as a tool for healing and to help children find ways to deal with life’s difficulties and challenges. Children often re-enact these stories in drama or make up their own stories and perform these to the other children. Daily outside play in the play-ground and walks in nature engages the children in the wonder and magic of the natural world.
Rhythm and Routine
Rhythm is an integral part of all living processes and the Kindergarten programme is based on the recognition that rhythm provides support and security for the children and brings a feeling of wellbeing. The rhythms of the seasons and of the festivals form the basis of the Kindergarten programme.
Young children respond strongly to rhythm, and they are tremendously helped when there is rhythm in their lives. The kindergarten, therefore, built a strong rhythmic element into their programme – each day is rhythmically repetitive.
The morning might begin with a period for play and work followed by circle time, consisting of verses, nursery rhymes, songs and circle games. This is followed by morning tea and outdoor play and the morning session ends with a story.
Each week has its rhythm as well – there is one day for baking, another for painting, a third for crafts, drawing and walks to the beach and bush.
Although Teachers plan their work, there are always opportunities for spontaneous events which arise out of an interest of a child, a good idea or request, the weather, nature or an unexpected event.