Learning At Kindergarten
The Curriculum – how children learn at kindergarten
Kindergarten programmes are based on the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whâriki. This bicultural curriculum is designed specifically for children from birth to school age in the New Zealand setting. It has strong links to the school curriculum. Children enjoy the freedom of access to both indoor and outdoor environments. We believe that as part of the NZ heritage children should enjoy the natural wonders of trees, grass and gardens. Our programmes provide equitable learning opportunities irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity or background and are founded on the following aspiration for children:
‘ To grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body, spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a value contribution to society”. (Te Whâriki 1996, p.9)
There are four broad principles at the core of the Early Childhood Curriculum.
From these principles arise five strands.
Together the strands and principles form an integrated foundation for each child’s development. A narrative (learning story) approach is used to support the planning and assessment process. The learning story framework involves teachers noticing, recognising and responding to children and their learning.Teachers create an individual record of learning for every child. We encourage parents to share this with their child’s new teachers when they transition to school.
Children’s dispositions such as courage and curiosity, trust and playfulness, perseverance, confidence and responsibility become apparent to teachers. Many current educationalists see the fostering of dispositions as critical to the successful development of today’s 21st Century learner. These beliefs are underpinned by research and resources for teachers e.g. Kei Tua o Te Pai MOE.
At our kindergartens play is valued as meaningful learning and it is recognised that children are tremendously motivated to play. Research shows that play integrates learning and helps children apply knowledge and understanding in relation to their ideas, feelings and relationships. Children’s intellectual development occurs through play. Teachers believe that play should be highly valued by society as it is while engaged in meaningful play that children learn many life skills and values such as team work, creativity and tolerance of others’ viewpoints.
Aspects of Te Reo and Tikanga Maori are included to reflect the bicultural nature of New Zealand. The programme also reflects the cultural diversity of families that attend each kindergarten.