How learning and teaching happens at Small Kauri

When making the decision to set up a early childhood education centre, Linda bought to it her extensive knowledge of early childhood through completing a Diploma at North Shore Teachers College, NZ Diploma through the Free Kindergarten Union and Bachelor of Education (Teaching), over 15 years of experience in ECE including lecturing at MIT, as well as raising four of her own children and being a part of Playcentre.

Every single decision is set upon with the most important aspect being achieving the best learning outcomes and environment for children.

The key considerations when nurturing learning is that every learner is unique in how they see what is happening around them and therefore for learning to happen it needs to link on to what they already know or understand. Every child has had their own unique set of experiences so far through interacting and exploring and living with others.

We value where a child comes from, working along side parents and whaanau to be able to provide the best possible learning experiences for each individual child. Your feedback and chats are important, every day on drop off or pick up feel free to have a chat with one of our teachers. We love to share different experiences with you too, and this is a great time to catch up.

We engage in meaningful interactions with your child. Through observation, discussion and through their different experiences they engage in at Small Kauri we get to know your child and how they learn. This allows us to then be able to plan specific experiences to support further learning.

We provide a learning environment rich in language. A child learns to talk and build their understanding of language within a setting where adults and children talk to each other. Our ratios allow plenty of one-on-one and smaller group discussions.

We provide a learning environment that is rich in Literacy. Our range of books is extensive, with many different reading areas. We encourage children to choose books for us to read with them. We share books together at group time. We encourage children to identify their names and those of peers in many different experiences, daily finding their name tag for their locker. We enrourage children to write their names on their artworks, or when we go on an excursion. Children are motivated to write when they participate in a centre where they and the teachers engage in writing for meaningful purposes. There are many meaningful daily experiences to promote literacy at Small Kauri. For example children make lists of ingredients needed for regular baking.  They supermarket shop with the teachers, interpreting sign, labels, price tickets etc.

At Small Kauri creativity is extremely important. We do not mean creativity as in art or craft (of course that too), but creativity in terms of creative thinking. To be a successful learner we must be creative thinkers. Creative thinking skills: persisting with difficulty, making decisions, problem setting and solving, being flexible, curiosity, imaginative thought, independence, experimentation, perceptiveness, sharing ideas.
Related learning dispositions: perseverance, confidence, responsibility, courage, curiosity. Due to this you will not find templates or colouring in pages here, and we do not do teacher driven 'activities'. But rather, we provide resources and opportunities for creativity, ask open ended questions and offer ideas for extension.

We are a mixed aged setting. This ensures our Teachers get to know you, your child and whaanau well. Building long term stable relationships and minimising the stress that can be caused by segregation and room changes. A mixed age setting allows children to not be separated from, and to have continued interactions with their siblings and other family members. It allows children to build relationships with peers of different ages and develop empathy through the caring for others. It allows children of different ages and stages to learn from and assist those of different abilities to them. Older children with greater experience provide a rich model for ways of play and building language. Modelling building friendships and how to play with and alongside others. We provide opportunities for children to engage with a wider range of materials, therefore they are able to move and learn are their own pace. Our children also learn leadership and inclusion through helping those less able. There is extensive research behind the mixed-age approach that puts forward mixed-aged settings as best practice in terms of child learning and development

Before selecting a childcare centre it is important for you to consider the learning theory behind different approaches.Unfortunately different government level changes have had an impact on the quality of some childcare centres.Small Kauri continues to work to provide the highest quality centre. Maintaining a higher Teacher to child ratio, qualified and registered Early Childhood trained Teachers. Putting the learning and care of children ahead of anything else.

Another aspect of this exchange between children and their environments is the influence of the communities to which children belong. Each community that children belong to makes its own specific curriculum demands: the community of learners who will be able to respond, to challenge and change; the community of children who have individual needs and rights; and the community of New Zealanders who are gaining knowledge of the nation’s languages and are developing skills in using cultural tools such as art, dance, mathematics, music, reading, science, technology, and writing.

Our Early Childhood Curriculum:

A book on aspects of learning practise followed at the Centre is available for visitors/guardians/parents/whānau to view. Click here to view a  sampler from the book " Teaching and Learning at Small Kauri".