Literacy


 "Teaching and Learning at Small Kauri" the
comprehensive book covering in detail the children learning practise followed at the Centre is available for visitors/guardians/parents/whānau to view.  This web page contains a sampler from the book. Feel most welcome to ask to view the book.




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.

Another example is children often take responsibility for bringing in mail delivered at the centre. Mail delivery prompts some discussion about the address on the envelope.  

We encourage children interest by discussing the children’s home addresses.  If they didn’t know the address, they were encouraged to give directions to their house. Teaching use of information technology we have logged onto Google Earth first finding the centre and then following the children’s directions. 

This example demonstrates learning through multiple literacy experiences with the meaningful purpose of finding their home addresses to put on envelopes addressed to themselves.



To extend learning through play we played out being the postie. Riding the balance bike and posting the letters in our play mail box.

Children participate at their level,  learning from their more confident peers.

Reading and writing is shown to be useful, meaningful and fun.

When parents and family members read and write frequently, then their preschool child will follow their lead and want to put pen to paper too.

How is literacy practised at Small Kauri?


As a socio-cultural curriculum the Ministry of Education for Early Childhood Education document called Te Whāriki is not prescriptive about literacy teaching. However, current theories and research about early literacy highlight aspects of socio-cultural practice that should guide educators.


Recent research on early literacy emphasise the importance of a print-rich and resource‑rich environment, and meaningful and socially-constructed play and conversations in literacy learning and development (Morrow, 2008; Hamer & Adams, 2002). Play, games, make-believe storytelling, and songs are important to literacy learning, enabling children to make choices about their learning (Tennant et al 1998 as cited in Education Review Office, 2004: p.33). The educators’ role is to provide the play area, introduce events, and extend play (Hall & Robinson, 2000). Children are likely to develop better oral literacy when learning conversations are varied and used in a variety of contexts (Ashworth & Wakefield, 1994 as cited in Education Review Office, 2004: p.35).


Te Whāriki promotes a broad and holistic approach where literacy teaching and learning is woven across a centre (including all children) and throughout its planning. Programmes should be inclusive and cater for the diversity of abilities, ethnicities and gender. A socio-cultural approach to literacy includes multi-literacies such as linguistic, visual, auditory, gestural and spatial forms. An awareness of this helps educators to recognise that teaching and learning is happening in various literal modes (Hills, 2007; Martello, 2007).


A socio-cultural approach to early childhood education recognises that children encounter multiple literacy practices and activities in different places and with different people. These opportunities help children develop their ideas and values about literacy. It is important for educators to be aware of and incorporate literacy practices and activities that are not only meaningful and practical, but also reflect the child’s family and community. The contribution and involvement of parents, whānau, and community helps children experience varied, meaningful opportunities and interactions (Hamer & Adams, 2003; Lenhart & Roskos, 2003; Mitchell et al, 2009).


Extending beyond the non prescriptive curriculum Te Whāriki, (the NZ curriculum for Early Childhood Education), Small Kauri puts into practice methodologies and literacy research outlined above in an open plan mixed age setting for the children, achieving an environment where learning is truely woven across our centre.