He Whāriki Matauranga monga mokopuna o Aotearoa
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Learning at Kindergarten/Centres
The Kindergarten Curriculum
What will my child learn at Kindergarten?
Kindergarten/centre programmes are based on the New Zealand Early Childhood Education Curriculum, Te Whariki. This bicultural curriculum is designed specifically for children from birth to school age and has strong links to the school curriculum. It provides equitable learning opportunities irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity or background and is founded on the following aspirations for children:
"to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society"
Te Whariki (1996, p 9).
There are four broad principles at the core of the early childhood education curriculum:
• Empowerment (Whakamana),
• Holistic Development (Kotahitanga),
• Family and Community (Whanau Tangata),
• Relationships (Nga Hononga).
From these principles arise five strands which are:
• Wellbeing (Mana Atua) which includes social skills, and the promotion of emotional and physical health,
• Belonging (Mana Whenua) which helps children develop an understanding of community, routines and acceptable behaviour,
• Contribution (Mana Tangata) which encourages working with others, understanding difference, and an understanding that each child can make a valuable contribution,
• Communication (Mana Reo) which includes being expressive and creative, literacy, numeracy, non-verbal and verbal communication,
• Exploration (Mana Aotaroa) which includes physical skills and challenges, thinking skills and making sense of the world.
Together the strands and principles form an integrated foundation for every child's development. A narrative approach is used to support the planning and assessment process and is based on the learning story framework which involves teachers noticing, recognising, and responding to children and their learning. "Teachers notice a great deal as they work with children, and they recognise some of what they notice as 'learning'. They will respond to a selection of what they recognise" (Kei Tua o Te Pae, 2004, Book One, p.6). Children's dispositions such as courage and curiosity, trust and playfulness, perseverance, confidence and responsibility become apparent when children take an interest, cope with change, find out about new things, develop relationships, and take responsibility. These skills give children a strong foundation to support their lifelong learning.
A written profile is developed to document each child's learning journey at their kindergarten/early childhood education centre. This allows teachers to develop an understanding of each child's interests, ability, and knowledge which are developed through a planned programme. Profile books are collaborative, and contain the perspectives of teachers, the child, and their family.
Our teachers have a commitment to an effective transition to school experience for children and their families. The programme supports children to feel familiar with the school setting, work within a group, and have knowledge that their contribution is valued.
At our kindergartens/early childhood education centres 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 integrate everything they know in all domains when they play. Children's intellectual development occurs through play which encourages social relationships, language development, number understanding, literacy, thinking skills, along with all other learning areas.
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 teamwork, creativity and tolerance of others viewpoints.
In order to integrate learning into play children need:
• support to work effectively in small and large groups,
• time to pursue their own ideas and to make choices,
• freedom to do things in their own way,
• space to move about,
• choice of materials and equipment,
• variety of experiences and activities,
• adult support to encourage and extend ideas and to help if necessary,
• challenges to stimulate, motivate and extend knowledge and skills,
• emotional literacy - experiencing and expressing feelings in an appropriate way,
• to accept and respect themselves and others,
• to be able to cope with change,
• to learn to internalise - gain an understanding of boundaries, routines and their participation in them.
The educational programme at each kindergarten/early childhood education centre is designed to support the development of these skills and values. 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 kindergarten/early childhood education centre.