127 Remuera Road, Auckland, New Zealand
3 months to 3 years
WE AIM TO CREATE an environment in which children feel relaxed, comfortable and free to explore. Our philosophy is based very much on respect. We want every child to feel truly valued, accepted and able to be ‘themselves’. Each child has a primary caregiver / teacher, which enables a special relationship of mutual trust to be formed. Time spent together during care moments allows shared experiences and friendships to grow, and greatly increases each child’s sense of well-being and belonging within the centre. Likewise, a relationship of trust and sharing between primary teachers and parents / whanau is truly valued. We try and keep each child’s daily routine as close as possible to how it is at home. When children first start at Barbara’s Place, a two to three week settling period helps children to feel comfortable within their new environment. Spending time in the centre with their parents / whanau helps so much to increase their trust, and to build relationships with their new friends. In accordance with the principles of Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber, we respect the fact that children know their own bodies best. We trust that they will move into new positions when they have achieved the necessary movement skills, and when their muscles have developed the required strength. We value the opportunity to observe the children as they play, explore and interact with each other. Their actions allow us to learn so much about their interests and their unique personalities. It is important to us that the children are able to follow their own interests and ideas as they play. By observing and appreciating their ideas, rather than influencing their choices, we are able to see their unique thoughts evolve. Our planning for the children’s interests, and our collections of resources are based very much on the children’s ideas. We find that every child who comes to join us has their own particular influence on the atmosphere of our centre, and on our environment. Watching them play is completely fascinating, we draw constant inspiration from their ideas and actions. Our ratios of three children to one teacher, and the flexibility of our environment, help us to provide small group sizes and a calm, peaceful atmosphere. We recognise that there are times during the day when children may like some quieter time, and some extra space to themselves. We appreciate that children need time to relax and contemplate, and that they will not always want to be busy. We are totally committed to providing an environment in which children, and their families / whanau can feel secure, respected, valued and fully able to be themselves.
2 to 5 years
RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS continue to be at the heart of all we do. It is important for each child to feel truly valued and respected, with a good sense of belonging, so that they can continue to play and unfold in their own unique way. Our ratios of seven children to one teacher, allow special relationships to form between the children and the teachers. Each child continues to have a primary and a secondary caregiver, ensuring their continued sense of wellbeing and belonging. Children’s play is their work. We think it is essential for them to have the time to be fully focused and engaged in what they are doing, and to know that their ideas and interests are appreciated and valued. Each child brings their own unique view of the world and their individual working theories on life. We continually find their thoughts and ideas innovative, inspiring and a great source of our focused consideration. We like each child to have an influence on the atmosphere and the environment of our centre. Communication is a valued part of our philosophy. The children and teachers develop thoughtful and caring ways of communicating their thoughts and ideas. The children practice, experiment with and make use of their communication skills as they continually immerse themselves in the complexity of play. These skills transfer into all areas of the children’s day to day experiences, resulting in a high level of social competence. Creativity is an integral part of the children’s day. From their individual art work to the way in which they interact with the environment (including their incredible imaginary play), the children have the time and space to express their own creativity. The learning that each individual child (or adult) gains from the creative process is unique to them. The teachers value and appreciate the mutual learning that arises from the careful observation of the children’s creative endeavors. This influences the collection of resources and art / creative materials that are made available. As the children gain more experience they often request or collect the resources they need to make their own ideas a reality. Children often work collaboratively on projects of their choosing. They gain impressive skills of communication, creativity and the intricacies of group dynamics. We allow the children to formulate their own innovative and imaginative ideas about the natural world, science, maths etc. During the precious early childhood years, the world is a very new and inspiring place. Allowing time for a child’s imagination to flourish during this time, and resisting the temptation to provide specific factual details about things they discover and occurrences they notice, helps each child develop and retain a lifelong sense of wonder, and fuels fantastic imaginations. As a child’s knowledge and interests grow, they may like to search for and discuss facts and theories about their discoveries. We think that each child will find their optimal balance of imagination and reality as they set about discovering the world in a way which is unique to them. We find that children learn naturally, and extensively through their play, readily incorporating concepts of literacy, art, science, maths, technology etc. Through their interests and explorations, the children are thinking over and developing working theories of life. This is évident through their construction, their games, art, craft, mud kitchen and sandpit play etc. etc. It is so important that the children are discovering these areas of the curriculum for themselves. They are the experts on exactly what is most meaningful for them at any given time. With careful observation and guidance, the teachers are able to enhance the possibilities for play in a way that is non obtrusive – often by adding to the environment. This allows the children the opportunity to continually direct and enhance their own play. At group times, the children are able to lead group discussions, and to share their ideas and opinions as to what they might like to explore and investigate. Group and individual projects develop through children’s interests over time. These projects may last a day, a week or months. Individual interests often become shared interests, leading to new possibilities for children and teachers. Having the freedom of mind to assimilate and experiment with new concepts in your own way, helps to provide meaning in life, and greatly enhances the discovery of your true talents and passions.