Our programme for both the Under 2s (0 – 2 years old) and Over 2s (2 – 5 years old) units is based on the Te Whāriki New Zealand Early Childhood curriculum Te Whāriki He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa - The Strands of the Woven Web for the Children of New Zealand.
Free play is a founding principle within our Centre. When children play, they draw on experiences – things they have seen adults do, things they may have read or watched – to create games and scenarios that they can act out. Free play allows children to explore and discover whilst they creatively develop their thinking skills and imagination.
In the Under 2s unit, we assign each child a primary caregiving teacher who is responsible for creating a secure attachment relationship with the child and their family. This creates a strong and trusting relationship while the child settles, and maintains consistency with care routines between the home and the Centre. In the child’s second year, the primary caregiving teacher will encourage the child to start building relationships with the extended group of teachers and other children in preparation for the transition into the Over 2s unit.
Our programme is planned in conjunction with Te Whāriki New Zealand Early Childhood curriculum, and includes learning journals as a critical link for whānau | families to be involved with their child’s progress. We invite whānau | families to share your family stories, events and outings in your child’s learning journal under the section for ‘parent’s voice’.
For the majority of the day, children in the Under 2s unit are free to choose from a wide variety of activities. Teachers provide play equipment including natural resource such as pinecones, driftwood and flax and work alongside children to encourage and extend their learning.
We assign a key teacher to children in the Over 2s unit to observe play, document learning through learning stories and plan future pathways to extend learning based on the child’s abilities and interests.
Each day we offer a large variety of experiences, both indoor and outdoor, to the children and encourage them to choose what they participate in. We provide experiences in both small and large groups and encourage individual expression through creativity. Our core curriculum areas of literature, puzzles, music, collage, play dough, painting, family/ dramatic play, carpentry, sand and water play, blocks and climbing equipment are available each day to facilitate these creative experiences and exploration.
Children bring their own morning and afternoon tea and lunch, with meal and snack times preceded by a karakia (“for our family, friends and food we say thank you”). Children are able to have a rest when required and sleep if needed after lunch time.
The UC campus is a unique environment for children to explore with our teachers. Often you will see groups of excited children walking through places like the Ilam Gardens and surrounding fields as well as visiting departments such as Zoology and Geology, the libraries and the University Bookshop.