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Philosophy at ECLC

01 May 2024

Our philosophy embodies the principles of the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki He Whariki Matauranga mo nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa - The Strands of the Woven Web, for the children of New Zealand. Learn about our philosophy at ECLC.

Te Whāriki He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa


Whāngaia ka tupu, ka puāwai

That which is nurtured, blossoms and grows

Our children, whānau | families and the teaching team form a warm, rich and diverse community of learners that is supported within the wider University of Canterbury. We value the opportunity this gives us to be part of the University environment and the access to other learning experiences on campus.

We recognise tangata whenua and that our unique bicultural heritage is founded in Te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi and that our children experience the languages, music, art and stories of the cultures of Aotearoa. We welcome, value and respect the diversity within our Centre irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion, socioeconomic status, or gender differences.

We recognise the important role of whānau tangata and the importance of developing respectful, reciprocal relationships with tamariki and families. We value and respect the unique knowledge and contributions of whānau in the decision making process around their child’s care and education.

Teachers attend scheduled meetings sharing knowledge and engaging in reflective practice as well as discussing programme planning for each child. Through learning stories, observation and discussion, teachers enhance opportunities to build children’s learning dispositions and working theories.


Under Twos

In the under twos, we believe that any environment children come into contact with has a powerful impact on what they learn about themselves, the people and the world around them. We believe our children require the freedom to explore the environment in a calm and peaceful atmosphere at their own pace.

Following the principles of primary caregiving, we promote respect, empathy, and trust with our children. By providing a key teacher to each child, we enable the child to develop a trusting relationship with the teacher, which supports trusting relationships with other teachers and children. Respectful, reciprocal and sensitive relationships support children’s autonomy, self-regulation, positive sense of self, self-motivation, sense of fun and ability to cope with change. We promote an environment of free movement, where children are not placed in positions (such as sitting or standing) that they cannot get into by themselves.


Over Twos

Our over twos children enjoy an environment where they feel a sense of security, belonging and can have fun. We have an emergent curriculum that encourages and empowers tamariki to learn through play, both independently and alongside their peers and teachers. Our philosophy is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early Childhood Curriculum. Children are viewed as individuals who are supported by caring adults to reach their full potential. The programme is based on the interests of each child and provides tamariki with time to investigate, explore, discover and to make sense of the world around them. Children are encouraged to be self-motivated learners and creative thinkers while building a foundation for life-long learning.


Our Values

Our cohesive and dedicated teaching team provides a quality teaching and learning environment by developing and sustaining supportive staff relationships where we share and value individual and collective knowledge. We are committed to maintaining a high level of trained and registered teachers thus ensuring we offer a high quality programme.

Our learning environment is shaped by the values of:

Tuākana Tēina
The expert shares with the learner

I can be both an expert and a learner.

My siblings can be my teachers.

I can share my knowledge

I can take on different roles in different circumstances.


Learning together

I am confident to share my ideas with others

I share my knowledge through words and actions

I am a learner and a teacher

My teachers believe in me and allow me time to problem solve

My teachers know they have a lot to learn from me


Kindness and caring

I feel welcomed

My whānau are welcomed and included

I am respected and valued

I will show kindness towards others and it will be shown to me

I respect my environment

I know how to be a kind player.

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