Teaching and Learning

Children Learn at Kindergarten

At our kindergartens children get such a great start – why wouldn’t you choose kindergarten for your child?

Kindergarten is a place that is:

  • a great start for learning
  • a leader in early education for over 100 years
  • where lifelong skills are developed
  • strong in its belief that each child and their family, whanau is unique and deserves the best.

Our kindergartens provide exciting learning environments that allow children to choose where they want to learn and how.  Research shows that young children learn best by exploring, trying things out, taking risks, finding our what works and what doesn’t work.  Young children learn best through playing in an environment created just for their learning where their interests are supported and learning enhanced rather than just having information fed to them.

From this environment and through having only qualified and registered teachers, children develop a range of skills, knowledge, attitudes, and they also develop learning dispositions as they work alongside other children and adults.

Learning and teaching is guided by the nationally mandated Early Childhood Education Curriculum – Te Whariki and its aspiration:

For children 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 (p9).

To learn best children need the opportunity to explore.  During their creative processes children need to be able to follow their inspirations and thinking.  Teachers make every effort to ensure that children’s wellbeing is nurtured and children are supported.

Sitting down for lessons maybe okay for older children but young children learn best by exploring and discovering alongside someone who is interested.  Holding a pencil and drawing shapes is one way to begin writing; matching things up and sorting things into patterns is the beginning of maths.

For further information please talk to the teachers.


How Teachers Support Children's Learning

“Early childhood is a period of momentous significance for all people growing up in (our) culture…By the time the period is over, children will have formed conceptions of themselves as social beings, as thinkers, and as language users, and they will have reached certain important decisions about their own abilities and their own worth.”

Donaldson, Grieve and Pratt; Early Childhood Development and Education: Readings in Psychology.  (Cited in Te Whariki)


We believe that children should be learning  about what really interests them and teachers are trained to support that learning.  When children take an interest in something, whether it is something they have seen, experienced, or have a fascination with, the teachers will work with them so they can research and explore the topic.  Teachers will discuss and record the learning, and give the child the chance to come back to the learning to explore it deeply and in a concentrated manner.

The process of assessment, planning and evaluation respects each child as a confident and competent learner.  Kindergarten learning focuses on the whole child, acknowledging their social, emotional and interest-related learning.  The learning opportunities that are planned or that happen spontaneously should encourage learning dispositions such as fun, interest, excitement, perseverance, motivation, delight, joy, wonder, reasons, question, amuse,  challenge, explore, discover, and should empower every child to reach their potential.


Parents and Whanau

We believe that parents and whanau should be involved in all aspects of their child’s learning, because parents and whanau have information that supports children’s learning, just as teachers do.

Through working in partnership where everyone’s contribution is valued and respected for the value it adds to a child’s wellbeing and learning that supports the child to be the best they can be.

All teachers employed in South Canterbury Kindergartens in teacher positions are qualified and registered, having undergone at least three years of tertiary education.

They keep up to date with the latest in teaching and learning theory through regular professional development (up to three days minimum a year), and through  the support of senior teachers – experienced teachers who provide pastoral and professional support to kindergarten teams on an individual and group basis to support them in providing the highest quality teaching for each child’s learning.


Our Programme

Te Whariki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum is implemented in all our kindergartens.

Teachers use children’s interests as part of the programme to make the most of learning moments.  When a child talks about or shows interest in something, a teacher will work with them to increase their knowledge and skills.  Children who are encouraged and assisted to learn will become confident and competent lifelong learners.


Using Te Whariki framework, teachers discuss and plan how they can support this learning.  In their programmes they will:

  • Extend children’s learning
  • Support their learning dispositions and the development of their social skills
  • Provide challenges and provocations
  • Provide quality resources for learning
  • Make available learning opportunities to meet children’s learning interests and needs
  • Support their learning of literacy and numeracy.

Teachers keep folders for each child.  These may include written records and digital images of progress and development, and these portfolios of  learning are shared regularly with the child and their family.


Assessment, Planning and Evaluation through noticing, recognising and responding

Teachers will talk to each child, parents and whanau, and to each other to develop the programme for the kindergarten based on children’s learning interests and needs.  This process is ongoing as everyone involved notices children’s learning, recognising what is significant for children, and responds by planning to support the children’s learning.

We welcome any feedback or ideas you have.  If you would like further information on our programme, please talk to the teachers or refer to Te Whariki – the early childhood education national curriculum (click here to view the full document Te Whariki).