The programme is child-centred with teachers providing areas of interest for added motivation. Children’s individual interest and the extension of their ideas will form the basis of the programme. Manu offers a wide range of activities, we have an extensive range of natural resources available to the children with an emphasis on caring for the environment in relation to science activities. We plan and evaluate the programme using the Early Childhood Curriculum – Te Whāriki. Below is a brief outline of some curriculum areas:
- Family Grouping & Group Size: We provide a learning centre for children aged 3 years to school age within the same session, with a maximum of 20 children attending at any one time.
- Art and Creativity: Manu provides a large range of artist activities and equipment at all time during the session. Art is an important means of self expression for the child before they are fully able to express their feelings verbally.
- Environmental Focus: We teach the children to respect the environment with many ‘hands on’ experiences. We operate a Forest Friday programme, where we give the children the opportunity to play and ‘be’ in nature in our wonderful Huatoki Forest near by. During these Forest days we often take the opportunity to play and investigate in the Community Orchard in our neighbourhood. The Forest Friday programme operates every 3rd Friday.
- Problem Solving Skills: As we only have a small group of children if there is any conflict between the pupils it is easily identified and the skilled teachers are able to help the child develop self regulation skills within a safe, non-threatening and secure environment.
- A Physically Active Programme: Small children cannot be taught to sit still and listen unless they have already developed their physical skills by first moving in increasingly more complex ways. They need to develop good core strength, a good balance system and strength in their hands and fingers before they are ready to sit and listen or hold a pencil correctly for writing. At Manu we pride ourselves in the active programme that we offer the children to give them every opportunity to be a fully well rounded individual.
- Cooking: Cooking is a large part of the programme at Manu as we have a ‘process cooking’ bench available to the children any time during the session. Cooking is a great way for children to learn many math and science skills, we usually make bread and the children can follow a recipe to make themselves a bun. As the children develop more skills in this area they may multiply the ingredients to make a loaf of bread or we have variations that the children can add to their ingredient list (seeds, different flours or make them into a pizza). At other times the children may make scones or festive pies at Christmas, often the children will make the bread dough into different shapes. The children learn a lot about counting, measurement and about the chemical changes that take place in the cooking process.
- Whanau and Community Involvement: Parents can be as involved as they wish in the Kindergarten community and we rely on family involvement for our excursions outside of the Kindergarten environment. We need extra help when we have our Forest Fridays, we often request parental support for other excursions as well, an example in 2020 would be our Huatoki Hikoi/Walk where we followed the river to the sea on our walk to raise donations for The Blind Foundation. We have a good relationship with local schools and in particular Vogeltown School where we have joined them for a ‘pre-school cross-country’ or visited them for a Kapa Haka performance by their senior students. During Matariki, this year, we held a Whanau Day on a Saturday where families were encouraged to come to Manu and participate in the programme and join us for some kai. We enjoy celebrations and make sure that they reflect the things that are important to our families.
Quotes from the Education Review Office (ERO) Report 2019:
“Children positively engage in the well-resourced indoor and outdoor environments. The principles and strands of Te Whāriki (2017), the early childhood curriculum, underpin the centre’s programme.”
“Planning for learning is informed by children’s interests, preferences, needs and parent aspirations. It includes assessment of individual children and groups’ learning, with observations as the basis for assessment. Portfolios provide attractively presented records of children’s learning journeys.”
“Literacy, creativity, sustainability, music and active movement support children’s developing language, knowledge and understanding.”
Parents and whānau actively support the centre’s local outdoors community programme to promote children’s imaginative play, opportunities for challenge and respect for Papatūanuku.