The early years of a child’s life are fundamental to their emotional, cognitive and social development. Research emphasizes that high quality early childhood education and care lays the foundation for success at school and through a child’s journey into adulthood.
At Carterton Preschool our vision is:
“To equip children with the skills they need for social and educational experiences for life, through our commitment to excellence in all aspects of early childhood education.”
We achieve this by employing extra staff so that we have a high teacher to child ratio. We also take the time to invest in our centre’s and our people so that they continue to grow in professional knowledge and expertise in order to achieve the best possible learning outcomes we can for our tamariki. As a result, kaiako are able to identify and meet the needs of each individual child. Kaiako work hard to create Preschool as a “home away from home” where meaningful and lasting relationships are developed between educators, tamariki and whānau. We encourage whānau to be closely involved in their child/ren’s learning to support us in becoming an extension of your home life where relationships, cultures and activities that are important to your child are recognized and valued. As a result, Carterton Preschool will provide your child with an environment where they are nurtured and empowered to thrive.
Due to our strong focus on preparing tamariki for their transition to school, we have a structured daily routine. This helps to develop our children’s resilience, their strategies for coping with change and develops their ability to stop what they are doing to follow instructions or focus on activity.
- Once children have settled in for the day we start with a morning mat time to welcome everybody, reflect on our whakapapa through our pepeha and set the Kaupapa for the day of kindness and respect through our karakia. Then the tamariki split into two groups (Pukeko – 3year olds and Kiwi – 4 and over) where the children have a turn once a week to get up in front of the group and tell news. This aims to support tamariki to build their confidence at speaking in front of others, strengthen links between home and Preschool, and learn active listening skills.
- Morning tea follows news time. Independence is promoted as tamariki wash their hands and sit around tables for kai. Teacher’s role model conversation, table etiquette and manners. Fruit is shared and then the tamariki make their own sandwiches.
- Between morning tea and lunch time the tamariki engage in free play. This is a time where Kaiako provide learning experiences (both planned and spontaneous) that follow and extend interests they have noticed tamariki expressing. Tamariki are encouraged to work in small groups as well as independently. Social, cognitive, physical and emotional learning is supported by Kaiako.
- 12pm the bell rings and the tamariki gather on the mat to learn a new phonetic sound every week. The “Jolly Phonics” programme provides a song to help tamariki develop their understanding of each sound and the accompanying story inspires tamariki to draw from their on knowledge and think of words which contain the sound of the week. Then, again the tamariki are split into two groups. The Pukeko group engage in games, music and movement or activities that promote developing their co-ordination and ability to follow a complex set of instructions. The tamariki in the Kiwi group have one day a week where they have a phonic worksheet which provides them with opportunities to develop skills in readiness for school such as; following a complex set of instructions, holding a pen, forming letters, using scissors and gluing the sheet into a book. On any other days that they attend, tamariki play games with rules during this time to promote turn taking, patience, independent learning and leadership.
- Children who require a moe are provided with a bed after lunch. Otherwise the afternoon is dedicated to free play. Afternoon tea is provided at 2.30pm for those who wish to stop and eat. Sometimes this is preceded with a short mat time of puppetry/yoga/dance or stories.
This structured daily routine follows the school term timetable. During the school holidays we run a Holiday Programme which offers tamariki activities and experiences that are exciting, fun and different from the Preschool term programme. They are based on current interests within the group of tamariki and events happening in our community.
Throughout the term time we also have large group programme focuses which are drawn from the children’s interests. Learning outcomes are guided by Te Whāriki (the early childhood curriculum). Learning experiences provided by Kaiako are derived from experience, professional development, research and pedagogical theory.
Other unique aspects to our programme:
Transition to School Group: Children join our transition to school group 4 months before they start school. The focus for this group of children is to ensure that they have the independence and self-help skills needed for school, as well as a basic understanding of literacy and numeracy concepts, the ability to follow complex sets of instructions, social skills and the ability to listen and pay attention at group times.
Reading Programme: We also offer our transition to school children a reading programme one morning a week. Each child has 15 minutes of individual time with the teacher. The programme incorporates both early reading and early literacy skills, using the Jolly phonics programme.
Excursions and Community Events: These provide us with the opportunity to be a part of our community. We enjoy being involved in local annual events such as the Carterton Christmas Parade. We have a centre van which allows us to go for weekly trips to the Mangatarere Stream, visit the library and attend events at our local primary schools. We go on bus trips to Capital E theatre productions, Pukaha Mount Bruce, and other fantastic locations that the Wairarapa has to offer. We walk to our local reserves such as Sparks park and utilize the soccer fields and playground behind Preschool. This provides our tamariki with the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with people and places in our community, as well as teach the tamariki about road rules and how to keep safe.