The years of discovery…
What happens in kindergarten, matters for a lifetime
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.” – Fredrick Froebel, founder of kindergarten
Children are innovators, problem solvers, communicators and leaders. At kindergarten, they learn about science, mathematics, technology, language and literacy, music and art. Teachers create learning environments where children are valued, happy and safe, where their identity and culture is celebrated, and where children can explore and learn about the world around them, developing skills and growing knowledge and understanding. Together with families and whānau, qualified teachers extend and progress children’s learning, supporting every child to be competent and confident in their world.
New Zealand Kindergartens is the organisation that represents regional kindergarten associations and its purpose is to grow and strengthen the kindergarten movement.
Kia ora, talofa lava, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, fakaalofa lahi atu, kia orana, fakatalofa atu, malo ni, mauri – welcome to kindergarten.
Jill Bond, CEO of New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) said their members were thrilled with the news the government will restore funding for qualified and registered early childhood teachers to 100%.
The National government reduced the funding to 80 % in 2010 which meant many kindergartens ended up in deficit and had to use financial reserves.
Jill says the funding is so welcome and will give local Associations much needed financial certainty.
“This is just so exciting for us and has been a long time coming. It’s such good news on the back of what we’ve been going through with Covid-19 and a great boost and recognition for our staff who have been working so hard during this time to support our tamariki and our community.”
“It also means we can now start to plan to do some things at our kindergartens which have been deferred because we just couldn’t afford them.”
Member Associations of New Zealand Kindergartens say they want to support parents returning to work this Thursday with the move to Level 2 and have had time to thoroughly prepare.
“Our teachers over the past couple of weeks have had time to get everything ready on site and have been practicing new hygiene routines. We’ve been extremely careful to wipe down all surfaces and in Level 2 we will be cleaning outside surfaces daily as well.” Said Jill Bond, CEO of New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK).
“One thing that the children will love being able to do is get outside on the play equipment and let off some steam. They have really enjoyed coming back under Level 3 and while we can still provide on-line support for those at home, we want to encourage all children to return to our kindergartens to reunite with their friends and teachers.”
The number of children returning to Oamaru kindergartens in Level 3 is low, but growing every day.
Of the Oamaru Kindergarten Association’s five kindergartens, three reopened last week and about 4% of the 220 children enrolled were attending, general manager Julie Craig said.
Children who had returned were either unable to learn at home or had parents who were essential workers. Their return had been “smooth”, Ms Craig said.
It is great to see our Geraldine staff involved in the Ministry of Education Learning from Home videos.
Teachers at Waimea kindergarten in Nelson had a special surprise for the children returning to kindergarten in Alert Level 3.
They created a magical fairy garden in the front entrance, so it was the first thing that tamariki saw when they arrived.
“We recognise that after five weeks at home, the children might’ve been feeling a little anxious about their return, and we wanted to provide something special to welcome them back,” said Head Teacher Rebekah Senior.
Throughout New Zealand, small but happy groups of children had a smooth transition back to kindergarten and early childhood centres according to teachers. First day numbers were smaller than anticipated representing around 3 to 4% of whanau; but these figures are expected to grow as the happiness spreads.
New Zealand Kindergartens CEO Jill Bond and Early Childhood Leadership Secretariat and Waikato Kindergarten Association CEO Maree Stewart said that they were delighted to hear how well the first day had gone for children and teachers.