Southland Kindergarten Association wins cultural award Kindergarten Association wins cultural award

Southland Kindergarten Association has been recognised as the national winner of the New Zealand Kindergartens’ (NZK) cultural award through its inspiring work to help children learn most effectively.

NZK President James Patea said the Southland team had put huge effort into learning about and observing the best way to inspire children to develop their academic and social potential. They did this through activities in and outside of the classroom, various art forms, including classical and other music, an outdoor art installation, nature discovery and use of reflective journals.

The association uses the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which is based on student-centred and directed learning observed and recorded by teachers to develop the most appropriate ways to help children develop their potential. Association members have attended two conferences in Italy and several in Australia to cement knowledge about this teaching tool.

Children enjoyed a purpose-built “playscape” and are encouraged to think and do.

The association has a waka near its nature programme distinctly placed to align with the horizon and local mountain. A QR code is embedded in the signage so visitors from the wider community can share digitally the journey of the carving and the children’s retelling of the legend of the Takitimu mountains.

“The passion of the teachers to encourage the best from the children shines through and the results the children are achieving are outstanding,” Mr Patea said.