At Michael Park Kindergarten, we have carefully created an environment that makes children feel accepted, respected, and free to learn at their own pace. As soon as you step inside, you’ll notice the home-like feeling of inviting colours, earthy tones, and handmade wooden toys – you will also hear the giggles of children happily at play! We understand that each stage of a child’s development has unique qualities, and we support the students to experience these fully as they grow and develop. Our kindergarten values self-directed play in a creative, natural environment – we give your child time and space to develop healthy, wholesome character qualities and social skills.
There are four kindergarten groups, each with children of mixed ages from 4-6 years old. We give thoughtful consideration to these groupings, ensuring that children who share a first language, family relationship (i.e., siblings or cousins) or cultural connection are grouped together.
Play Te Tūhura me te Tākaro
Our Ellerslie kindergarten programme provides a nurturing, fun environment for your child.
Play is valued as the main learning opportunity, since it is through creative, self-directed play that children develop essential skills required for this stage of development; including cognitive and problem solving skills, creativity and imagination, self-expression, concentration, investigation, language, numeracy, and social skills. While the children are playing, the adults in the kindergarten carry out real and meaningful tasks (e.g. cooking or gardening), joining in with the children when a need is expressed or to facilitate healthy interaction.
Toys and creative resources have all been lovingly handmade from natural materials, or come straight from the great outdoors.
You won’t spot a plastic toy in our kindergarten – we want to allow children to directly experience the beauty of the natural world, enriching their capacity for imagination and creativity.
Daily Life Ngā Nekeneke
A glimpse into the daily life of Michael Park Kindergarten … a place where food, rhythms, festivals and whānau are appreciated and celebrated.
Food is prepared with care and respect to support healthy eating habits, digestion and physical development. Where possible, it is grown organically or biodynamically. We cook every day to provide a nutritious, delicious morning tea and the children bring a lunch box for later in the day. In keeping with our Steiner philosophy there is no packaged or sugary food in lunch boxes. Meals are served and eaten together in the spirit of love and gratitude.
Rhythm is also important for children as it allows them to expand out into the world and then to come together in a more focused experience. Rhythm creates a feeling of wellbeing and joy that helps children feel secure, relaxed and eager to play. At our Steiner kindergarten, rhythms are simple and unhurried. Teachers plan their work, yet there are always opportunities for spontaneous events which arise out of momentary needs – of a child, a good idea or request, the weather, nature or an unexpected happening.
Festivals, including birthdays, seasonal and cultural festivals, Easter and Christmas are celebrated in a variety of ways. We value festivals as they give opportunities for the children to experience joy and wonder, giving and receiving, caring for others, a sense of belonging, being special and valued.
Although kindergarten teachers are responsible for providing the programme, parents, family and whānau are encouraged to contribute to the curriculum; cooking, gardening, developing the outdoor spaces, making music, crafting, weaving, harakeke, telling stories, repairing toys, and helping out with maintenance.
Kindergarten sessions begin at 8.30am and finish at 2.00pm.
Our Philosophy Te Kaupapa o te Kura o Waiatarua
From a Steiner perspective, human development, learning and achievement are motivated from within the child as well as reflecting outer influences.
We see children as intentional and purposeful learners seeking meaningful relationships in the world around them. Children’s growth, learning and development is interrelated, interconnected and complex and in this context development means the integration of the whole human being body, soul and spirit:
- Te Taha Tinana – The active physical and physiological organism
- Te Taha Hinengaro – The thinking, feeling and willing human soul
- Te Taha Wairua – Self/Identity, the spiritual core of each human being
In this sense, the kindergarten whānau aim to create an environment that meets the holistic needs of children.
There are a variety of domestic, artistic and creative learning opportunities available at our Steiner kindergarten; for example: painting, drawing, modelling, and working with fabric and carpentry, as well as plenty of time for adventure and discovery in the garden, where children get to observe first-hand life cycles, the elements and the seasons. Children also participate in singing and movement and the day finishes with story time, which may be a read-aloud story or puppet play.
Our programme provides opportunities for children to learn from real experiences; exploring their environment, using resources creatively and sharing experiences with others, rather than from computers and televisions. There is therefore no screen time in the kindergarten and parents enrolling here are encouraged to follow this at home. One of the main reasons for this is because we have found that screen time doesn’t encourage creativity and sociability. Our belief is that children deserve to soak up the best the natural world has to offer, and this extends to toys and resources, which are all sourced from natural materials.
We are always open to questions about the Steiner philosophy our Ellerslie kindergarten is guided by – please do feel free to contact us with any comments or queries you may have.