All of our programmes across the centre incorporate the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whaariki, you will see and hear the values and the principles of the five strands throughout your child’s day whether on the walls, in portfolios or within the routines.
These strands are:
These strands are woven into everything that incorporates the child’s day at the centre, reflecting the holistic way children learn and grow.
More information on the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whaariki can be found on the Ministry of Education's website.
Reggio Emilia Philosophy
Heathcote Valley Preschools’ programme is also inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. The Reggio Emilia philosophy is different, as is our New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whaariki. The Reggio Emilia philosophy views every child as strong and competent and encourages us to embrace each child's strengths, interests and differences through documentation of their thoughts, ideas, theories and learning processes. The documentation of these aspects gives the child a feeling of empowerment and a sense of pride in themselves as capable of constructing their own knowledge.
Reggio Emilia is a town in Northern Italy that many regard as providing the best preschool education in the world. Through using elements of the Reggio Emilia approach we create an environment which actively encourages the children to take risks with their learning, to think creatively, be inquisitive, and open minded. At the same time we promote commitment and responsibility, confidence, co-operation, enthusiasm, independence and integrity. Children are provided with opportunities and time to freely experiment, explore and play, but are encouraged and assisted during these times to master the many tools and skills of communication, enabling them to actively translate what they perceive, not only through spoken word, but also through other potent languages. Children’s ideas will be embraced as a base for investigations, which will follow through the curriculum structure.
Teachers are fundamental to this type of education as they are required to work in collaboration with children, they respect the children as confident competent learners and communicators, there are no restrictions or limitations on the estimation of what the children can do or become. Special characteristics of this teaching and learning will be reflected in the documentation as this ensures that children’s thoughts and theories become visible. It is where celebration occurs, where recognition occurs, where reflection occurs, where achievements are made. Often these experiences are shared with the families through means such as exhibitions and or performances.
The Teacher, Parent and Child Roles
The Teacher - As teachers in a Reggio inspired centre we see it as our role to capture and extend the children’s interests-we do this through documentation and assessment. We use written observations, photos and technology, planning meetings, documentation boards and books to aid us in this. All of these combine to create a programme that follows the children’s interests and fosters their learning. Communication and collaboration amongst the teachers is essential during assessment as it allows us to see the many views of the child and their learning process rather than just one - thus creating a deeper dialogue between the educators and also the opportunity to see all of the possibilities that may lie ahead.
The Child - In Reggio Emilia the child is viewed as powerful, competent and capable of constructing their own knowledge. Their ideas and theories are respected and teachers actively support the children’s interests, therefore the child guides the programme. It is important that the child has a role and voice in the documentation process. It is also encouraged that children have a part in the assessment process themselves. This could take place in many forms, for example– the child's voice, photographs, documenting their own learning and even designing and creating their own documentation boards.
The Parent - We realize how powerful the parent / whanau role in assessment is; No one knows their child better. Our “Parents Voice” forms and learning stories written by families contribute to our assessment and give parents and whanau a voice in their child’s learning. Documentation and assessment also creates a dialogue among families, staff and children as it encourages parents to see and understand not only what their children are doing but also how and why.
“The pleasure of learning, of knowing and of understanding is one of the most important and basic feelings which every child expects to receive from the experiences he or she undergoes alone, with other children or with adults. It is a decisive feeling that needs to be reinforced because the pleasure survives even when reality may prove that learning, knowing and understanding require difficulty and effort. It is in this capacity of survival that pleasure transforms itself into joy!”
- Loris Malaguzzi (Reggio Emilia) 1987