The New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki is the foundation document that, as teachers we work with, weaving together the principles, strands and goals within our teaching practice. The integrated nature of learning and the holistic development of children, drawn from Te Whāriki ensures that activities that children engage in are seen from many lights and lenses. One example of an integrated activity is claywork which can be seen from Science, Mathematic, Technology and creative Art perspectives. Children can benefit from knowledgeable adults in an activity such as this as whereby children can learn how to mold the clay, use slip to stick pieces together, and learn how to build objects. When working with clay children are working with a natural material and can use water to mold and change the properties of the clay. Children are also able to change its shape, measure its weight and divide it into a number of pieces. Clay can also become a technological process where children can use tools, plan their process and create objects, which is very exciting!
At Happy Feet each child has their own portfolio to document their learning both online using Storypark and also in book form. Journals will include both individual and group learning stories, anecdotes, photos, and artwork. We will encourage children to take these journals home to share with their families and revisit their learning.
Our four year old children will also take part in a transition to school programme that will focus on child led interests and collaboration in a small group environment. Teachers will work on long term projects with children while fostering skills and incorporating aspects such as literacy, numeracy, science, and natural world learning. We see children as explorers, scientists, and innovators. Our aim is for children to pursue the answers to their questions, to have an inquiring mind, and a thirst for learning that will help prepare them to take the next step in their learning journey at school.