Our kindergartens provide an environment that honours and protects the precious years of early childhood.
We have two beautiful kindergarten houses that share a wonderful large garden at 33 Wallace Street, Motueka – Kowhai House and Mawhero House.
Both kindergartens feature a carefully planned daily rhythm and the fostering of imaginative and creative play. Our daily rhythm balances periods of free play with times of more directed activity. Playthings are either gathered from the outdoors – such as pine cones, smooth stones and shells; or are hand-made from natural materials. This enables the children to experience directly the truth and beauty inherent in the natural world.
Each morning begins with creative play. For the young child, play is their ‘work’. The toys provided, with their simple, unfinished form, allows the child to use their creativity and imagination in their play experiences. As they transform simple objects into homes, castles, farms or aeroplanes, they are practicing and finding mastery of their own physical and social skills. These imaginative and self initiated activities enable the child to develop the creative and independent capacity for thinking that will be needed for later intellectual learning.
Imagination is further enlivened through the variety of artistic activities offered. Each day of the week has its own special feature; for example:
Monday – baking
Tuesday – painting
Other activities include harakeke weaving, bees’ wax modeling, fleece felting, and drawing. Children soon learn the rhythm and look forward to each activity.
After play, we gather for ‘Morning Circle’ – a time for movement through songs, poems, finger plays, ring games and simple plays. For example, for Spring Festival there is live music as the children practice dancing around the maypole holding colourful ribbons. The children all know a variety of songs to celebrate spring. Morning circle is followed by a shared morning tea, which is prepared during the morning. This social time is enjoyed by all, as we sit together and give thanks for our food.
The last part of the morning is spent outside in the garden. Here children may continue with their imaginative and creative play with one another, while engaging with the garden features. Or they may join the teachers for work and care of the vegetable garden or other garden tasks such as raking the leaves that fall from our grandfather oak tree in autumn. Our morning session concludes with a puppet story inside and singing goodbye.
During the year the kindergartens celebrate many festivals; we celebrate Easter, the Autumn Harvest, Midwinter, Spring, Michaelmas and Christmas. There are lanterns in winter and a maypole dance in spring. These festivals are times of magic and wonder for children and adults alike. They are also marker posts for the yearly rhythm.
The strong daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms bring all these activities into a form which the children can experience again and again. A sense of familiarity and security is created which reduces feelings of reserve and increases confidence and joy.
Please contact the office for further information or to arrange a time to visit and talk with our teachers. Stepping inside a Steiner kindergarten has won many an adult over and started a journey into something special – not just for their child, but for the whole family.
For enrollment details click here.
Mawhero House (3- 6 ½ years old. Max 20 Children – 2 Teachers)
Monday to Friday, morning sessions: 8:45 am – 1:15 pm
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday afternoon sessions: 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm.
Kowhai House (3 – 6 1/2 years old. Max 20 children – 2 teachers)
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, morning sessions: 8:45 am – 1:15 pm
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday afternoon sessions: 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm.
Between Term Kindergarten (open to all the children under 6 years old enrolled at our kindergarten)
We open 48 weeks of the year as our service is in support for those of our parents who work or who need some extra care for their child during the school holidays. Available from 8:45am – 1:15pm each week day.
Education Review office
The Ministry of Education reviewed our Kindergarten at the end of 2014. Here are a few of the comments that ERO (Education Review Office) shared with us, in our discussions together. They noticed how warmly that parents and families are welcomed, and that partnership with parents was actively fostered. The strong links between home and the kindergarten was seen as positive, enabling teachers to take the time to know the children and the families well. There is a sense of a community of learners, and ERO noticed the positive relationships between all – parents, teachers and children, where relationships are supported in purposeful ways. They noticed how children are encouraged to care for themselves, one another and the environment. Teachers, themselves, model care and respect for one another and the children, and ERO commented on the nurturing, caring and warm interactions between teachers and children. The children’s social skills are well supported, where children play co-operatively for sustained lengths of time, and enjoy friendships. ERO noticed how children can express their ideas, and extend on their creative, constructive and imaginative play, through good use of open-ended natural holistic play resources. They described the kindergarten as a child-centred learning environment, and noticed that the teachers are responsive to the children’s interests. They saw that children respond well to the naturally integrated rhythms and routines, and observed the way in which the philosophy – of Waldorf education – was strongly reflected in the practice and environment. ERO appreciated the provision of a calm, peaceful and natural environment, which is beautifully presented. They noticed the ability of the teachers to model engaging language in support of the development of children’s oral skills, including Te Reo, and other cultural perspectives. Mathematics is naturally woven throughout the teaching and learning experiences. They remarked on how the teachers work well together and communicate effectively, with a distributive model of leadership, where each one’s strengths are recognised and made good use of in the collaborative whole. There are good management and monitoring systems in place, with a useful annual strategic plan.
The 2015 ERO report can be viewed on the Ministry of Education Website