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Curriculum describes everything that happens in the Centre that impacts on a child’s learning, development and well-being. Along with the use of Te Whaariki: The New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum we incorporate aspects of the Emmi Pikler Philosophy and the Reggio Emilia Approach into our curriculum.

We acknowledge Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand, and are committed to embracing our bi-cultural heritage.

In our Nursery our teachers provide a safe and loving environment where infants can grow and develop early independence.  Inspired by the work of Emmi Pikler our environment allows children to discover as much as possible on their own, with the comfort of knowing that their teachers are close by.

Dr Emmi Pikler defined seven guiding principles for caring for babies:

  1. Babies need our full attention – especially when involved in caring activity times.

  2. We need to be calm and operate at a slower, relaxed pace around babies.

  3. Caregivers need to take the time to make nappy changing, feeding, bathing and dressing, unhurried and pleasant quality time with the baby as a respected, active partner.

  4. Working together with babies on activities, which includes plenty of talking about what we’re doing and giving them the time to respond.

  5. Never put a baby into a position which they cannot get into by themselves. This includes keeping baby care equipment, like walkers and highchairs to a minimum.

  6. Allow babies uninterrupted time for play. This gives them time to experience independence and we see the beginnings of self-esteem and confidence as a result.

  7. Pay respectful attention to babies’ communication cues.

We’re very happy to discuss our philosophy around care of babies. We never lose sight of the fact that we are caring for your child in partnership with you.

For the older children we embrace the Reggio Emilia Educational Approach and incorporate it into our programmes. 

The program supports independence, group and individual learning experiences. A range of indoor and outdoor activities are provided daily. We have a strong focus on assisting children in discovering who they are, so they can express their own opinions and nurture their own ideas. ICT is integrated across all of the preschool programmes.

Curriculum principles that we adhere to:

  • Activities should be carefully matched to the development stage and abilities each individual child has reached.
  • Children are central as the decision-makers and initiators, constructing their own knowledge through active learning.
  • The people (adults and children) with whom the child interacts are of central importance.
  • We focus on what the child can do (not what they can't do)
  • The imagination is a critical part of a child's inner structure. Under the right conditions it will emerge.
  • A child's success is rewarded with encouragement and specific praise.
  • Children need time away from adults so they can create 'worlds of their own'.
  • Parents are the child's first and main educators in the early years.
  • Everything interlinks - learning is not compartmentalised.
  • Children should be helped to review their own learning.

In practice
What does this mean in practice for your child?

  • Children learn with and alongside others.
  • They should feel good about who they are.
  • Learning includes developing a sense of belonging and independence.
  • Physical abilities need to be developed.
  • Creative abilities such as art, musical dance and movement are also important.
  • Acceptable boundaries and limits are respected.
  • Children are helped to develop language and listening skills
  • Learning to look after yourself, others, belongings and environment are fundamental skills.
  • Building on early maths, science and reading skills at the child's own pace.
  • Encouraging problem solving, negotiation skills and the resilience to challenge themselves.
  • Learning about, appreciating and respecting individual choices.
  • Developing the confidence to assert themselves honestly with guidance.
  • Having fun in an enjoyable environment.

Parents  and Whanau
Parents  and Whanau are a critical part of every child's learning. Therefore, at Natural Steps, communication with you is one of the most important things we can do. We'll keep you informed every step of the way, through email, newsletters, our Weekly Steps , your child's on-line portfolio and of course our staff are available to talk to every day.