Dr Anne Meade and Meg Kwan from Daisies Early Education and Care Centre joined The Education Hub for a webinar focused on authentically designing a curriculum aligned to local context. Below are some follow up questions that were asked on the evening but we didn’t have a chance to cover during the webinar.
1. What are your teacher-child ratios?
Te Pihinga (2 ½ years and over) holds a licence for 30 tamariki over 2 years. We have six kaiako, plus our head kaiako. Te Purapura is licensed for 30 and has eight kaiako, plus a head teacher. The children are not divided into room groups, except for babies under 12 months in Te Purapura.
2. Is your approach to the programme quite “structured”?
Our approach to kaiako planning is quite structured—considerable intentionality goes into everything kaiako do. However, in the play space this translates to well designed, free flow play, with intentionally-chosen and varied play resources. At times during the day kaiako invite tamariki to join them in a specific facilitated experience. There are two set times in Te Pihinga whare: morning hui (where tamariki hear about the day’s opportunites and suggest their own hui ideas), and kai times. In Te Purapura, the rhythm of each day largely fits with the rhythm posed by tamariki.
3.When you progress from one curriculum focus to another, do you link them together? How?
Not strictly, no. However, the focus often comes up from observations/ documentation of tamariki learning interests made during the last investigation. While this happens, it is not a rule. The life-worthy learning principle that applies to our investigations means that, although we may ‘end’ an investigation, its life-worthy learning stays woven through our curriculum and pedagogy.
4. Do you plan specifically for priority learners / Māori learners/SEN learners?
Each tamaiti is planned for specifically and viewed holistically not only as an individual but within the culture that has made their whānau who they are. A key teacher’s role includes making sure that s/he understand the needs and wants of a tamaiti and their whānau and sharing it with the wider team so all kaiako contribute to supporting the tamaiti appropriately. If a tamaiti has an IEP, that is displayed in the office for all kaiako to keep up to date, supplemented by discussion at Team Hui.
5. When you go out for excursions is it by foot and how far do you go?
We use several methods to go on trips, primarily foot (or buggy depending on age) and public transport. Recently, we’ve taken tamariki further, to the Botanical Gardens in Wellington. Our weekly Nature Explore excursion to Khandallah Park/ Tarikākā Maunga involves the group walking to the train, catching it two stops, walking to the bush and then returning the same way.
6. How often do you organise whānau evenings?
Smaller whānau evenings are held every 6-8 months per rōpū iti. These evenings combine a parent workshop and 1:1 parent-teacher conversations when whānau express their aspirations for the coming months. Large whānau social gatherings occur twice annually, around significant events like Matariki and the end of the year.
By Dr Anne Meade and Meg Kwan