Written by My ECE
© My ECE
The Kindergarten at Kristin School in Auckland enjoys the challenge of embracing Te Whaariki and a Reggio influence as part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme at the school.
Supporting children to be ‘future ready’ is Kristin’s focus and the catalyst for professional conversations and goal setting.
Setting children up for success is an aspiration that comes from the expectations of the Kindergarten and wider school community.
The focus on academic achievement comes in part from being an early childhood service within an independent International Baccalaureate (IB) school.
Parents have high hopes for their children and believe that enrolling their 3.5 year old will offer them an opportunity for academic, social and professional success. Senior subject selection and tertiary pathways are occasional topics of discussion in Kindergarten enrolment interviews.
Kristin Kindergarten then is tasked with meeting such expectations while also embracing Te Whaariki and a Reggio influence as part of their IB curriculum. This requires educating parents on looking beyond pure academic programmes and valuing the development of the ‘whole child’.
Communication with parents includes reassurance that their child is on the right track, but it is emphasised that ‘Childhood is not a race to read, write or count; but is a small window of time to learn and develop at a pace right for each individual child.’
What changes will happen in the world between now and when our children enter the workforce in 2030? We simply don’t know the university programmes or possible careers that might lie ahead. Therefore, the Kindergarten supports children to be ‘future ready’ by teaching the new three ‘Rs’ of Research, Reason and Relationships which respect children’s natural abilities such as curiosity, independent learning and intellectual capacities. In practice this means providing opportunities for children to develop empathy, open-mindedness, creativity, communication and an emphasis on problem finding as much as problem solving.
Increased communication with New Entrant and Year 1 teachers helps meet the needs of children coming into the IB school to be future ready for this next step in their education.
Also the Kindergarten shares their objectives with parents and other local ECE services to help them understand the components of school readiness. The components include goals for children to achieve as part of a rigorous preparation for school in the ‘safety net’ of kindergarten. The Kindergarten works with children and families to achieve literacy and numeracy, physical skill and social behaviour skill objectives.
Kristin Kindergarten has become proactive and purposeful in balancing expectations of high academic achievement and supporting children to be ‘future ready’ while also valuing development of the ‘whole’ child.