Kristin School was established in 1973 by a small group of parents and included a kindergarten as a key component of the education offered to its students.
The kindergarten is owned and operated by the Kristin School Charitable Trust and is part of a large K-13 independent school in Albany, on Auckland’s North Shore.
“Our 2013 ERO report highlighted our very experienced and well qualified team, headed by the kindergarten Dean. The transition teachers (for New Entrants and Year 1s) are all Primary trained, as well as having specialist qualifications in early childhood,” says Junior School Principal Diana Patchett.
“The whole team is a professional unit, committed to their own lifelong learning as well as looking to support developing ECE teachers on their journey. Our Kindergarten to Year 13 environment also lends itself to senior students working casually or part time, or simply attending on occasion as they consider their own post-school destinations.”
Kristin’s roll represents a mix of ethnicities across all year levels, representative of the multi-national composition of greater Auckland.
The learning programme is a unique feature of the Kristin Kindergarten, says Mrs Patchett. “It is designed and planned to meet the needs of the individual children.”
"Our relevant and meaningful curriculum planning and delivery is part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), which is delivered across all year levels in the Junior School. Teaching and learning experiences are driven by student inquiry, and are therefore stimulating and engaging. The programme also includes specialist teacher instruction in Maori, Mandarin Chinese, Creative and Performing Arts, Music and Physical Education."
As the kindergarten is a part of a K-13 school environment children have the opportunity to interact with a wide range of older students. They also have access to all the facilities and resources that Kristin has to offer. The kindergarten students visit the school’s library regularly, attend special assemblies and events in the auditorium, and have access to numerous sporting facilities including netball courts, tennis courts, football fields, hockey turf and gymnasium.
The school stands on 40 acres of park-like grounds and so the kindergarten enjoys having two playground spaces, including five sandpits, a vegetable/herb garden, numerous citrus trees and a worm farm. A rabbit hutch and chook run are currently being developed in the kindergarten, and Mrs Patchett says her team are looking forward to enhancing this aspect of natural interactions with the children.
The kindergarten community offers parents social and educational opportunities, as well as up-to-date student information via two online learning platforms (myKristin and StoryPark).
“At the end of the day we are especially proud of the strength of the partnership between home and kindergarten here at Kristin. Our community shares high expectations and values positive relationships," says Mrs Patchett.
“We are mindful that the Kristin Kindergarten is a child's first introduction to formal education, so we take the time to establish strong connections with the child and the family, uncover the unique gifts that each child brings to the centre and encourage their delightful curiosity and inquisitiveness."
“As we move through the programme, we maintain open communication with families to ensure that each child is 'future ready', that they have the academic, social, physical and emotional skills to succeed in the Junior School. The pace at which our young students develop is individual, so we are careful to manage the transition in a way that is in the best interests of the child,” says Mrs Patchett.
"We give children the opportunity to be stimulated in a variety of ways. Our specialist offerings in languages, creative and performing arts, and sport encourage children to discover their passions and provide a platform that the school can build on as the children mature. We also offer after school activities in dance, music and a variety of sports that the children enjoy and offer support for busy families."
Kristin Kindergarten’s philosophy and teaching programmes are derived from the International Baccalaureate PYP and Te Whariki. The PYP is a curriculum framework designed for students aged 3 to 12. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and beyond.
“Our students transition to school exceptionally well, leaving the kindergarten with well-established literacy and numeracy skills, independence, confidence and a love of learning,” says Mrs Patchett.
“It is my hope that the Kristin Kindergarten is somewhere parents feel proud to send their children, confident that they are in the best of care and are beginning a journey that will set them up for success, whatever that may be.”
The Kristin Kindergarten is committed to its own journey of lifelong learning, with short-term goals to maintain and improve its communication with families using digital media and to refine the mechanisms and benchmarks for tracking student development and progress.
The Kristin Kindergarten is proud of the service it offers to children and their families, and is delighted to be admitted into the My ECE Hall of Excellence for 2015.