The kindergarten movement has a unique place in New Zealand’s history, and first emerged in the form of Froebel societies.
The Principles of a Froebelian Education include:
- recognition of the uniqueness of each child's capacity and potential
- a holistic view of each child's development
- an ecological view of mankind in the natural world
- a recognition of the integrity of childhood in its own right
- a recognition of the child as part of the community
While kindergartens have evolved over the years to meet the needs of today’s families, they have retained the principles and values they were originally founded on: providing the opportunity for all children in New Zealand to receive a quality early childhood education, remaining at the heart of communities with close links to primary schools, keeping a focus on the environment and nature and an emphasis on children learning through play.
Importantly, kindergartens are not-for-profit services that exist primarily for the good of children, families and communities. Kindergarten is unique in their non-commercial focus. As an organisation, Kidsfirst believes in the value of not-for-profit, community-based services delivering quality teaching and learning to all - regardless of socio economic background or the location of the community.
Children are not the only ones to benefit from kindergarten. Traditionally, local kindergartens have provided a a place for families with young children to be together, support each other, take part in parent education opportunities, and attend the family and community events that are such an important feature of kindergarten life - and a critical feature of growing supportive communities. For families, having children enrolled at a Kidsfirst service allows parents and caregivers to go to work, study, volunteer or take part in recreational activities, and allows time to focus on wellbeing.
As New Zealand’s original early childhood educator, kindergartens have institutional and social responsibilities that see them go further and offer more: all kindergarten teachers are fully trained and registered, and so meet the same Education Council qualification and practising certificate standards and requirements as teachers in schools.
Our large, natural playgrounds and open spaces go well beyond the minimums required by the Ministry of Education. We have a classic kiwi big backyard with lots of natural shade from wonderful, big trees, and our playgrounds provide challenges and endless opportunities for curiosity and exploration. We’re strongly committed to biculturalism and take our role as a partner in promoting and upholding the principals of Treaty of Waitangi very seriously. Kindergarten is, at its core, welcoming of diversity in all its forms and we are committed to inclusion, equity and fairness.
“He waka eke noa”
A vehicle in which everyone may embark without exception
Not-for-profit Kindergarten Associations, like Kidsfirst, take an active role in maintaining and growing professional standards of teaching and learning in New Zealand. We know how vital early childhood education is to the ongoing development of children as learners, but also how impactful it is on their lives in general, well beyond the early years. We place a large emphasis on quality standards and providing professional development opportunities to keep our teachers abreast of the latest research, while advancing the early childhood sector in New Zealand. You’ll find leaders at Kidsfirst sharing their skills and experience and contributing at all levels of the education system - from professional forums to Ministerial working parties. We are also first choice for very many recent graduates, who know that the solid foundations and pedagogical leadership experienced working in a kindergarten setting can have a positive influence on their professional lives throughout their careers.
When you choose kindergarten, you make a positive choice not just for your child’s learning and wellbeing, but for your entire whānau, your community, and generations of kiwis to come.
More reading: Outdoor environment/hekupu.ac.nz/article