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Ara Early Learning Centre

Jocelyn Wright - Across School Kāhui Lead, Te Pito O Te Puna Wai O Waipapa —

The Ara Early Learning Centre has a long-standing reputation for providing high quality care and education for tamariki aged from 6 months to 5 years.

The Centre has a strength in diversity with a focus on immersing children in their own identity, language and culture, situated within a picturesque garden setting on our city campus.

Together, kaiako plan for and prepare an environment that sparks a sense of wonder, imagination and fun that provokes curiosity and exploration. We embrace the Centre virtues of aroha (love and compassion), te rongo (peace), atawhai (kindness), kotahitanga (unity) and aroha and work from the heart in a spirit of shared leadership and collaboration.

Nurturing through Nature

Our team here at Ara place a significant amount of importance on the wellbeing of our Learning Community and one very important aspect of this is creating opportunities for children to be out in nature, exploring our local environment in small groups. We began back in the winter of 2019 by taking a small group of children to Mt Vernon Reserve on a regular basis to walk and play in the hills.

Covid saw us pause for a time, however this year we have continued with this journey, only now we have begun taking the children to Avebury House Community Garden, a wonderful resource so close to our community.

We mostly take the same core group, many of them being children in full-time care and we have just recently extended our time out of the centre to later in the day. The children are empowered to make decisions about how they explore the area, with minimal boundaries in place from Kaiako. They have our trust to know their own abilities as they explore and reap the wonderful rewards of risky play, allowing them to continually assess the level of their own physical, emotional, spiritual and cognitive development. It has been incredible for kaiako to see the children thriving in these natural settings, building resilience, feeling so empowered and connecting with nature.