Maungaarangi (Mountains amongst the sky) was built in 2010 and sits on large, sloping grounds where our tamariki/children have the opportunity to explore and challenge themselves in a natural environment. This is combined with the use of natural quality based activities inside the purposefully designed whare/centre. Tamariki have the option of extending their knowledge in areas they are interested in from stories, to music, to early literacy skills, to technology, to sewing through to construction and care of animals (such as our heihei/chickens).
We take seriously the need to involve and engage whanau/families in the centre and we actively encourage and support whanau to be engaged in whatever aspect of the centre they choose. We have been fortunate enough to have the support of the Welcome Bay school and the local iwi Ngati Pukenga in establishing and growing Maungaarangi. The close link that Maungaarangi has with local iwi and hapu is one of the ways in which we incorporate tikanga Maori (Maori language and culture) into the programme. We have grown a strong sense of tikanga in our practices and procedures.
We are situated on the grounds of Welcome Bay School and continue to build a strong relationship with this school. It is important for Maungaarangi to make the transition of tamariki going from here to all schools as easily and seamless as possible for the child and whanau. Therefore we continue to get to know the expectations and processes of our local schools and teachers. This way we can better support the transition of our tamariki.
A whakatauki/proverb that sits closely with the team is
Whaia te iti kahurangi. Ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei.
Our interpretation: Through encouraging our tamariki to pursue excellence and give it their best shot we create a generation of people prepared to embrace the challenges and learning opportunities that they will engage in the future with a positive outlook and confidence.
Lorraine Sands (ELP) attended the Maungaarangi team's workshop How has Maungaarangi localised the curriculum? at the Celebrating Learning Stories conference:
"I listened to Maungaarangi Kindergarten teachers presenting and I came away with much to consider. Each teacher contributed, using their strengths and interests and this clearly demonstrated a shared leadership team culture. Their passion for teaching and learning showed in the way they each approached the learning they valued, focussing on children’s language, culture and identity to nurture each child’s wairua. Te Whariki was clearly embedded as they nurtured a whariki that reflected their community using the local pou (traditional stories) to build concrete connections with dispositions, knowledge and skills. The teachers use their Learning Stories as a vehicle to draw children and families into these connections."
Learning Story for Raiha
Rina welcomes Raiha to the wider Maungaarangi whanau, while also acknowlegding Raiha's own whanau as well as her strengths.