Greerton Early Learning Centre
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

For a very long time now, we have been interested in the way  children are drawn into learning. We focus on characteristics like curiosity, creativity and persisting with things that interest them. These characteristics, coupled with effort and practice, build children’s resilience and resourcefulness. These all go to the heart of our philosophy and permeate our practice, for as the brain science shows us, what we do really matters.

“Our job is not to shape our children’s minds; it’s to let those minds explore all the possibilities that the world allows” (From neuroscientist, Alison Gopnik’s book, The Gardener and the Carpenter, 2016).

At a core level, it is how we listen to our children and enable them to pursue the things that interest them. Te Whāriki, our New Zealand Early Childhood National Curriculum (1996, 2017), gives us a values’ driven platform on which to consider our learning and teaching and how children’s desire to learn is Empowered, through Relationships, Family and Community, and when learning environments unfold in Holistic ways. There’s a challenge here, for we must ensure children’s motivation to learn comes from deep within, and we must do this without hijacking children’s agendas, their energies, their passions and their spirits.

The post on the Whānau Facebook page during our first week after a return to the centre..

What an absolutely fabulous first week back we have had here at GELC. The children have all been so happy and calm, kind and thoughtful. We know exactly why this is... you, their amazing whānau have filled their emotional tanks with love and fun during the nearly 8 weeks of lockdown. This time with you has allowed them to find their inner strength, their bravery and their love of adventure. Thank you all so much for your awesomeness. We have so enjoyed our week back with them and we look forward to another fun week ahead.

 

Learning Stories written during Lockdown...

CURIOSITY, written by Amanda about Millar (click on the images to view the original story)

This Learning Story is making connections for the family between what is happening in the home during lockdown and also what is happening for Millar in the Centre…. For example: 

“Your curiosity and wonder has been intrigued further recently where we all have had to stay at home in our “bubbles” due to the Covid-19 virus. From listening to your thoughts on a video posted by your Mum on our closed Facebook Whānau page, I think you have been questioning this new pace to life and are seeking a deeper understanding about what this all means. You explained on the blackboard your knowledge around living in our bubbles with great exuberance and insight. This was a great moment captured by your Mum that again highlights your inquisitive attitude towards life. “


A LEARNING HERO, written by Bridget about Millar (please click on the image to view the original story)

Here the teacher is using the video footage and photos that Mum and Dad have posted. On the Whānau Facebook page……

“Millar, in the photos and video’s that Mum & Dad have posted on our Whānau Facebook page I see you being a truly wonderful big sister to Dellow! When Dellow first came to daycare, Melissa wrote a story to celebrate how fabulous you were at making sure Dellow felt a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging here. She thought that we would see some amazing learning partnerships between the McQueen children, well we definitely have seen that at GELC and now we are seeing that again while you are in your family bubble at home!


I WANT YOU TO KNOW WHO I AM, written by Lynn (Nanna), with comments from Tanya, the teacher

 

 

Lynn, this is such a beautiful story for Paisley, as you celebrate all the people and strengths that come together to make Paisley the kind, beautiful and thoughtful person that she is. As you recognise that this is what drives her learning, I know that you are right in thinking that we will see more of these messages of love. 

Paisley - you are a star! Your kindness and aroha warms my heart and everyone elses that it touches!

Arohanui, Tanya


 

AINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH, written by Cat about Eva (click on the image for the original story)

This is a learning Story written on the return to the centre and connecting the child’s Lockdown experience at home to the evidence of her learning progress over this time!…

“Seeing Eva after so many weeks in lockdown was just  wonderful. She has grown taller, gaining a ‘big girl’ stance  which, no doubt meant, some leaps in her learning had occurred. As we made our way to the swings, together with Evie, her mate, Eva hopped on the tyre swing. I was  readying to give her a push when…whoosh! She was gone. By gone, I mean she had pushed herself so high, I had to step out of the way not to get knocked down. Wow! Eva swung sitting down, standing up, she swung on the tyre swing as well as on the round, net swing. “ 

Back to COVID-19: Reflections and insights from teachers across the world