Nature Kids Explore the ourdoors

How are we supporting children in developing the skills, attitudes and knowledge needed in preparation for school?

Each child learns in his or her own way.

Nature Kids Motueka How Children Learn

Our curriculum builds on children’s current needs, strengths and interests by allowing children choices and encouraging them to take responsibility for their learning. Children learn and grow in holistic ways, they learn through reciprocal relationships, through transferring skills, knowledge and attitudes from one experience to another and they learn in their own time Dispositions to learn develop when children are immersed in an environment that is characterised by:

  • wellbeing and trust
  • belonging and purposeful activity
  • contributing and collaborating
  • communicating and representing
  • exploring and guided participation

Learning through active movement

Active exploration helps your child learn how to control and co-ordinate their body so movements become quick and automatic. This stimulates their brain to become fully integrated, a process which prepares the brain for cognition and formal learning.

Gross Motor Skills

Hand and upper body strength makes it easier for children to learn to write. Giving children the time to practice over and over, not only gives them the opportunity to feel a sense of self achievement but they also develop ways to control various movements of the body, right through from their fingers to their toes.

Nature Kids Motueka How Children Learn

Manipulation fine motor skills

Small hand muscles need to be strengthened in order for children to use the pincer grip.

Running Biking Climbing

Encourages children to recognize they have two distinct sides of their body, and to use the two independently. Through these actions children also experience science concepts such as acceleration and deceleration, friction, force, gravity etc. which need to be experienced to fully comprehend the concepts and understand them as true and uniform.

Brain Gym

Allows children to develop their ability to cross the midline of their body, such as touching the left hand to the right knee, this is important for writing left to right and creating connections in the two sides of the brain that allow for a higher level of thinking by developing abstract thought and learning strategies.

Spinning Balancing Being upside down

Nature Kids Motueka How Children Learn

Develops spatial awareness in children. It stimulates their vestibular system which controls their balance so for example when asked to sit still at school (also a balancing skill) they will be able to do this. It also strengthens core muscles that increases children’s fitness so they have the ability to sit still and hold themselves up for long periods of time allowing them to focus on other things such as listening, writing, drawing.

Ball Games/Carpentry

Develops children’s hand/eye coordination. Children also learn how to judge height, distance and speed. It is activities like these, that children are learning the ability to eye track, which is also one of the necessary skills for reading from left to right.

Numeracy and literacy

Oral literacy is a vital component of any child’s learning journey. It lays the foundation for future reading and writing skills as well as being integral for communication and recall ability.

Nature Kids Motueka How Children Learn

In the early years children are focusing on sounds, words and images that are connected to their own lives.... letters in their name, sounds which are familiar, stories they can relate to... utilising these interests makes learning more relevant for children, and the more support and encouragement they are given the more confidence they will gain and the more opportunities they will find to practice.

Pre writing skills involves a lot of practice of fine motor control and manipulation, before children learn formally to write they need to be able to comfortably hold a pencil using the pincer grip and to do this for a length of time their small hand muscles must be well developed

If children are drawing we try and correct the grip on the utensil so it is comfortable and encourage shapes, lines and patterns rather than letters themselves. Children need to know how to draw the basic shapes such as circles and lines that make up letters before they can write them, If a child is interested then will we work with them on correct formation of letters.

We also work on pre reading skills such as letter recognition, language development and comprehension, that we read from left to right and start at the top of the page and that words and pictures have meaning. Sequential learning and memory is a big part of our curriculum i.e. being able to follow a short series of instructions, putting things in order, determining what comes next. Children need 3 memory spaces before they can learn to read so we really work on these skills.

Our focus is on pre reading and writing because there is so much to be learnt and practised before formally starting to read and write.

Maths concepts

Nature Kids Motueka How Children Learn

We provide resources and look for opportunities throughout the environment and introduce concepts such as number, measurement, geometry, algebra, fractions, addition, subtraction, weight, size and statistics to the children. Our aim is for children to become familiar with these concepts without the pressure of formal instruction, helping them to feel confident about their ongoing learning when they start school.

Positive Relationships and Self Esteem

Children develop the ability to relate well to others and are confident in their own identity through

  • Opportunities to develop social and language skills for establishing and maintaining relationships
  • Developing strategies for conflict solving and an awareness of appropriate behaviour
  • Nature Kids Motueka How Children Learn
  • Showing empathy and consideration to others (animals and humans) through caring, fairness and a sense of responsibility
  • Developing an understanding and respect for each other’s culture, differences, rights, values and opinions
  • Discovering different ways to be creative and expressive
  • Developing confidence that their contribution is valued and develop a sense of who they are
  • Opportunities to make their own choices and decisions
    It is important children have opportunities to create and act on their own ideas, to develop knowledge and skills in areas that interest them. When children are given the time to make their own choices and decisions it gives them a positive and meaningful experience in which they gain a sense of responsibility and control. This empowers them to become independent and lifelong learners
  • Nature Kids Motueka How Children Learn
  • TuakanaTeina
    Having children ranging in age here at Nature Kids provides a lovely opportunity for older children to teach and support the younger children becoming positive role models and sharing their knowledge while providing care, support and guidance for the younger children especially helping them to settle in, gain confidence and develop a sense of belonging and well being.

It is our job to build on children’s individual and group interests, strengths and abilities, to extend children’s thinking and actions through sensitive and informed guidance, interactions and support. Children develop working theories through observing, listening, doing, participating, discussing and representing within the experiences and activities provided in the programme.
Children that perceive themselves as capable and competent learners in the early childhood setting will be able to see themselves as confident and competent learners at school level and be more likely to use their existing knowledge to create new strategies for coping socially and academically in new environments.

Link for more information about school readiness