When you drop your child off at their early childhood centre and watch them dash off to the sand pit or puzzle table, do you wonder if they learn anything all day, and will the sand pit and craft activities prepare them for starting school? The answer to your query is absolutely emphatically Yes ! That play and exploration introduces your child to the concepts of nature, science, weight, symmetry, balance and coordination.
At Kidstown we maximise the use of the local environment to stimulate children’s interest and captivate their natural inquisitive personalities.
Science & Nature
Kidstown makes good use of the 100m walk to the local Mount Wellington. Here an expansive bush area, local cattle and a majestic view engage children’s natural curiosity. These trips are always part of a project or activity inspired by children’s interests and designed to increase children’s knowledge of nature and their environment. They discover bugs and plants, find out what is hiding inside a log and where the cows are roaming.
The view from the mountain is also a great place for them to appreciate the expanse of the city and their place in the world around them.
Sand and Water play
Kidstown has 3 water taps inside a massive sandpit area that enables large construction play and the simultaneous exploration of weight, volume and gravity.
This is where the development of maths and science concepts start. Large construction projects with a myriad of structural equipment, water channels, water wheels and vessels are a daily part of Kidstown activities. Here children weigh and measure and begin to understand volume, weight, gravity and the concepts of simple mechanics.
Large Outdoor Play Area
Our outdoor area far exceeds the Ministry of Education requirements. The Kidstown site of over 2200 sq/m provides us with enough space for ball skill development and large scale physical activities. The outdoor area for the over 2’s includes a popular cycle track running through established trees in the property. The under 2’s make good use of the separate concreted area for ride-on-cars and trikes. Not only do these activities produce laughter and excitement they help build balance, coordination and increase children’s confidence levels. The catching and throwing, kicking and batting ball activities help develop hand eye co-ordination and the left/right brain connections that will support future brain development and learning.
Arts and Crafts
Hot glue guns and natural materials from the world around us are two important components of our arts and crafts programme.
While you may not recognise their collage or painting the chances are very high that your child will be able to tell you the whole story behind the colours, shapes and placement of materials. Cutting and drawing develops muscles in their hands and fingers that will later button their shirt and write their name. When working on collage with shapes children can sort and classify items into groups based on shape and colour, skills needed to learn to read and do maths. Pride in their artwork is a boost to developing a sense of self.
Garden to Table
Our own backyard houses a worm farm, vegetable gardens and a chicken coup. Children are involved in growing and preparing meals from the Kidstown garden. We have a constant rotation of vegetables which the children gather and either pass onto the chef or get involved in preparing as part of the daily meal. Spinach, carrots, eggs, strawberries and broccoli are all time favourites. One popular treat from the garden is oven baked lightly battered spinach leaves. We encourage children to take part in the garden to food programme and to help recycle food-waste and rubbish.
Block building and Puzzles
Kidstown has an array of full size construction bricks. Playing with blocks can help children learn scientific principles and concepts e.g balance, gravity, cause and effect. Blocks must balance and be stacked in symmetrical way to remain standing. Mathematical concepts symmetry, shape and geometry are learnt along with the use of hand eye coordination. Playing with blocks gives children the opportunity to re-create the world around them in concrete form. To be able to do this is an important step towards abstract thinking.
Local Train Station
The short walk to the local train station is a popular outing for our under 2’s. Here they watch the trains come and go and listen to the sounds of city life. To extend the learnings we take the children on short train journeys. Panmure to Britomart and back is a popular excursion. The older children also visit the local Bunnings store to purchase materials they need for construction or nature play. Both are within 100m of our centre and we encourage parents and caregivers to be part of our local outings.
At Kidstown we strongly encourage dramatic play. Research shows that children who are active in pretend play have larger vocabularies than children who are less involved in imaginative play or other play activities. And we know that oral language skills in young children is the vital precursor to sound literacy skills in school aged children.
You will often see adult themes in a child’s play – taking care of babies, going to work to name just two. This is the child’s way of trying to understand “going to work” or other activities that parents do on a daily basis. The story lines can be very complicated as they assign everyone a role, describe the plot and explain who has what duties. Coming up with all the pieces for the play really takes a lot of thought. Children have an innate sense of make believe so they love our dramatic playtime. It’s an opportunity for them to express themselves, share experiences and learn to socially interact with others, making sense of the world they live in.