GROW Early Childhood Care & Education: St Kilda : Cambridge
Our location borders 19 hectares of recreational space including two wetland areas with a large playground, both walking and cycle tracks which we make use of as we explore our wider environment. With the St Kilda retirement village just down the road, Grow have developed a programme where our little ones and members of the retirement community spend time together. We have established connections for second language learning, swimming lessons and access to the best in technology advances appropriate for supporting preschool learning.
Our purpose built learning areas at Grow are reflective of the high standard of living maintained at St Kilda, Cambridge (including sustainability principles such as using solar energy.) Our playrooms have been designed to support age/stage development for infants, toddlers and young children with interconnected options for working independently or together. Our soft furnishings provide a modern, homely feel that promotes taking pride and ownership of our environment. With a majority of our resources, we have been able to support New Zealand owned and operated with a large portion handcrafted from local providers.
Grow's own outdoor environment ties exisiting elements together with a consistent, natural theme reflective of the wider quality environment at St Kilda, Cambridge. Our playground incorporates bike tracks, swings, a stage, cubby houses, fireman's pole, slide and rock climbing wall, messy kitchens, mud pit, raised veggie gardens, chalkboards, large sandpits and a dry riverbed with water play. As children advance through their education at Grow, they experience new and varied challenges. There's lots to explore with pine and macrocarpa towers/platforms/playhuts that introduce a sense of height to an otherwise flat area providing many opportunities for imaginative play and physical challenges.
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ERO Report: Four Year Review, Very Well Placed
The Review Findings
Children benefit from positive and respectful relationships fostered between whānau, teachers and centre owners and this underpin all aspects of the centre. Teachers work collaboratively in the best interests of children. They involve themselves alongside children to support sustained play. Teachers skilfully use open-ended questions to promote children’s ability to problem solve. They have supportive, caring and respectful relationships with children and whānau. Positive guidance strategies are well used to support children’s social competence. Teachers ensure all children's care needs are well met. Some teachers naturally integrate te ao Māori into the programme and physical environment. Further development is required to ensure that this becomes embedded practice throughout the centre.
Children participate in a broad and rich curriculum. The programme is responsive to children's interests with set routine times that provide children with a sense of security and structure. Mathematics, literacy and science are naturally integrated through play. The programme is extended through excursions into the local and wider community. Comprehensive assessment, planning and evaluation focuses on dispositional learning and shows children’s development over time. Children have access to a wide variety of high quality resources in the environment. This allows children to initiate purposeful activities and extend their physical skills.
Children up to the age of two years, experience caring and nurturing relationships with their teachers. They learn and play in calm and unhurried environments. Teachers are responsive to parent care preferences for young children to ensure practices from the child's home are reflected in the centre where possible. This supports babies and toddlers to build a strong sense of belonging at the centre.
The centre has an inclusive approach to supporting children with additional health and learning needs. Centre owners and teachers work closely with parents and whānau to ensure these children's needs are responded to while at the centre. The service accesses appropriate external expertise and guidance to support these children to be fully included in the centre programme.
Centre owners provide effective governance and leadership. They have high expectations for providing positive outcomes for children. Leaders maintain low children to teacher ratios, high levels of qualified and experienced teaching staff and access relevant professional learning for teachers. A robust appraisal system is contributing to building teacher capability. Centre owners have established useful partnerships, including participating in the Te Puna o Kemureti Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako and making connections with the local Māori community. A comprehensive policy and systems framework has been developed to guide centre operations.