At Michael Park Kindergarten, we have carefully created an environment that makes children feel accepted, respected, and free to learn at their own pace. As soon as you step inside, you’ll notice the home-like feeling of inviting colours, earthy tones, and handmade wooden toys – you will also hear the giggles of children happily at play! We understand that each stage of a child’s development has unique qualities, and we support the students to experience these fully as they grow and develop. Our kindergarten values self-directed play in a creative, natural environment – we give your child time and space to develop healthy, wholesome character qualities and social skills.
There are four kindergarten groups, each with children of mixed ages from 4-6 years old. There is also a Rose Cottage group for children aged 3-4 years old. We give thoughtful consideration to these groupings, ensuring that children who share a first language, family relationship (i.e., siblings or cousins) or cultural connection are grouped together.
Play Te Tūhura me te Tākaro
Our Ellerslie kindergarten programme provides a nurturing, fun environment for your child.
Play is valued as the main learning opportunity, since it is through creative, self-directed play that children develop essential skills required for this stage of development; including cognitive and problem solving skills, creativity and imagination, self-expression, concentration, investigation, language, numeracy, and social skills. While the children are playing, the adults in the kindergarten carry out real and meaningful tasks (e.g. cooking or gardening), joining in with the children when a need is expressed or to facilitate healthy interaction.
Toys and creative resources have all been lovingly handmade from natural materials, or come straight from the great outdoors.
You won’t spot a plastic toy in our kindergarten – we want to allow children to directly experience the beauty of the natural world, enriching their capacity for imagination and creativity.
Daily Life Ngā Nekeneke
A glimpse into the daily life of Michael Park Kindergarten … a place where food, rhythms, festivals and whānau are appreciated and celebrated.
Children bring a lunchbox every day. In keeping with our Steiner philosophy there is no packaged or sugary food in lunch boxes. Meals are served and eaten together in the spirit of love and gratitude. We also like to cook with the children. Food is prepared with care and respect to support healthy eating habits, digestion and physical development. Where possible, it is grown organically or biodynamically.
Rhythm is also important for children as it allows them to expand out into the world and then to come together in a more focused experience. Rhythm creates a feeling of wellbeing and joy that helps children feel secure, relaxed and eager to play. At our Steiner kindergarten, rhythms are simple and unhurried. Teachers plan their work, yet there are always opportunities for spontaneous events which arise out of momentary needs – of a child, a good idea or request, the weather, nature or an unexpected happening.
Festivals, including birthdays, seasonal and cultural festivals, Easter and Christmas are celebrated in a variety of ways. We value festivals as they give opportunities for the children to experience joy and wonder, giving and receiving, caring for others, a sense of belonging, being special and valued.
Although kindergarten teachers are responsible for providing the curriculum, parents, family and whānau are encouraged to contribute to cooking, gardening, developing the outdoor spaces, making music, crafting, weaving, harakeke, telling stories, repairing toys, and helping out with maintenance.
Kindergarten sessions begin at 8.30am and finish at 2.00pm.
Our Philosophy Te Kaupapa o te Kura o Waiatarua
Please click here to read the full Kindergarten Philosophy Statement.
Our Kindergarten is inspired by the indicators for education from Rudolf Steiner, relevant for Aotearoa. At its heart is a spiritual and human-centred world view based on an understanding of the human individuality, as a being of body, soul and spirit. Michael Park recognises and values the interconnectedness of:
Te Taha Tinana - the active physical and physiological aspects, which in Steiner education recognises the involvement of life forces (etheric) in vitality and learning
Te Taha Whatamanawa – heart and emotions, which in Steiner education is enriched through the arts and creativity
Te Taha Hinengaro - the mind, which in Steiner education is stimulated by open ended opportunity to bring ideas to life in play
Te Taha Wairua - the spiritual core, which in Steiner education is at the centre of identity and self organisation which in Steiner education is influenced by human relationships
We are always open to questions about the Steiner philosophy our kindergarten is guided by. Please do feel free to contact us with any comments or queries you may have.