Category Archives: Early Childhood Education

embedding slideshare – again


The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Taliban

Here is a very good video about the recent fighting in Pakistan and the rise of the Taliban there. It talks about the Madrassa schools which are apparently tolerated by the Pakistani government and are teaching extremist Islamic law to the children and turning them into Taliban. Martydom is taught as a blessing.

Coming to the end of her bleak journey, Obaid-Chinoy reminds us that there are 80 million children in Pakistan, many of them living in poverty. If the militants continue to expand their war and to recruit children freely, as they do now, then Pakistan may soon belong to them.

More rambles in the life and times of an Early Childhood Centre Manager: Self Review

I am stoked to hear our Kei Tua o te Pae ( Assessment in Early Childhood Education) training is going to recommence next week. It stalled back in March because our tutor unfortunately became ill.

I have also heard the Ministry of Social Development has approved my funding application to run the School Holiday programme. I still don’t know to the tune of how much yet but I am hopeful – The last holiday programme ran at a loss because we did not secure funding in the last round.

I had an incredibly intense staff meeting last week which involved me literally pouring information over the teaching staff as fast as I could before they could escape at 7 oclock. The first one made a beeline for the door at about 6.45 and it was all down hill from there. I managed to convey a number of important messages before they bolted, in particular pointing them to ERO’s green book which nicely lists all the performance indicators for the delivery of a quality educational programme. The lists include descriptions of what the children would be observed doing as well as what the teachers should be doing.

In preparation of ERO’s visit, inspection of recent ‘Learning Stories’ has revealed that those teachers that have adopted the template I produced back in April? are at last assessing children’s learning more fully and are able to plan for these children based on their individual interests and dispositions. Gone (she says hopefully) are the meaningless colourful scrapbooks of old which provided no continuity of planning.

The focus of the Governments ERO reviews in ECE this year is ‘Self Review’ – Most of my job is self review and it is not until quite recently that I have begun formally documenting it. Topics I have reviews this year include:

Assessment (Learning Stories) Here is the documentation of the process. self-review-profiles1

As I am trying not to work so much in the weekends I will end this post, however I hope to post an exemplar of a good Learning Story here next week and talk more about the performance indicators as listed by ERO.

Preparation for the ERO Review & Children’s Learning questioned

Yes indeed, I have just come through an MoE relicensing palava for Montessori 1 and an OSCAR approvals review with CYFS for the after school and holiday programme only to receive the news that the Early Childhood Centre Mont 1 is to be reviewed by ERO next month!

It has been three years since our last review so we knew it was coming, but next month!!! Core blimey, I’ve got a trip to Tonga planned next month. And on top of that my daughter has just come down with Glandular fever.

It is three weeks to the school holidays and the Min of Soc Development still hasn’t decided which OSCAR programmes it is going to fund in this country this year. We have the best programme we have had for ages and we might have to pull the plug on it which would be a shame. We have retained our CYPS approval, with every policy checked, scrutinised, re-written, every staff member police checked, reference checked, scrubbed and polished. I found the CYPS approvals process to be a little disturbing to be honest. All the focus seems to be on our paperwork and not at all about the facilities or experiences we provide for the children.

Anyway such is life in the beurocracy. I have been doing a lot of reading and came across this quote by Carlini Rinaldi (2003)

The young child is the first great researcher. Children are born searching for and, therefore, researching the meaning of life, the meaning of self in relation to others and to the world. Children are born searching for the meaning of their existence…..the meaning of conventions, customs and habits we have, and of rules and the answers we provide.

Do you think this desire to search for meaning continues into adulthood? or do we change somewhere along the way and eventually expect someone else to tell us what it is? How much do you think our education system’s emphasis on assessment shapes how we learn? or what we learn, or why we learn?

The important outcomes of an (early childhood) education include the development of:

  • confidence and competence as a learner as the result of active exploration;
  • confidence and competence as a communicator as the result of making meanings known
  • a sense of continuity and belonging as a result of effective relationships and communication between home and (the ECE centre) the educator
  • a sense of wellbeing and contribution as the result of effective engagement with (ECE) education experiences that challenge and stimulate children to learn, think and grow in confidence.

In the words of ERO: “Children are more likely to be successful in their later formal education if they have been fortunate enough to be involved in high quality early childhood education”.

If this is true, then why is access to high quality early childhood education not compulsory in NZ?? and only available to the fortunate??

Why do so many of our school leavers leave school illiterate and enumerate?

(is that a word?)

Practical Life – Pouring

I was going through some of my old photo’s and came across this lovely photo of Robbie demonstrating a Montessori Practical Life activity  – pouring. He would have been about three in this photo.

\"Carefully Does it\'

Montessori – Maths activities

I have decided to start providing some internal PD for staff at our fortnightly staff meetings. We have a number of staff who have the NZ Dip in ECE but minimal formal Montessori training. I will start at the beginning with: (see wikieducator link below)

Indirect Preparation for numeracy which is an awareness of cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers, numerals, one to one correspondence, sequencing and tally counting. Also concepts of size, length, area and volume. These activities are for infants and toddlers.

The Pink Tower: This is part of the sensorial education but is also a preliminary maths activity. It develops visual discrimination of size and volume.

The Broad Stair: Visual discrimination of thickness and differences of two dimensions – area

The Long Red Rods: Visual and muscular discrimination of length.

Direct preparation: Learning Numbers 0 – 10

1.number rods – This activity is the child’s first experience with a fixed quantity.

The purpose of this material is to learn the quantity of numbers 1 – 10, to learn the names of numbers 1 – 10, to associate the names with the quatities (tally counting), to learn that there is a relationship between numbers 1 – 10, to show that each number is a composite of other numbers. Also it is indirect preparation for the decimal system.


Parent Newsletter 22nd May 2008

Kia Ora whānau,

It’s a cold rainy day today so I thought it would be a good day to be inside and write an overdue newsletter. Firstly we would like to say welcome, nau mai haere mai to all our new families. We have rapidly filled spaces which were created with the opening of the new classroom in January and are now pretty full, give or take one or two places on odd days. Thank you to everyone for your patience during this expansion period, it has been a long process with outdoor play space unavailable at times and extra administration demands with moving children across rolls etc. We have a number of new staff to welcome and we have also said farewell to Aysha and Alije. Aysha made the decision not to retrain in NZ as an Early Childhood Teacher (ECE) and has instead decided to manage Anarkali, the Indian restaurant on George St. Alije has gone on leave to have her baby. In her place is Janina who is also from Germany and is a trained ECE teacher. In Aysha’s place we have Rachel who is a NZ trained ECE and primary teacher. To cater to our expanded role we have appointed Jessica and Victoria, both fully trained NZ ECE teachers and Rebecca who works in the OSCAR programme and in the centre. Rebecca is busy doing field based ECE training with NZCA.

The staff very much enjoyed the parent teacher interviews last month and appreciated all the useful information and feedback provided about your children. The more we can learn from you about your children’s interests and goals, the better we can be at planning meaningful activities for them here. I think our planning has really benefited from these talks and I am delighted to see the range of exciting activities going on in the classrooms as a result. In an effort to increase whanau involvement, I would like to invite any interested parents to join a parent advisory group. If you are keen, come and see me (Helen) in the office or email I would envisage us meeting no more than once or twice a term. By the way, if you ever have any billing or change of hours queries you can email Gill at .

Now to the best news! We have managed to recruit a new staff member who will be working on the very important job of looking after our rumbling tummies, yes that’s right, we have hired a cook. Dougall will be providing all our morning and afternoon teas and our lunches for a trial period of six weeks. If this turns out to be an improvement on our present catering arrangements and is within a similar budget we will be continuing this. Dougall is a very experienced cook and has children of his own so I am very confident it will work out. He starts with us on the 3rd of June so we’ll soon be eating yummy home baking and a much wider variety of delicious nutritious lunches.

Well I think that is all for now, remember you are always welcome to make suggestions to me about our service and I will wait with anticipation to hear if any of you would like to be part of a parent advisory group,

Ka kite ano,


Programme Manager and Acting Centre Manager