We aim to reflect the love and life of Jesus Christ in all that we do with tamariki and whānau at the Rainbow Early Learning Centre.
Christian principles and a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi are applied in all decision making processes and are reflected in our policies and core values.
Our Core Values:
Empowering tamariki, whānau, staff and volunteers to achieve personal excellence
Grace is reflected through being Jesus’ hands, feet and heart at the Rainbow and in the wider community
A sense of fun is encouraged in all that we do
A culture of respect for people, places and things
Love is displayed through our relationships and actions with tamariki, whānau, staff, volunteers and others in our community
We value honesty and integrity in our relationships and practice
Our Core Values are implemented through our local curriculum.
We believe that our staff is our greatest resource and we support them to develop their professional career and personal goals.
To make a positive difference to families in Kaiapoi and the surrounding communities by providing high quality early childhood care and education which reflects the love and life of Christ
OUR LOCAL CURRICULUM -
What makes The Rainbow special?
We believe that Children are a gift from God, and our philosophy is reflected in the way we treat our tamariki, our whānau and each other. We want to show God’s love and care to all in our Community and to share a little of Him with others.
TE TIRITI O WAITANGI
We believe in the unique place of Māori as Tangata Whenua and the practice of meaningful integration by learning Te Reo Māori and becoming increasing familiar with tikanga Māori. As a centre we have a commitment to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our responsibilities under this document.
We welcome tamariki and whānau from all walks of life; everyone has the right to belong. We practice inclusion, acceptance, love and care for all; providing additional support as needed. As a centre we try and limit the challenges to participation; providing free sessions, transportation and flexible hours.
NURTURING, LOVING RELATIONSHIPS
We believe that all tamariki and their whānau deserve to be treated with love, grace and kindness; cuddles, hugs and lots of loving words are part of this. This is also reflected in the way that we respond to one another within our team.
QUALIFIED TEACHERS AND LOW RATIOS
It is really important to us that our tamariki have access to quality care and teaching; our permanent teaching team is predominently made up of registered teachers, with the majority having a long connection to our centre. Our kaiako engage in professional learning opportunities regularly, further developing their knowledge to support our tamariki, whānau and each other. We operate ratios that allow teachers to engage in one-one/small group activities.
As a centre we believe that children learn best when engaged in a responsive and fun play based environment. We encourage tamariki to develop agency, taking responsibility and making their own decisions about how they spend their day. To this end our routines and activities are flexible and not compulsory. Children are encouraged to participate in group activities, and opportunities do exist for large group gatherings, e.g. birthdays and special events.
STAY AND PLAY
We encourage our whānau to stay and play, to take as long as they need with all transitions, to contribute to the learning of the tamariki, to support the centre and be part of its life. This supports whānau to build relationships and to trust us as we care for and educate their children; they know that their tamariki are having love and having fun as they learn.
PLANNING & ASSESSMENT
We plan through collaboration and relationships with tamariki, whānau, kaiako and the community; building on prior knowledge and interests (Mōhiotanga), providing them with opportunities to grow and learn (Mātauranga) and supporting them on their learning journey (Māramatanga).
We encourage our tamariki to engage positively with one another in a mixed age setting, we operate a small nursery that caters for children 6 months to 2 ½ years of age, and our preschool children are aged between 2 and 5. Our spaces are linked by a low fence and opportunity for interactions across the age ranges is regular. Our older tamariki are encouraged to develop their leadership skills by caring for and supporting our younger tamariki, and in return our younger children are learning from and developing relationships with our older ones.
FLEXIBLE NURSERY TO PRESCHOOL TRANSITION
As a centre we believe in supporting our nursery children to transition to the preschool when they are ready, rather than at a set age. We encourage and support the transition process, through group visits, connection with specific teachers, conversations with parents and extended opportunities to go back and forth between spaces.
Our older children are encouraged to participate in Discovery Time. Working in small groups developing skills of literacy, numeracy, listening and participation tamariki gain knowledge about our world and their place in it.
TRANSITION TO SCHOOL
As tamariki begin their journey towards primary school, we engage in conversations with parents about what this might look like. We encourage parents to make positive choices about their child’s schooling, and support with individualised visits with a kaiako. We work closely with a number of schools in our community to ensure a smooth transition process that meets the needs of each child and their whānau.
LARGE OPEN OUTSIDE SPACES
Physical activity and space to move is vital to our tamariki. Our large and engaging outside spaces provide children with opportunities for active play, creativity, self-expression, fun with friends and engagement with the natural environment. Tamariki are able to make their own decisions about how and when they utilise the environment, and there is space for both busy group play and quiet engagement.
Added to this are two large adjacent paddocks for excursions – one for ball play and running, and one where our vegetable gardens and farm animals are housed.
PETS & ANIMALS
We have a wide variety of animals at our centre. It is important to us to provide our tamariki with opportunities to learn skills of nurturing and empathy as they care for our animals, along with developing a sense of responsibility and learning more about God’s amazing creation.
We use some of our food waste to feed our animals, and as we recycle, compost, plant vegetables and discover ways to be more environmentally aware, our tamariki learn more about their role in caring for their community and wider world.
VISITS TO LOCAL COMMUNITY
From outings to our local park, to expeditions to view work in progress on building sites, we like to see what’s happening in our community. We are wanting to expand on this and are developing relationships with local schools to join in with some of their learning experiences.
As part of our desire to support children’s development of agency, we have a rolling kai. Children learn to recognise the prompts of their bodies, deciding for themselves when they are hungry. Morning tea and lunch are provided by whānau, afternoon tea is often a shared activity as children help prepare and serve their friends. Children are monitored as they eat, and if necessary, prompting is given to those who need reminders to eat.
Alongside our regular daily activities, we engage coaches from Playball who visit 3 terms a year and run a ball skills programme with our older tamariki. There is a charge for this programme, but recent funding has meant that some children can participate at a reduced rate. This is a fun activity that encourages team work, co-ordination, listening skills and participation.
During school holidays we operate a special ‘Holiday Programme’ for our tamariki, with every day having a special activity. This provides fun and excitement for the children and staff alike.