Our Philosophy

At The Cottage we build a positive culture in which tamariki are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning.  Focusing on strong connected relationships and a sense of belonging and community, whanaungatanga, so this place feels like “OUR” place.  A place where children know that what they think matters, and they are loved and cared for in an environment designed for living and learning. Respectful and reciprocal relationships form the basis of recognising each other as unique and special individuals.  Each child’s emotional need for connection and safety are met so they can be fully engaged in their journey as a life long learner.

We welcome families, whānau, and community into The Cottage. It is a place for connecting and sharing experiences between children, their families and teachers.  Families, whānau and teachers collectively contribute to the curriculum, sharing the aspirations they have for children.

The New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whāriki is our guiding document and is woven through all aspects of our work and play, creating an environment which empowers both kaiako (teachers) and tamariki to be the best they can be.  Our philosophy for learning is that tamariki learn through their play. We value early learning in writing, mathematics, stories and art, these are skilfully woven into play experiences.  Program planning is based on the interests of the children, aimed to engage, extend and deepen children’s knowledge, skills and dispositions. Children are regarded as capable and competent and there are opportunities for them to care for themselves and others, while building resilience within a stimulating curriculum.   We believe that learning should be authentic, engaging and joyful so that children may fulfil their greatest potential, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, culturally and spiritually.

We believe one of the reasons families move out to the Nor-West area is to experience a country lifestyle and connect with the natural environment.  Our wonderful location means we are situated within a rural landscape, which allows children opportunities to learn about and from the natural world through play  outdoors.  A deep connection to the natural environment is central to our philosophy. Tamariki and kaiako work to care for nature, kaitiakitanga, to care for Papatūānuku (the earth) and all living creatures, trees and plants, to care for themselves and each other and to care for The Cottage setting.  This means we are fostering a new generation to care for our world, people, places and things.

We acknowledge both parties in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our bicultural heritage.    We value the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua of Aotearoa.  Māori identity, language and culture is valued and nurtured, and incorporated into teaching and learning within an environment of respect and support.  Māori tamariki enjoy and achieve educational success as Māori.  We actively learn about the historical partnership of both Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners.  

Through respecting the biculturalism between Māori and Tauiwi we have established a strong foundation for multiculturalism, where we celebrate the diversity of cultures in Aotearoa.  As teachers we respect the values, beliefs and cultures of others and feel a deep sense of responsibility towards valuing people of all race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, and ability.

We provide a variety of creative spaces for children to express themselves through art and construction.  We are inspired by the work of other educators, who value the use of the arts as a means of thinking and expression.  We believe in listening closely to children’s thoughts and ideas making this thinking visible through our planning and assessment.  

Teachers’ learning is also an on-going process and we are committed to being the very best we can be by participating in on-going professional learning and development, taking inspiration from tested theories and embracing new ideas which stem from recent research.   We believe in sharing the knowledge we have with other teachers, families and  the people in our community.

Poipoiā te kākano kia puāwai.  Nurture the seed and it will blossom.

The Cottage Kindergarten, A place to grow, learn and play.