Kohikohia ngᾱ kᾱkano, whakaritea te pᾱrakereke, kia puᾱwai ngᾱ hua
Gather the seeds, prepare the seedbed carefully, and you will be gifted with an abundance of food - (Te Whatu Pokeka).
“What do children learn at Milly’s?” – A snapshot!
I often get asked, “What do children learn at Milly’s?” or “How will you get my child ready for school?” These questions always excite me as I feel proud to talk about how children learn. Bringing current research findings to our environment at Milly’s is my passion!
As professional Early Childhood Teachers, we are continuously learning ourselves – this involves a lot of research and spending time with children as individuals and observing how they learn and develop. Children’s exploration with their environment plays an important role in providing experiences that are beneficial for children. Research shows that children up to the age of 7 learn best through exploratory play.
Our philosophy at Milly’s is based on “free-play”. Free-play is when a child engages in self-lead exploration of an environment or topic, that is chosen by the individual and uninterrupted so that the child can explore and learn at their own level of development. Our role as teachers is to observe and ensure that the resources are chosen carefully and provided so that children have a large range of tools on hand to enhance and carry out their exploratory play.
At Milly’s resources are natural, real and recycled treasures, such as cable drums, hoses, tyres, planks, bungee ties, log rounds, crates, pellets, etc. These types of materials allow experiences and exploratory play to unfold, allowing the child to use large motor skills to gain confidence, independence and self-awareness of their abilities to manage risk, work with their peers and resolve conflicts. These resources and materials are open ended and do not have a defined purpose which allow children to create whatever they want with them (i.e. they are not already a pirate ship or a fairy house). Children can move and manipulate these materials, explore their uses, be creative and imaginative, and are able to develop problem solving skills.
Other resources supplied at Milly’s are real pots, pans, bottles, tea cups and sauces. Yes, real china! Children can role play and use their imagination, cooking and enjoying tea parties with their friends. They are trusted with these real materials so that they learn respect for breakable items and learn to appreciate their careful use. If there is an accident they understand and develop the skills and techniques to look after themselves. Pouring, measuring, using tongs, etc, develops a child’s fine motor skills and playing alongside their friends develops communication and social skills.
Milly’s garden is laden with fruit trees and we have a chicken coop to collect our own eggs. Vegetable gardening and cooking is a daily event. The children grow their own vegetables and fruit from seeds, take care of blossoming plants and enjoy their produce when harvested. Through gardening and baking/cooking children learn many skills including maths and science concepts.
Children deserve a beautiful environment and at Milly’s we take the time to ensure the play space is attractive with fresh flowers on each table and clean, hygienic resources are provided to the best of our ability. Children are encouraged and guided when necessary to care for themselves through routines such as getting dressed, toileting and looking after their belongings. Independence, responsibility and self-confidence is developed through these everyday practices
Our teachers understand and role model respectful relationships towards each other, the children, parents and whānau. Respectful communication is evidenced through listening, showing interest and displaying empathy. Our teachers’ role is to prepare the environment and to guide children, when they invite us to guide them. Teachers can do this by offering open ended questions to allow a child to problem-solve and come up with their own solutions, whether this may be to resolve a conflict or complete a task.
At Milly’s you will find your children engaged in play - they are busy creating, problem solving, developing fine and large motor skills, improving confidence, building relationships, communicating and negotiating with their peers. These skills are the foundation for lifelong learning and they are learnt through play and children require these skills first - before any ‘formal learning’.
This is only a snapshot of how learning “happens” at Milly’s Educare. Every moment is a learning opportunity and with our experienced, passionate professionals in a beautiful natural environment we are proud to contribute to children’s development and be an integral part of their learning journey.
Children should be children and for as long as they can be children! Let them explore and be FREE!
Amelia Louden BTchg.
Managing Director of Milly’s Educare.