To enrich family/ whānau and community through early childhood education in a setting that is safe and nurturing and supports children’s and parents’s aspirations for learning – their home away from home.
Our values inform our mission, goals, policy and practice. They are the principles behind our actions, a means of creating and sustaining an environment of trust and mutual understanding with the communities we serve.
- active engagement with families/whānau and our local community, appreciating the benefits we bring to one another
- ethical behaviour in all our activities and interactions
- play as the fundamental way in which our ākonga learn – children’s work is play
- curiosity and joy in learning
- liberty within boundaries of safety, respect, responsibility and citizenship, transparency and consistency
- competent early childhood educators who gently challenge ākonga towards self-management and independence
- individuality, inclusivity and diversity as we strive to build a secure and supportive environment that meets the needs of ākonga, and
- a culture where we have mutual understanding with the communities we serve.
The PMK Learning Programme
Our flexible approach to creating a special Montessori setting weaves the strands and principles of Te Whāriki, the New Zealand curriculum for early childhood education, with the Montessori Philosophy.
The aim of Te Whāriki is that ākonga will “grow up as competent and confident and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society.” (Te Whāriki, 1996, p9)
Te Whāriki focuses on holistic development, empowerment, family and community relationships, and wellbeing through belonging, contribution, communication and exploration.
We advise parents/whānau that, as they read through their child’s Learning Stories, (an integral part of our communication with family/ whānau) they will see evidence of Te Whāriki in practice: the health and wellbeing of their child being protected and nurtured; their child experiencing an environment where they are comfortable with links with their family and the wider community being explored; the language and symbols of culture being protected; their child learning through play and active exploration; and each child’s contribution being valued.
The Montessori Philosophy was developed as a result of years of patient and scientific observation of children in all areas of their day to day life. Our strong belief in Montessori education guides us to provide a specially prepared learning environment in which the child’s personal growth is valued as much as their academic achievements. Our Montessori programme and environment is purposefully designed for children to freely choose learning experiences and specialised Montessori activities and equipment that both interest and challenge them. Within the Montessori philosophy we encourage children to be independent, ‘self-managing’ individuals who are respectful of others and themselves and are self-determining.
“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.”
Dr Maria Montessori (as cited in Elizabeth Hainstock, 1986, p. 81 – The Essential Montessori)
The PMK Learning Culture
- We recognise all children as individuals and acknowledge their interests and stages of development.
- We believe learning occurs both inside the classroom and outside the classroom.
- We believe in giving each child time to develop at their own pace, and we emphasise the potential of each child.
- We acknowledge a child’s need to learn by doing.
- As teachers, we see our role as providers of a loving, welcoming, safe, and caring environment, which fosters the child’s interests and facilitates their ability to learn, grow, and develop. To do this, we constantly assess their current stage of development and assist them to progress to the next stage.
- We aim to foster competent, adaptive, responsible citizens who are creative problem solvers and contributors to a peaceful and sustainable society.
- We believe that children are naturally curious and interested in learning and we work alongside them to support their development of a disposition towards life-long learning. At PMK we work to provide them with intriguing learning materials as they spontaneously investigate, explore and discover while respectfully using those learning materials.
- We aim to provide a high quality, rich and diverse curriculum that supports the child’s holistic development.
- We offer specialised classes in Performance Arts Drama and Music, cooking, Spanish, te reo and tikanga Maori, Kelly Sports (a perpetual motor skills programme) and Circability (a circus sports skills programme).
- Each child is presented with many opportunities for mutual co–operation and team work, an experience necessary for today’s child in preparation for their future.
We are committed to:
- using Te Tiriti o Waitangi to guide our obligations to Māori as tangata whenua and Treaty partners
- the contribution of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori to the culture of Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten
- building long-term and positive relationships with Māori stakeholders, and
- increasing the capability of Ponsonby Montessori Kindergarten to engage with Māori interests.
Our Working Environment
In our current working environment there is an expectation that we will:
- provide and maintain a teaching and learning environment and culture that is physically, socially and emotionally safe for ākonga and teachers
- engage in ethical, respectful, positive and collaborative relationships with our community, ākonga, preschool colleagues, visiting teachers, students on practicum, whanau/families and other carers eg grandparents or nannies, and agencies such as the Education Council, Education Review Office (ERO) and the Ministry of Education
- acknowledge and respect the languages, heritages and cultures of all our ākonga and have a good understanding of the demographic of our community
- take part in opportunities to reflect and advance our professional knowledge and skills, including participation in networking opportunities eg Communities of Learning and the Auckland Kindergarten Association network
- create and implement role descriptions that both:
- fulfil the requirements of the Education Council’s Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC), and
- provide an evidence-based staff performance development/appraisal process,
- implement relevant legislation and curriculum documents and keep up with our compliance obligations.
Ngā Pou Here
Ngā Pou Here is a metaphor used to frame the early childhood education review methodology. This metaphor describes four factors that affect the capacity of early childhood services to promote positive learning outcomes for children.
Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive learning outcomes for children.
Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive learning outcomes for children.
The four principles of Nga Pou Here are implicit in this Strategic Plan, particularly in the mission and values sections, but also threaded through the goals and actions section.
We provide an opportunity for families/whānau to understand and contribute to our learning programme/curriculum through engaging them in their children’s Learning Stories. These stories begin with an observation of ākonga and their interests, strengths and needs. We can then plan together for how we can help the ākonga to move towards a particular learning outcome or outcomes.
In practice, the priorities of our community become the ‘fine print’ of our aspirations. Our community has collectively indicated support for our environment where there is provision for a wide variety of opportunities for ākonga to explore and extend their interests, strengths and creativity.
At PMK each ākonga is guided and supported by teachers and families to develop:
- a love of learning
- an acceptance of differences and skills to develop relationships
- the skills to collaborate and work in a team
- an attitude of risk taking and the confidence to make independent decisions within age-appropriate boundaries
- an attitude of open-mindedness
- respect for others’ feelings and thinking
- decision making skills through practical application
- a belief in and the confidence to creatively and imaginatively express and share their own ideas and opinions in a variety of ways
- the ability to develop and ask questions
- a curiosity about the world around them, and
- an understanding of community and their responsibilities within that community.
Learning and Teaching Aspirations
- We model a love of learning in order to support ākonga to become independent and reflective.
- We focus on building a learning culture that promotes respect for self, each other and the environment, where contributions from ākonga, teachers and parents/ whānau are encouraged and supported.
- We encourage ākonga to take risks, be curious and open-minded, confident, imaginative and creative.
- We strive to create learning spaces that reflect and encourage sustainable practices, encouraging ākonga to understand their impact on the environment.
- We value high quality, professional teachers who gently challenge and stretch individual ākonga towards self-management and independence, all the while encouraging a sense of belonging, and underlining the importance of caring for others.
- We strive to build relationships that are sustained through cherishing inclusivity, individuality and diversity.
- We require ethical behaviour in all our activities and interactions.
- We seek active engagement with the communities we serve and value the benefits we bring to one another.
- We invest, manage, and account for our resources in order to effectively support positive learning outcomes for our ākonga.
We perceive current major challenges to be:
- catering to a wide range of individual needs
- ensuring high quality trained teachers
- changes to the current Te Whāriki curriculum
- changes in the government funding system
- new primary school enrolment and starting age processes
- community consultation, particularly around policy changes
- protecting our ‘PMK culture’, and
- enrolling a judicious mixture of age groups.