Supporting early learning in Kaikohe

Issue: Volume 94, Number 13

Posted: 27 July 2015
Reference #: 1H9crd

Kaikohe is a hive of early learning activity and people working together to raise prior participation rates for the community.

If you happen to be in Kaikohe on a Wednesday, you might come across an early learning street play day, which is held every second Wednesday at Library Square.

It is in an ideal location as it is central to town, has free WiFi, and is close to the children’s playground.

Library Square provides a great environment in which to engage with whānau about the importance of early learning, including providing information about early childhood education (ECE) and kōhanga reo, while their children play and learn.

You might also want to pop by the Drop-in Centre on the main street. It is open five days a week, for anyone passing by with young children. The centre provides helpful advice and information for parents and also runs a playgroup with a range of quality early learning activities.

At Kaikohe East School, four year olds are busy at the newly established Supported Playgroup. This accelerated learning playgroup opened on 18 May with a blessing and a school assembly.

Already, eight children who had not previously attended any ECE have enrolled with the playgroup.

The space set-up is exciting and takes a Reggio Emilia approach like the school does. The focus of the playgroup is to prepare children for school in a way that responds to each child’s strengths and interests, through sessions that are focused, engaging and exciting.

New entrant teachers from the school regularly help out at the playgroup, and twice a week the children visit the new entrant class. This builds a strong foundation for successful transitions to school.

Ngā Kākano Puawai o Kaikohekohe Trust coordinates these events, the Drop-in Centre and the playgroup (supported by Kaikohe East School).

The playgroups are both run by mums who came with their babies when the Drop-in Centre opened two years ago. Te Hau Ora o Kaikohe is supporting whānau to develop education plans and enrol their children in ECE services or kōhanga reo.

Using music to engage children and whānau in early learning in Ōtara

The Pūoru Pīere (Pūoru Pepi)–Sistema Aotearoa project uses an international model of music-making to foster confidence, teamwork, pride and aspiration in children and their families.

This initiative is now operating in Ōtara and aims to engage children and whānau in early learning.

The music programme is based on social, community and holistic development, and forms the basis of the Pūoru Pīere curriculum. The programme provides parenting techniques through modeling an age-appropriate musical context in order to strengthen the relationship between child and parent/carer.

The Pūoru Pīere weekly drop-in classical music session in the Ōtara Music Arts Centre has become a regular feature at Ōtara Mall, with new and returning families attending every week. Already in the first term the project has engaged with 543 new families.

The project is also connecting with four early childhood education centres where enrolment and attendance patterns of the existing children were variable. As a result of introducing Sistema Aotearoa into the centres they are reporting some early indications that enrolments are increasing.

During the sessions parents and caregivers are sensitively encouraged to be active participants in the music-making with their children. Families who attend the drop-in sessions and those of the children in the centres are supported to do simple musical activities at home to encourage language and social interaction between the adults, siblings and pre-school children.

The project is still in its early stages, but the indications are that the introduction of skills-based music lessons has struck a chord with many of our non-participating families.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 5:28 pm, 27 July 2015

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