You, the parents/whanau are welcome at The Little Castle, your child’s early childhood centre at all times. Make yourselves at home.

Education Programme

During your child’s time at The Little Castle we maintain both a hard copy and online portfolio on his/her progress. These are available for your perusal and your input at any time and become your property when your child leaves us, hopefully for school.

Our teaching team meets regularly to discuss individual children and plan our education programme according to their strengths and interests. Our emergent learning programmes are often displayed in the main rooms.

Upstairs – Infants and Toddlers Area three months to two years

Infants and toddlers live according to their own rhythms and patterns. The TLC team strives to meet the needs of all children and will alter the programme for individual needs accordingly.

We operate a primary caregiver system that ensures that every child has a Key Teacher and that each parent has a primary contact. It is easier for a child to get to know and build strong relationships with one new person, rather than several and Bowlby’s “Attachment Theory” suggests that baby’s brain development is enhanced when cared for by the same loving people. We believe that relationships with both the parent’s as well as their child is equally important. The Key Teacher’s relationship with the child and parent begins on the child’s very first day or, if possible, during settling in visits. The Key Teacher will nurture her assigned children during nappy changing, giving bottles, feeding and putting to and getting up from sleep.

Each child will have a secondary caregiver, who works with the child’s Key Teacher making sure that all children are respectfully nurtured at all times and especially when the Key Teacher is absent.

While at centre The Key Teacher does not own any child; all teachers have responsibility for all children and the collective responsibility for maintaining the learning environment. The Little Castle strives to maintain staff stability to ensure calm, loving environment for our little children.

Downstairs – two to five year olds

We offer a curriculum that focuses on fostering the learning and development of each child based on the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum “Te Whaariki”. Te Whaariki clearly acknowledges that the relationships and the environment that children experience have a direct impact on their learning and development. We have a number of copies on hand at the centre, which you are welcome to borrow at any time.

In our downstairs area, ages 2 to 5 years, we also offer a key teacher programme because scientific research confirms that meaningful relationships are paramount for small children to learn and develop positively. Every child has his/her own key teacher who is also the first contact for parents and she will settle your child into the centre or into her new environment downstairs. She is responsible for your child’s eating, toileting and sleeping and will also make sure that your child feels safe and secure while here at the castle. Of course along with the key teacher all of our other teachers will be close by to care for your child as well.

TLC teachers will plan according to interests, strengths and needs of individual children, groups of children, the weather, teachers interests and community and world wide events.

Every child leaving our centre for school will have fundamental skills in early literacy and maths. Our experienced teachers will do this by using the environment as the third teacher and setting up activities and spaces to promote learning and inquiry. We will aim for each child to have independent self help skills ready for school.

Meals

Well-balanced, nutritional meals are provided by our cook Debbie. The menu will be displayed daily in the sign in book. Our lunch dishes include: cottage pie, roast chicken and veges, homemade crumbed fish bites, spaghetti bol, mild curried sausages, chicken fried rice, roast chicken and roast vege, to name a few. Morning and afternoon teas always contain fruit plus: toast, sandwiches, home made muffins, scones, vegetable platters, yoghurt and fruit, and soup on the cold days. Debbie also makes a range of gourmet baby food for our youngest children, including spinach, beetroot, pear puree; three fruit and Quinoa; strawberries, banana, pear and apple blend; pumpkin, kale, kumara and carrot; and many more.

Special diets and allergies will be listed on your “enrollment form” and on an “allergies chart” in the kitchen and dining room and Debbie will do her very best to cater for individual requirements. You may be asked to provide food for your child if it is too complex. Please talk to teachers and to Debbie our cook about your child’s special dietary needs.

Please provide bottles and formula (or breast milk) for your baby. We will adhere to your instructions on when to feed her/him. We do not allow children to walk about with bottles for hygiene reasons. Please do not ask us to put your child down to bed with a bottle as it is against Ministry Regulations.

Clothing

Please dress your children in suitable play clothes. We do provide aprons but a child will often choose an activity ahead of us and stopping to put an apron on can interrupt his/her creative flow.

Please remember to provide at least two clean changes of clothing daily and name your child’s centre clothes. Please provide a named sun hat in summer and dress your child in tops with short sleeves and a named woolly hat, gumboots and raincoats in the winter.