Take a Tour
Supporting children 2 – 5 years old
Small is Beautiful provides an environment that supports 20 children from aged 2 to age 5+. We have three teachers on the floor as well as our supervisor. This low ratio enables us to get to know the children, understand their skills and interests. Each child experiences a strong sense of belonging which enables them to learn, grow and develop.
We set out a variety of tools and collage materials, enabling all ages to create and refine their emerging manipulative skills. The art table is one of many areas which contributes to the school readiness of our tamariki (children). Practising their pincer grip and making 3d sculptures is fun!
For those who enjoy mucking in, we change the tactile play experience each day, asking the children what they would like to do and working with their suggestions; gloop, fluff, wheat, foil, bubbles, playdough, baking, soda and vinegar, clay – whatever the material, it’s always a win.
Opportunities for teachers to scaffold [extend] children’s play and promote their thinking are possible in the outdoor playground and when children are engaged in physical skill activities. (Cullen, 1993.)
Our outdoor environment is a hidden playground surrounded by mature trees. We have a range of equipment which facilitates open-ended play.
Each day we arrange our resources according to the children’s interest. We have a sandpit, jungle gym, barrel swing, tree house, art easel and much, much more.
Our mat times aren’t your typical “Sit down” mat time. At Small is Beautiful we believe a moving child is a learning child. Therefore we have designed our mat times to be about moving the body, exploring mid-lines and strengthening all the little muscles in our bodies that allow us to move, sit, jump and even help us concentrate.
Our mat times are full of music, dancing, nursery rhymes and balancing activities. We incorporate magnetic stories, Māori legends, puppets, balloons, parachute, bean bags and more.
On Wednesday we have a dance teacher – Michele has been a part of the Small is Beautiful team for many years and loves to take the children on a little journey filled with imagination and excitement.
Craft and exploration experiences
Children’s cognitive outcomes appear to be directly related to the quantity and quality of the teacher/adult planned and initiated focused work group for supporting children’s learning. (Siraj-Blatchford et al., 2002)
We run a week by week module that is based upon children’s interests. We explore a range of exciting things that may be happening in our community or upcoming holidays. We allow for all children to come and go as they please, giving them control of their learning and allowing them to join in if they wish. Running each experience for a week allows for children who attend 2-3 days to have the same opportunities as those who attend 5 mornings.
Our Busy Books are an activity-based assessment tool which has been developed over 30 years. This activity supports each child at various stages, preparing them for school. We look at numbers, letters, shapes, animals, colours and sounds. We make it fun, exciting and empowering. Giving each child their own book allows each child to feel proud of their work and experience a sense of accomplishment. This is something children look forward to each day and they are often heard talking about what their next exercise might be. This is a great settling tool that is always missed in the school holidays.
Healthy eating (real food)
Each child brings a packed lunch and drink bottle, and we sit down together to eat. We support healthy eating and encourage children to eat their ‘real’, nutritious food first to give us lots of energy for playing.
Our Afternoon Session
Our afternoon session allows the children to refine their emerging social skills and follow their interests. In this small group children gain in confidence and their friendships develop and blossom. Our experiences range from imaginative play, exploring new, exciting games, bringing out intriguing, hands-on resources or inventing a new game to play.
Leaving for school
Leaving for school is an event to be celebrated. Leading up to their last day, each child experiences the joy of painting a T-shirt (with their friends’ help) and sewing their own feather on our beautiful korowai (cloak) made by our tamariki.
Parents and caregivers are welcome to attend our leaving ceremony. Each child goes on a little treasure hunt to find their very own wooden tree gifted by Small is Beautiful. We look at their portfolios, Busy Book and their t-shirt. The children wear our korowai and we sing “Te-aroha” along with “Candles burning bright” while lighting candles on our Leaving Tree. A special time for all.