Kindergarten teachers learn skills
Around 100 Napier Kindergarten professionals gathered at the Napier Memorial Convention Centre last week to engage in their 15th consecutive annual Napier Kindergarten Association (NKA) Teacher’s Conference. Napier Kindergarten Association education manager Beth Huddleston says the conference has been hailed as the best ever.
“It was a fantastic conference — filled with laughter, singing and connections. The messages from each of the speakers complemented each other, with themes of protecting the planet for the future, protecting our children’s creativity and inherent intelligence.”
Board of Trustees vice president Sarah Nash says she was astounded at the passion for teaching and learning at Napier Kindergartens.
“I’m really excited about the high calibre of speakers that joined us for the two days.”
The conference was a chance to celebrate the new version of Te Wha¯ riki — the early childhood curriculum for Aotearoa New Zealand — which was launched in April last year. The first finalised version of Te Wha¯ riki was published in 1996 after an extensive and inclusive process of engagement with the whole ECE sector in Aotearoa New Zealand, Sarah says.
“This resulted in a universal uptake and ‘buy in’ of this cutting edge and revolutionary document written by Sir Tamati and Lady Tilly Reedy, Professors Margaret Carr and Helen May.
“We believed it timely to put together a Teachers’ Conference in 2018 that firstly celebrates the longevity and wonder of Te Wha¯ riki from its emergence in the early 1990s to present day. To take time to marvel at the transformative effect it is has had not only on New Zealand early childhood but on international ECE world and now increasingly being taken up by primary school junior class rooms,” says Napier Kindergartens education manager, Eileen Kennedy.
Professor Helen May spoke on the development of Te Wha¯ riki and groundbreaking research work on introducing Te Wha¯ riki as the chosen curriculum for new entrant children. The Conference focuses on strengthening subject knowledge for teachers.
“If tamariki are to access the breadth of a rich curriculum then as teachers we are bound to continue our lifelong learning of specific subject knowledge,” Eileen says.
Co-founder of Child Space Robin Christie worked with teachers on science and design expertise. Ruud Kleinpaste spoke to teachers about the natural world and how this links to specific scientific and mathematical knowledge. David Trubridge presented his narrative of the creative process and why creativity must be fostered. Doctor and poet Glenn Colquhoun discussed oral language and expression for adults and in teachers’ work with children. Teachers’ enthusiasm to engage in interactive experiences that challenge them to understand and articulate their world views on Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships was a feature of this experience.
Napier Kindergarten Teachers practice their dramatic skills while forming an impromptu kazoo band during the recent conference.