by Helen Martin
On March 4, staff and contributing families from the Commercial Road early childhood education centre Active Explorers celebrate their first birthday. Run as a franchise of Evolve Education Group, the second largest NZ provider of early childhood education, the centre has been going from strength to strength since it opened in March 2019.
Active Explorers is fully staffed, with six teachers and a Manager, Maria Golding, who also teaches. She has over 30 years’ experience in early childhood education and loves working with the local community. As she explains, their philosophy is child-led and based on building on children’s strengths. Every effort is made to provide natural resources, with plastic finding a place there only if it’s an important learning tool, such as Lego. “We’ve had a really good response from families here about what we’re doing,” says Maria. “We don’t like to see it as formal learning, but we encourage the children to be independent, problem solve their difficulties and play well together. We teach them to tidy up and take responsibility for the resources.” The older children are given basic skills to prepare them for school and when they leave are given the portfolio where their progress has been recorded while at the centre.
Morning and afternoon tea and lunch are provided – all made from scratch, with no processed food – and there is plenty of provision for the children to sleep. The three main rooms in this purpose-built facility - Nursery, Young Tamariki and Pre-school – are fresh and spacious, while the building itself is in a great spot, with the outdoor area afforded a beautiful view of the river and the chance to watch the waka ama training and see the trains go by.
All-in-all it’s been a very successful first year for Active Explorers. Here’s to the next one.
by Helen Martin