Curriculum and Programme

The Programme

The programme is planned weekly by the staff to cater for the child’s physical, intellectual, language, emotional and social development. The system within the planning is to nurture each child, and allow them to develop their own unique blend of personality and temperament. The staff are constantly observing children to see where their interests lie, so they can plan a relevant programme, based on these interests and differing learning styles.

We encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning at their own pace, and the programme is planned to meet the differing characteristics of toddlers and young children.

There are opportunities for gross and fine motor skills play, creative, collage, paint, clay, dough, bricks and blocks, where individual expression is encouraged, not modelled on adult work or ideas; different types of group play, including cooperative play, parallel and individual play; active play, role play and physical tasks; quiet activities, individual or group situations; a music session, story time and morning tea. All of these are made available through planned and spontaneous activities.

Any parent with talents or interests such as music, story-telling, puppetry, painting, etc are encouraged to share them for the benefit of the preschool. Any ideas suggestions or additions to the programme are welcome. The activities chosen by the teachers are developmentally appropriate for the children’s ages and abilities, and are based on the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki.

Te Whāriki

The aim of Te Whāriki is for all children to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society.

It is a holistic approach to learning, rather than a subject based approach; it sets out principles, strands and goals, appropriate for the early childhood years; it encourages social development of the child as well as developing dispositions to learn, reason, investigate and collaborate.

Te Whāriki is set up as a framework for two purposes:

  • To grow, nurture and develop competent, confident and caring learners and communicators in our children; and
  • To ensure that all children are given the above mentioned opportunity in an early childhood setting.

The following information gives you a better understanding of how the staff work with your child to achieve these goals, we have put actual examples the staff have used recently to demonstrate how these work in a practical sense at Huntsbury Preschool.

The curriculum is made up of four principles and five strands, these give 20 attributes that our community setting must achieve, and is the base of how the staff plan the programme to cater for all these points and combine it with the leads and interests that the children show. It is important that the teaching is child-initiated, and the staff bounce their teaching opportunities off what the child comes in with that morning.

Although these practical examples of how it works at Huntsbury, have been written down in a black and white grid format, do try to think of the learning system as a whole woven cloth, the principles and strands weave in and out of each other, making some learning opportunities actually link through about 4, 5 or more aspects.

Here’s a really simple example. One child is heading to attend the birthday party of another preschool child, so the teacher asks them had they made a birthday card for the child, answer no, so that morning’s activity included, choosing a colour of paper, making a card, decorating it – by what the child wants to draw on it, (a picture of the guest and birthday girl together), then inside, the teacher wrote the birthday girl’s name and “Happy Birthday”, but the child wrote all the names of his family as to who the card was coming from. This included the principles of community, empowerment, relationships, and the strands of belonging, contribution and communication; all in one child-led activity.

Here we list the principles and strands with explanations, along with a matrix of examples.



Allowing and giving the child the power to develop by themselves, and understand their ability and be proud of it. So they can contribute their own strengths and interests.

Holistic Development/Kotahitanga

Learning about things as a whole, the practical, spiritual, mental, and allowing them to see the whole picture and interlinking between different things, how the item can fit into the whole world, and its relationships in the world.

Family and Commmunity/Whanau Tangata

The support network of family and surrounding community that all blends to work together so the child can make the connections and understand the world they live in.

Relationships/Nga Hononga

Learning about relationships, through responsive and reciprocal actions and words. This applies to people, places and things, and their feelings and actions between them and the child and them and other things/ people.


Well-Being/Mana Atua

The health and well being of the child is protected and their emotional well being is nurtured.

  • Lets parents/caregivers go
  • Toilets alone
  • Feels comfortable with others
  • Feels comfortable with routine
  • Cuddles and affection and comments
  • Rest and sleep
  • Exercise and fresh air
  • Child’s fears and anxieties taken seriously
  • Safety skills and issues
  • Self care skills; dressing, hand washing
  • Coping mechanisms when things go wrong
  • Self concept/esteem
  • Impulse control/mood
  • Concentration and task completion
  • Ability to take risks
  • Independence
  • Looks after own needs; pours own drink
  • Knows they will receive support from an adult if they are emotionally or physically hurt
Belonging/Mana Whenua

Connecting links with the family and the wider world are affirmed and extended; they feel comfortable with routines, rituals and regular events; they know the limits and boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

  • Shares treasured objects with others
  • Greetings responds to others’ greetings
  • Tidies up after themselves and others
  • Knowledge about own family
  • Beginnings of knowledge of community
  • Knowing their work will be respected
  • Knows routines
  • Understanding rules and why we have them; limits and boundaries of acceptable behaviour
  • Feeling comfortable playing alongside in small and large groups
Contribution/Mana Tangata

Opportunities for learning are equitable and each child’s contribution is valued. Opportunities to learn alongside others are encouraged.

  • Mix socially
  • Social skills
  • Developing friendships
  • Special friends
  • Shows no prejudice towards other children
  • Respects others
  • Turn taking
  • Sharing
  • Waiting for a turn
  • Making choices
  • Care for and helping others
  • Takes different roles in games/co-operative play
  • Speaks out in a group
  • Conflict solving skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Creative skills
  • Accepting self as different and unique
  • Awareness of others
  • Coping with disability
Communication/Mana Reo

They develop non-verbal and verbal communication skills for a range of purposes; they experience stories and symbols of their own and other cultures; they discover different ways to be creative and expressive.

  • Expressing ideas and feelings
  • Body language
  • Listening
  • Developing communication with peers and adults
  • Language development; expressive and receptive
  • Appreciates stories, poems, rhymes, finger plays, music, singing, science and nature observations
  • Asking for help
  • Follows directions
  • Confidence in art and craft process
  • Has fun; laughter with words
  • Begins to understand distinction between print and pictures; written word has meaning
  • Recognizes left to right orientation of books
  • Recognizes name
  • Dramatic play
  • Reasoning and mathematical concepts
Exploration/ Mana Aotūroa

Their play is valued as meaningful learning and the importance of spontaneous play is recognized; they gain confidence in and control of their bodies; they learn strategies for active exploration and reasoning; they develop working theories for making sense of the living, physical and material worlds.

  • Shows confidence exploring, trialing and choosing
  • Decision making
  • Develops gross and fine motor skills
  • Seeks information
  • Looks for answers
  • Exploring a variety of sensory/manipulative activities
  • Different types of play; imaginative, role, solo
  • Problems solving skills
  • Group discussion and listening skills
  • Cognitive development, matching, sorting and counting
  • Trying new things
  • Experimenting
  • Encouragement to make theories about the world and try them out; scientific thinking
  • Respect for animals and plants
  • Special concepts of his/her own body
  • Learning style