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One of the areas of development Te Whāriki highlights is belonging/mana whenua. A sense of belonging is the cornerstone to a child’s holistic development, ongoing achievement, and also a factor in a communities ability to function peacefully. That is why at My Preschool our very name when spoken by a child affirms their right and responsibility to belong. The sense of place and children’s importance within it is reflected from the attention paid to caregiving routines and nurturing of the pēpē in our care, to the boisterous explorations, tree climbing, running, puddle jumping, laughter, adventure seeking, reading, stories, to quiet times of reflection and the freedom of expression found in children moving through all My Preschool spaces.

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Belonging begins with familiar and safe people, routines and places. Familiar places to play, eat, sleep, store belongings are important. Along with familiar spaces inside, the outside world plays a vital role in children’s health and sense of belonging at My Preschool. Outside, children explore their connections to Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother in a variety of ways, the natural world is transformative. In an increasingly on-line and technology driven world My Preschool stands out in the extensive focus on being outside in its biodiverse gardens; worms, compost, plants, vegetables, flowers, insects and chickens where creativity, cognitive skills, communication and connection is heartfelt, building a lifelong sense of kaitiakitanga.

Whānau and caregivers are warmly encouraged to participate at My Preschool where diversity is welcomed by a team of experienced kaiako. We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist.” ― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder Te Whāriki, p.24, Ministry of Education, 2017

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