Our story began in January 1972, when Glennie Oborn, a loving mum , opened her first early childhood centre in what was her family home in Auckland. Along with 3 passionate teachers, they welcomed the first twelve children. Four decades on, Kindercare’s still 100% Kiwi-owned, family-owned, and still reflects those same family values, warm, respectful care and meaningful personal connections. It’s no surprise then that it feels like “home” to the children and families we love.
I’m not sure about you, but for myself, I find it really important to know not only “what” people or organisations do, but “why”, because that helps me understand who they are. So, I’d like to share Kindercare’s Mission Statement with you, because it captures the “what” and “why”:
“Children are a gift from God, entrusted to us by parents. In partnership with parents, we are dedicated to developing each child’s full potential by providing outstanding early childhood care and education.”
Why do we do what we do? Because children are a gift; and because we believe in the potential in each of them. So, along with acknowledging the trust parents place in us to care for their precious little one, keep them safe and develop this potential, it’s such a privilege for us to spend the day with your baby, toddler or preschooler.
It’s in July of 2004 that the Christchurch chapter of our story begins, with the purchase of seven existing early childhood centres (known as Paddingtons) in our beautiful Garden City. Incorporating these centres into the Kindercare family was an exciting time for us because it meant we were supporting more Kiwi families and becoming part of the early care and education of our youngest Cantabrians.
Along our amazing journey, we found a special place in more communities with the opening of 4 new centres in Christchurch. As well as huge rewards, new relationships and heart-felt experiences, we’ve shared some challenging times with everyone in the city – times when we realised what it meant to really “live” our values: safe, loved and learning. Through the horror, trauma and devastation of the earthquakes and after-shocks, children and families relied on the certainty of our centres being there; and again when snow falls caused wide-spread closures and disruption to family routines and commitments. The courage, compassion and resilience of Cantabrians has made Kindercare even more committed to Christchurch, and even more determined to give the children in our care, the best start in their lives.
Popping into a centre is the best way to understand the “Kindercare difference”, but we can tell you that each centre has its own unique “feel” and culture, while sharing common aspects – like our foundation skills program, which lays down critical foundations at each developmental stage. Here’s a little about our care program.
For our babies, it’s all about loving, close relationships. Providing respectful care that’s responsive to your baby’s needs, and gentle moments of connection and care throughout the day soothe your infant and build trust, so we get to know your baby’s cues and needs. Teachers in this room love working with this age group – sharing cuddles, smiles, singing, giggles, conversations and emotional connection, and creating time and space for your baby to move and explore freely. Did you know there’s a really important reason for this? Movement is critical for brain development, and that’s because all learning begins with the body, and is linked to movement. As your baby’s body is moving, it’s teaching the brain, movement is becoming more automated and your child’s mind is free to think and learn. The more your child moves, the more your child knows. We have hours of fun, on the floor, enjoying amazing sensory experiences with your baby.
Then it’s time for Toddlers! We love this age group – persistent, energetic, curious, eager for independence but always ready for cuddles and your undivided attention! For these little ones, we create an environment with lots of opportunities to explore, plus a predictable routine that toddler’s know and trust. So your child has time to practice and repeat their new skills, take risks that challenge him/her, with the security of knowing that there’s always someone close by who loves them and will respond quickly, help them make sense of their world and learn how to relate to others. And you’ll have peace of mind that your little one is safe while having the freedom and space to develop his/her self-help skills, make mistakes and try again, and use their whole body to make new discoveries. It’s this active use of their senses that your toddler uses as a fuel for movement and that’s how they learn about balance, how to sit still and how to read and write – skills that are essential when they go to school.
So, what will your child be getting up to in the Preschool Room? Well firstly having fun is absolutely essential as your child continues to learn, through their play. And by the time they’re about 4½years old, they’ll be involved in our specialised Transition to School Program so your precious child’s prepared for that big step to primary school! As parents we knows how hungry preschoolers are for new experiences and concepts so choosing childcare where their education makes the most of this precious time is so important. That’s why your preschooler will be introduced to the alphabet through our exciting Letterland program, develop a love of reading with you through our Literacy Links program, foster amazing skills like resilience, persistence, confidence through our “You Can Do It” program and a weekly session that the children just love – Cherry.bytes (our information technology program which connects in with the classroom focus and gives children the opportunity to use iPads as an innovative learning tool).
Loving teachers, abundance of cuddles and conversations, and close relationships are just some of the reasons your child will have really cherished early years at Kindercare.