The ATAWHAI (Nurturing) Room is the name given to our Infants and Toddlers area and is for children 0-2.

Staffing

All our teachers are qualified – this means they either have (or are in training towards) a Degree or Diploma in Early Education.  They are all trained in CPR and First Aid and subject to a police check.  We also have a commitment to ongoing professional development for all the staff.

The Atawhai room is staffed by two qualified teachers, with a third teacher aid working as support when there are several children starting at the same time and supporting those transitioning to the over two area.

Ratios

Our ratio for our Under 2’s is 1:4 with the flexibility of reducing this when there are several new children starting at once or when we have a few under 1 year of age.  This exceeds minimum government regulations, allowing us to ensure quality is maintained.

Key Teachers

We believe that consistency in care and the ability to form solid relationships with a caregiver are paramount for infants and toddlers.  Your child will be assigned a key teacher to settle them into the centre, get to know their cues and routines and talk daily with parents.  Communication is vital to this process.  Teachers are always available at drop off and pick up times to exchange information with parents and are happy to arrange other times for discussions.

Respectful Care-giving

We believe children who are treated with respect will learn to respect themselves, respect others and respect the environment.  Some of the elements of respectful care-giving are:

  • The use of ‘inviting’ body language including facial expressions
  • Talking children through actions and movements, letting them know what is about to happen and giving children time to respond
  • Understanding and responding to the child’s own cuses, pace, rhythm and comfort levels
  • Unhurried time
  • Giving full attention ot the child and the situation

Free Movement

We have adapted our practices to include elements of a “Free Movement” philosophy for our infants, which means allowing their motor development to progress naturally and unassisted.  For this reason we do not have equipment such as bouncers, highchairs, walkers, etc.

We believe the best place for infants’ physical development is on the floor where they are able to learn to move their bodies as nature intended, rather than being supported or restricted in devices which place them in positions they are not ready for.  Free movement allows children to develop agility, spatial awareness, co-ordination, balance, as well as good judgment about what they can and can’t do, thereby keeping themselves safe from harm.

Understanding that all children have unique experiences we will always consider what your child is used to e.g.  If your child is used to sitting up, and is upset at being on the floor, we will sit them up out of respect for the wishes of the child and the parents.

Resources

Having been inspired by information gathered at vaious early childhood conferences, we have moved away from commerically produced resources (fantastic plastic) toward familiar objects found in the home and in nature.  These items offer infinite possibilities for play and learning as they have no right or wrong way to be played with.  We see children absorbed in learning, building hand eye co-ordination skills and developing the foundation for creative and imaginative thinking as they make choices about what to play with and how to utilise objects.

Where colourful plastic toys may look inviting to adults, to very young children they look, sound, feel and taste like plastic.  Wishing to encourage your babies and toddlers to explore in a spontaneous manner with all of their senses we want them to have access to an extensive range of resources that appeal to sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.  The children are enjoying wooden pegs into the large plastic bottles, tins, chains, wooden spoons, shells and bowls and utilising them in a range of ways.

Meal Times

Educare provides all meals for children, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.  The cost of this is $0.50 for morning and afternoon tea and $3.00 for lunch.  We are committed to the provision of nutritional, varied and balanced meals with quality ingredients.  The kitchen is able to provide meals for all of the ages and stages and also cater for children with special dietary allergies and needs.

Daily Programme And Routines

8:00 – 8:45
  • Welcome children and families
  • Information sharing
  • Self-selected play
9:30
  • Morning Tea
11.15
  • Lunch
12:45 – 1:30
  • Farewell morning children
  • Greet afternoon children
  • Information sharing
  • Self-selected play
12:15
  • Afternoon sleep time and Free Play
2.30 –  3.00
  • Afternoon tea
4:15 –  5:30
  • Farewells and  Information sharing

We understand that infants and toddlers are unique and have their own patterns for feeding, sleeping and play, therefore routines are a guide only.  As much as possible we attempt to duplicate the routines children are familiar with in the home environment.

Books, puzzles and manipulative equipment are always available alongside sensory experiences, art, music and physically active play.

Nappies and Sleeping

Our nappy room and sleep room are located away from the rest of the programme where it is private and quiet.  Only the teachers are allowed in this area. Parents are required to supply their own nappies.  We support the use of disposable or cloth nappies.  Each child has their own basket within the nappy room and parents can choose to keep this stocked or put a set of nappies into their child’s bag each day.

Teachers will work with the parents on their child’s sleep routines.