Throughout New Zealand, small but happy groups of children had a smooth transition back to kindergarten and early childhood centres according to teachers. First day numbers were smaller than anticipated representing around 3 to 4% of whanau; but these figures are expected to grow as the happiness spreads.
New Zealand Kindergartens CEO Jill Bond and Early Childhood Leadership Secretariat and Waikato Kindergarten Association CEO Maree Stewart said that they were delighted to hear how well the first day had gone for children and teachers.
Jill said she wanted to reassure parents that the health, safety and happiness of the children returning were absolute priorities. “We continue to get great advice from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, and we are following that advice. The children were really well versed in things like regular hand washing and teachers talked to them about their kindergarten bubble”.
Teachers received positive responses from parents, grateful that their children were going to be active and well cared for. At Roslyn Kindergarten, Jett was busy creating Jett’s lego world including McDonalds and kindergarten. Olly from Makino Kindergarten was kept busy creating activity bags for his kindy friends which teachers will be delivering to whanau. And, at Casa Nova Kindergarten in Oamaru time was taken to check out the vegetable garden.
Jill said while some teachers actively worked with small groups of children, other teachers continued to engage and work on-line with children at home. We really want to support our communities as we know how tough it’s been for parents and care-givers trying to juggle work and home-life. That goes to the heart of what community kindergartens and centres are all about.
Maree said “it was great to see how quickly the children settled in and enjoyed their familiar surroundings. The teachers loved seeing the children as well”. While there are some activities which we can’t provide, there are many new things for children to take part in like ‘zoom’ mat time to connect children at home with their friends at kindergarten”.