Free Range Children

26 January 2019
Free Range Children

Did you know that the Ministry of Education’s minimum outside Activity area is required to be only 5 M2 per child ??!! Here at Kereru we understand the value of space and how much this supports our children in an individual way! Have you ever been in a situation where everything just feels so cluttered and claustrophobic, you are desperate for some space? Well that’s exactly how children can feel in these cramped outdoor spaces. Children are naturally curious and want to explore, they want to learn, be loud, run, play and have fun. With developments these days the size of the home is taking more priority then the size of the good old-fashioned quarter acre back yard. Come and check us out yourselves! Sit back, relax, have a coffee or tea, meet our teachers and experience first-hand how relaxed, happy, capable and confident our children are within our safe environment.

We currently have limited spaces for children 2-6yrs of age.

Call in at 10 Oraha Road, Huapai, anytime.

Fire Pits and Power Tools

28 July 2018
Fire Pits and Power Tools


One of the wonderful advantages of coming to Kereru is our ability to understand each child individually. Through knowing our children has enabled us to better support our children, such as understanding children’s need to climb, jump, create, nurture and the desire to experience real life situations. Through child voice, teacher discussion and planning we discovered how our children would love to cook and experience the joy of a real-life camp fire. After searching for our favourite fire pit we discovered the one we wanted on trademe. It was not long before it arrived and the children eagerly awaited the construction of our brand-new fire pit. Through helping the construction side of the process, the children were able to extend their mathematical concepts. The value of dexterity and a more in-depth understanding of how this fire pit functions.

Once constructed the children were then able to use trial and error in regards to the most suitable way to start a fire. By using wet wood, the children discovered that the smoke was more intense and the fire went out quite quickly. They also noticed that paper burnt faster than cardboard and that pine cones were a great way to keep a fire going. Lastly the important aspect of dry wood and how that created a fire that burnt longer with less smoke. But before starting the fire we first went over all the important information on how to be safe around fire.

The children discussed the reasons about why we need a hose in close proximity, how to use our hands as a heat bubble decipher and the distance and speed needed to walk safely around the fire. After the children were able to inform the teachers on how to be safe we then practiced phoning the fire brigade and how we should respond if a fire eventuated. Once all that information had been digested the children then watched as Emily started the fire. It was so exciting and the children sat so carefully. Lucky for us Ivy and Ruby had kindly brought in some marshmallows for us to cook over the fire. This was great fun and the children started to see how fun a fire can be when being responsible about safety. Over all this has been a very popular and exciting new addition to our outdoor environment. I wonder what other things we can cook on our fire pit?



Besides building confidence and safety awareness, intentional teaching through experiences such as the fire pit also helps kids develop language and brain-body connections. Exposure to different "risks" within their preschool, including open flames hammers and saws, (yes, you read that correctly!) resulted in preschoolers developing more confidence, safety awareness and better risk assessment skills, according to a new study. "Intentional teaching involves giving physical and verbal support to kids, but also engaging children in co-problem solving and higher-level involvement in making decisions themselves," says Ms Higginbottom. More specifically, rather than telling kids what to do in risky situations, it's about helping them make their own safety judgments and developing competence when approaching risk. -


Animal Lovers

19 June 2018
Animal Lovers

Children who have a deep seated love of nature turn into ecologically-minded, empathetic, responsible leaders of the future.

We live in an ever-increasing sterile world, and some research points to this being a factor in the increase in allergies. Exposure to animals, as well as natural bacteria found in nature, is thought to reduce the incidence of allergies in children. Caring for animals allow the children here at Kereru Kindy to think beyond their own ego-centric self, and consider what it takes to keep another living being healthy and happy through food, water, shelter, company etc.

By also providing centre pets that take children through their life cycle; like tadpoles to frogs; we are learning about science and life-processes. Most importantly, lots of language-rich conversation can be heard around our kindy discussing the centre animals and many concepts can be expanded on, to enrich their own current knowledge bank.

Inexpensive toys grow children’s imaginations

15 May 2018
Inexpensive toys grow children’s imaginations

We have often marvelled at the long hours children can spend playing with simple materials like boxes, rocks, shells, sand, or water. As you’ve probably noted yourself, children are often more interested in the packaging than in the toys themselves!

One of the best ways to enhance children’s natural curiosity and imagination is to introduce a wide variety of the materials we call “loose parts” into their play settings.

Loose parts are alluring, beautiful, objects and materials that children can move, manipulate, control, and change while they play. Children can carry, combine, redesign, line up, take apart, and put loose parts back together in almost endless ways. Children will turn them into whatever they desire: a stone can become a character in a story; a pine cone can become an ingredient in an imaginary soup.

These objects invite conversations and interactions. They encourage collaboration and cooperation. All of these are highly valued skills in adult life today.

Emily Standen is Centre Manager at Kereru Kindy, 10 Oraha Road, Huapai.

Kereru Kindy has very limited spaces – maximum 23 children aged –2-5 years.

Hours 7.30-5.30 daily. All welcome.

The trials and tribulations of settling

23 April 2018
The trials and tribulations of settling


If only there was a book about the up's and down's parents experience during the first few months of their child starting at an Early Learning Centre. Enrolling is the easy part, it is not until the time your child starts attending that the roller coaster begins. Unfortunately for most parents the majority of the pain is the separation time at drop offs. Tears start, conversations of not wanting to go begin either at home or in the car, the never-ending please don't go prolonged hugs occur. You as a parent start to doubt the decision you made in starting your child at a centre. Unfortunately, mums and dads don't get to see what the teachers see, they don't observe how within a few minutes of their parents departing the children come out of their shells, show their fun and cheeky personalities, laugh, play, create, friendships, learn and generally interact quite happily within the setting. If only whanau can see what us teachers see, then you also would smile and feel happy and content in the knowledge your child is happy.


An effective settling process is important as it promotes the development of positive relationships between children and teachers, which begins an ongoing partnership of trust. ‘Settling’ is about supporting children and families’ emotional needs so that they develop a sense of security in a safe, comfortable and caring environment such as Kereru Kindy Huapai. It is important to understand that every child is an individual and what works for settling one child will differ to another. Through our animals, herbal teas, High Teacher ratios, our welcoming settling visit opportunities our abundance of resources and learning prospects you will find settling time so much easier. For more information about what Kereru Kindy has on offer please check out our facebook page

Building resilience through play

18 February 2018
Building resilience through play


Real play means taking risks—physical, social, and even cognitive. With a spacious and well resourced out door environment, children are able to try out new things and learn a great deal in the process. By giving children the chance to engage freely in adventure play, they quickly learn to access their own skills and match them to the demands of the environment.

They are able to ask themselves —consciously or unconsciously—“how high can I climb”, or “what resources around me can I use to my advantage?” They became savvy about themselves and their environment.

Children who are confident about taking chances rebound well when things don't work out at first. They are resilient and will try again and again until they master a situation that challenges them—or wisely avoid it, if that seems best.

Kids learning resilience through making things


Emily Standen is Centre Manager at Kereru Kindy, 10 Oraha Road, Huapai. Kereru Kindy offers an early learning curriculum centred around adventure play. Visitors welcome.




The most memorable days usually end with the dirtiest clothes

05 January 2018
The most memorable days usually end with the dirtiest clothes


A teachers reflection on the value of messy play


Learning is not orderly or aesthetic, it is organic and that means it can get messy, it can get chaotic, and that is perfectly fine. Being engaged and learning through messy play means dirty clothes. But - both clothes and children can be washed. Messy play is sensory. It’s physical play, it’s exploring and it’s imagining. Children can practice fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They can pre-write and draw, fill and pour, feel different textures, mix and create...they can talk, and they will giggle. Overall this empowers the children to take risks, be a confident independent learner full of self esteem and confidence. Language opportunities abound during messy play. The concept of a hundred languages in the Reggio Emilia Approach means that learning happens in many ways – that sitting, reading and writing in an orderly fashion is just not going to work for all children, there needs to be alternative ways to process information and experiences.

I read that creativity comes from chaos, that messiness and failure are necessary to create new ideas. For me, being “Reggio inspired” is about ideas, about connecting ideas, expanding ideas, interacting with each others’ ideas, building ideas – and doing this collaboratively. This means we need to get prepared for mess – to explore, to discover, to make mistakes and try again.

I have also come to terms with the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that we really don’t all see beauty in the same way, so why should children consider the same things as us beautiful?


“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”Fred Rogers

Learn through play to be ready for school

26 November 2017
Learn through play to be ready for school

All parents want their precious child to start their school journey well prepared.

However, there is often confusion about what being ‘school ready’ actually looks like.

Essentially, school readiness means that children should be able to manage themselves and their belongings in the school environment. Ideally, a new entrant should be able to sit quietly on the mat, listen to stories, follow instructions from the teacher, raise a hand to ask a question, wash their hands, sit and eat their lunch, identify and pack belongings in their bag and carry it, put on shoes / jersey/ hat and so on.

Most new entrant teachers agree that lack of these skills hinder efforts to push on with the academic learning journey.

Self-management, together with a well-developed sense of curiosity and love of learning are vastly more important than being able to write a few words, count or know the colours.

Latest research into learning has found children’s brain development happens through play. Play provides the foundations that will set them up for the rest of their life. Self-initiated play is creative, it helps children imagine and innovate.

Kereru Kindy and Childcare’s learning curriculum supports child-initiated learning through play.



How can we teach children empathy ?

26 November 2017
How can we teach children empathy ?

At Kereru Kindy our children are currently interested in learning about creepies and crawlies. We are all loving going outside and searching our natural environment to find different places where they can discover new insects and bugs.

We have found many things hiding in a variety of places, from centipedes, worms, ants, slaters to bees and spiders. It is wonderful to share the children’s delight as they find something new and exciting to them.

Through this experience they are learning about their world around them and how to care for and show empathy to other living creatures. We make sure we are always gentle and caring towards the animals and put them back safely where we found them (in their homes).

To extend this interest, we will be building our own bug hotel, so our Tamariki can continue to enjoy this experience for months to come.


Empowering early learners at Kereru Kindy

13 November 2017
Empowering early learners at Kereru Kindy

One of the key principles of the early learning curriculum (Te Whaariki) is Empowerment, where teachers help to empower children to learn and grow alongside each other.

At Kereru Kindy we provide an environment where our Tamariki are encouraged to make choices of their own and to direct their own learning. This helps children to become Independent and confident.

We encourage them to think and act for themselves, which helps them to gain self-belief and to build their self-esteem. They are then able to discover and enjoy learning experiences in their own unique way.

Learning becomes more fun and meaningful, and helps to prepare children for going to school. It is very rewarding for teachers to watch children make discoveries on their own, and to share their excitement and sense of accomplishment with their friends and teachers.