YMCA – Y-Tamariki
Early childhood care & education centres all over the country are faced with the same question:
How do we create a learning environment that encompasses our unique philosophy, values, and vision?
In 2019, the team at Y-Tamariki decided to take steps in answering this question.
The Gisborne-based bilingual and bicultural centre began with a core value of connection. They are committed to connecting tamariki to their ahurea (culture), reo (language) and hitori (history), so it made sense to connect their two centres into one learning environment.
Dianah Foley, the centre manager, met with David from Play ‘n’ Learn to discuss and create their centre vision. ‘We started to discuss our place based curriculum around the area, which is important to the teaching team here’.
Learning environments play a significant role in the New Zealand early childhood curriculum and is often referred to as the third teacher, alongside the whanau and kaiako. The learning environment can impact the child’s holistic development, build a sense of belonging, and establish a lifelong love for learning and discovery, amongst many other benefits.
Dianah and her team envisioned an environment that incorporated innovation and art. This space would promote the child’s natural desire to create and explore. It also would be a space where connections with the child’s family and the wider world were honoured and extended in many ways, including having art that would teach about the Atua.
David worked closely with the Y-Tamariki team, never seeing any challenge as too big, and helped make their vision a reality.
‘The end result for us was so exciting, and what we have is an amazing area that our tamariki love. And for all of us, this is the beginning of a journey we are excited about’, Dianah says.
The new space engages and appeals to all people who walk through the doors, but most importantly, to the children. ‘The whole environment is light and bright and something that the children love’. When children love the spaces they are in they become empowered to learn and grow.
Y-Tamariki is committed to providing quality, fun and engaging learning activities, and promotes, respects and acknowledges the relationships of both dual partners of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. They offer three age-appropriate learning spaces, providing developmentally suitable activities and care. Their new environment enables them to better foster the learning journey, immersed with whanaungatanga (relationships), manaakitanga (caring), whakamana (empowerment) and kotahitanga (togetherness). They are our learning priorities and fits with the learning journey
When asked what she loves about the new environment the most, Dianah says ‘I hear happiness. It’s brought out joy with the kids. There’s more laughter. It’s just absolutely amazing’.
And when asked about her experience with Play ‘n’ Learn, she says ‘Our relationship with Play ‘n’ Learn has been absolutely fantastic. For me, Play ‘n’ Learn has been very patient with us, and I would encourage any other centre to contact them’.