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At Big Lumsden, we provide a safe and stimulating learning environment for three to five-year-olds that is steeped in our Lumsden ethos, making each day literacy rich, culturally aware and physically active.
Fully qualified specialist kaiako are dedicated to nurturing skills and developing obvious interests in tamariki of this age, as well as fostering new capabilities, teaching the fundamental skills required for school, and encouraging safe risk-taking in secure and friendly surroundings.
Our focus with this age group is to ensure we offer:
- an ERO-recognised high teacher-to-child ratio with ECE-trained specialist teachers who understand preschoolers’ desire to learn, challenge themselves and become more independent.
- a balanced, structured approach incorporating daily routines, planned teaching time, including literacy and numeracy, and child-led experiences.
- a secure and active environment that promotes safe risk-taking, outdoor experiences, creativity and sustainability.
- real world learning, independence and personal confidence in preparation for school.
Numeracy & literacy
Our passion for teaching little minds is evident in the literacy rich environment we are known and respected for. The cosy literary suite is a popular spot with the children, with writing, reading and drawing materials at the ready. It is here great progress is made, from learning to hold a pencil and recognise letters to mastering their own full name and then simple sentences. Tamariki set the pace here while kaiako standby ready to help, and the encouraging environment ensures each child is school ready and eager to learn by the time they graduate. Specialist-trained literacy kaiako Rakelle can be found here working one-on-one with a child or with a small group, her patience and skilled tutoring making letter recognition, penmanship and sentence structure a fun and wondrous activity.
Technology and information are alive and accessible at Lumsden, with an iMac and iPads on hand to revisit learning and extend research and discovery during mat-time discussions and countries of the world/topic studies. Tamariki can also access their online Educa profiles via social media, observing their own development and learning.
Languages & countries of the world
Other languages, cultures and countries of the world make up a significant part of our curriculum and an important focus for learning. Multilingual language teacher Tanja introduces our tamariki to the wider world, teaching basic words and counting in other languages as well as songs and traditions. New cultures and geographic features open our little minds to the big world outside New Zealand, and Lumsden is fortunate to count five staff members fluent in foreign languages (including German, Mandarin, French and Spanish), who can be heard singing and speaking to the children in these other tongues.
The fascinating countries of the world studies are interspersed with and complemented by topic studies reflecting what is important to New Zealand and its people, including the key values and virtues that contribute to society. Two lead kaiako proactive in the use and pronunciation of Te Reo Maori make every week Maori Language Week, and New Zealand Sign Language Week merely showcases the incredible talents of our tamariki who incorporate Makaton sign into their everyday learning at Lumsden.
Art, dance, music and process cooking are important expressions of children’s creativity and emotions and are strongly cultivated at Lumsden. Art teacher Christina’s creative research and passion for art are infectious as she works closely with tamariki in the purpose-built art room, developing hand-eye coordination, imagination and participation amidst paint, glue and textiles.
Process cooking is eagerly signed up for by many keen little chefs ready to exert their independence in our kitchen area each morning. Children work in pairs bringing healthy snack recipes to life, testing their ability to follow visual instructions while employing their numeracy and literacy skills, concentration and hand-eye coordination. Eating the fruits of their creative labour is always the highlight.
Visiting theatre troupes, artists, musicians and authors entertain and inspire the children with an insight to the world of culture and performance. Dance is regularly incorporated in the children’s daily active movement and music is celebrated and studied during The Music Project, a preschool-specific music programme designed by musician/music teacher Gemma that examines pitch, tone, beat and rhythm as well as different instruments.
Our annual Christmas pantomime consolidates and celebrates our children’s artistic and creative studies from throughout the year as the highly anticipated performance showcases the big things our little people are capable of.
Our dynamic and welcoming learning environment has been architecturally-designed with our little people and curriculum in mind, helping to prepare them for formal learning in the future. The outdoor environment reflects a Kiwi childhood, a supportive and safe setting in which tamariki are encouraged to take risks, push their physical boundaries and grow braver as they develop fundamental gross motor skills and personal confidence.
Specialist outdoor teachers open our little people up to big possibilities in the Lumsden garden, teaching ball and rugby skills beneath the posts, encouraging imaginative play and exploration amidst the sandpit and chalet, as well as gardening, sustainability and respect for the environment.
Active movement is a vital element of the Lumsden experience, with purposeful, developmentally appropriate activities set up to challenge and advance the ‘six physicalities’ that help prepare children for school and formal learning. When tamariki are offered a balance of physical activities in their everyday lives, it helps them to build their body and their brain – so at Lumsden, we make this a priority. We are firm believers that active play is key to physical and psychological health.