Page 1

F E B R UA RY / M A R C H 2017

The magazine for the BestStart community Mā ngā ākonga harikoa me ngā ākonga māia For happy, confident learners







to the BestStart family

2017 is a very special year for us. In 1996 in Waihi Road, Tauranga, my wife Chloe and I became involved in an early childhood centre. We quickly saw the positive difference quality education made in the lives of children and became more deeply involved and committed.



BestStart Educare is now entering its 21st year, and we have approximately 4,500 wonderful staff from the tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. They work in 270 unique centres that serve 19,000 families every year. BestStart is now owned by the Wright Family Foundation, which supports wonderful community initiatives such as Plunket, the New Zealand Spelling Bee, Kids Lit Quiz, the Brainwave Trust and the Graeme Dingle Foundation. Chloe and I still enjoy seeing children’s faces light up on their learning journey to school. We take enormous pride in seeing our teachers running highly educative and loving centres that are engaged with their families and communities. Over the years, we’ve educated and loved more than 80,000 children in New Zealand, which at times seems an almost incomprehensible figure! We did it with the massive contribution of our teachers and staff, whose professional development has always been a top BestStart priority. Our belief is that the most important things we can give our children are quality education and our love. Love and learning are at the heart of what we do at BestStart. In 2017 we’ll celebrate 21 Years of Love and Learning and we look forward to celebrating with you.


IN T H I S MON T H'S I SSUE 4 Shorts 6 Growing Gorgeous Gardeners

Wayne and Chloe Wright CEO and Founders of BestStart

by Stephanie Jervis

8 Waitangi Day and Chinese New Year 9 What To Expect From Under Two's Teachers by Grace Winter

10 Helping The Anxious Child by Kathy Eugester

12 Making Screen Time Work by Dr. Kaylene Henderson

13 Plunket 1000 Days 14 Roundabout Editorial: Stephanie Jervis

Design: Cindy Hurst

For advertising and enquiries, please phone: 09 250 4136 Bright Start is published by BestStart P.O. Box 276-177, Manukau City 2241 Phone: 09 250 4136

Fax: 09 250 1072


BestStart is New Zealand’s largest private early childhood provider. Over 19,000 families are enrolled annually in BestStart centres around New Zealand. Bright Start aims to increase our sense of family and to better connect our parents, teachers and families. Circulation 55,000 Bright start 3

shorts Hurray

for summer!

In this happy season you and your littlies will often be playing outdoors together and enjoying the warm weather and sunshine.To keep young children safe outside, you will need to be aware of where they are and what they are doing so you can advise and guide them, and if necessary remove them from danger.

To keep your children safe in the big outdoors 1. Keep them within sight and within reach around water. It only takes a few minutes in 4 cm of water – the length of your little finger – for a baby or young child to drown. 2. If you have a pool on your property, make sure the gate is closed and children aren’t able to access the pool without adult supervision. Access to the pool should only ever be with an adult alongside. 3. Make it a rule to check and check again for small children before driving out of the driveway. 4. Have a safe outdoor play area that prevents your children getting onto the road or driveway. 5. Use sunscreen, cover up your child’s exposed skin with loose clothing, and play in the shade to reduce the risk of sunburn. Seek sunscreen advice from a pharmacist. 6. Always make sure children are buckled correctly into car seats and booster seats for every ride.

PLUNKETLINE: 0800 933 922 4 Bright start

Top parenting


Let your child make small mistakes. Give your child the opportunity to work out their own solutions when things don’t go perfectly. Dealing with minor frustrations helps your child develop resilience and selfreliance. They need the satisfaction of fixing things too!

Move baby move

Kids love to spin around and around – on a swing, a merry-go-round or just their feet! One of the skills they are practising is eye-tracking. Eye-tracking is when both eyes follow a moving object, or focus from one object to another. Eye-tracking is necessary to be able to follow words on a page and is therefore crucial for future readers and writers.

Expertise provided by Sophie Foster of Jumping Beans, child physical development specialists

Bookshelf the

By Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop, 1 Jervois Road, Ponsonby, Auckland

Undesr 2'

Undesr 2'

SUPER RABBIT, by Stephanie Blake From the author of the bestselling ‘Poo Bum’, this is the story of a day in the life of Super Rabbit. All is going well – until things unexpectedly get a bit scary ... Even a Super Rabbit needs his mum sometimes! The simple, bright graphics perfectly complement a story that every little adventurer will relate to.

3' s- 5' s A CHILD OF BOOKS, by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston [Walker Books, HB $29.99] From bestselling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and typographical artist Sam Winston comes an exceptional new picture book. "I am a Child of Books. I come from a world of stories, and upon my imagination, I float". In this inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories, a little girl sails her raft ‘across a sea of words’ to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him on an adventure. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination, and a lifetime of magic lies ahead.

WHEN WE GO CAMPING, by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Cat Chapman "When we go camping, we bang in the pegs, bang in the pegs, bang in the pegs. Guy ropes are tricky; they trip up our legs!" Written by the award-winning and best-selling Sally Sutton – author of Roadworks, Demolition and Construction – this wonderful new rhyming book captures the excitement of camping, from flies to long drops. The perfect summertime book for kids.

3' s- 5' s THE CUCKOO AND THE WARBLER, by Kennedy Warne and Heather Hunt [Potton and Burton, HB $29.99, PB $19.99] This beautifully illustrated book tells the true and remarkable story of the bond shared by the shining cuckoo and the grey warbler. The cuckoo lays her eggs in the warbler’s cone shaped nest, then migrates, and tricks the warbler into hatching and raising her chicks. A wonderful introduction to an intriguing natural history story. Bright start 5



s u o e g r o G GARDENERS Children have always been drawn to the outdoors, and parents and early childhood educators have long recognised the benefits of a child playing outside in stimulating, natural environments. There is strong recognition from an assortment of early childhood experts that play in the outdoors has a unique role in the development of children, quite different to indoor play. Children take naturally to playing in the dirt, they learn by doing, and are deeply curious about how things work – a perfect match for the garden. Growing your own food and flowers is not only magical, but the experience of working in a garden can help teach your child some very important life skills and values. Recently, the University of Colorado assessed a number of behavioural studies, and documented the ways that gardening contributes to a child’s learning and understanding. 6 Bright start

Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables that they have nurtured. Not only is this good for them, but they have the opportunity to learn about the nutrients provided by their crop’s bounty, enhancing their knowledge of healthy eating. Most importantly, these children develop a taste for fresh fruit and vegetables, which sets them up for healthier eating throughout their lives. Children who garden show a significant increase in the ability to work in groups. This is likely because gardening helps develop a sense of responsibility and feelings of connectedness and belonging. Even if your child is too young to recognise and identify these feelings, the calm and happiness they experience in the garden supports positive social interactions. Garden design is a fun way for younger children to meaningfully contribute. You may discuss the plant’s need for sun or shade, which plant grows taller or shorter, or how

much space each plant requires. You may find that you are not restrained by traditional rows of carrots when fresh young minds become engaged! In the University of Colorado study, students who participated in gardening projects scored significantly higher on science tests and expressed an increased responsibility to care for the environment – knowledge naturally learned in the garden is meaningful in the classroom and beyond. Studies aside, gardening teaches patience, the importance of nurture, how to manage competition, and so many experiences that develop skills that will help our children achieve in everyday life.

What to plant

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden? ROBERT BRAULT

Snow Peas: A quick growing crop, and so tasty - right off the vine. Be careful which bug spray you use to ensure they are safe for eating. Radishes: Another fast one. Radishes germinate in 3-10 days and are ready for eating in 20-30 days. Choose a mild species for little taste buds (some can be hot).

There are many crops suitable for the young gardener. The following suggestions have been chosen because they are relatively easy to grow, have short growing seasons and are fun to harvest: Sunflowers: The sheer size of a sunflower is a phenomenon and may be the best introduction to gardening for anyone. ‘Skyscraper’ (available from plant stores) reaches 2-3 metres tall! They sprout in about a week and will be 5cm tall in a month. In 8-12 weeks, you will be rewarded with a stunning bloom, so much taller than your child. If you plant one of the types grown for food you can harvest the seeds, which are rich in protein and iron and make tasty snacks when roasted. Slugs find sunflowers tasty too, so protect with slug bait. Keep a few seeds aside to sow again next year. Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes (amongst other species) can be grown in containers – great if you lack a garden. Watch the plants grow, the flowers bloom, and the tomatoes slowly turn from green, to orange to red. Yum. Lettuce/baby spinach/kale: To speed things up, small plants are available from garden shops, but seeds will germinate in 7-10 days. After a month or so you will have salad fresh from the garden.

return will reward you and your child with delightful bursts of colour and flavour. Child-sized tools are readily available from garden stores, and although certainly not a necessity, do help to make the experience special. Dress your child appropriately – rough clothes that can handle getting grubby, a hat and sunscreen. And remember, gardening happens slowly. It is unpredictable, weather dependent, and as old as time. And that is all part of its magic.

Nasturtiums: Easy to grow and pest resistant. Both the leaf and the flower are edible. Fun for dressing up a summer salad. Pumpkins: Great growers if you have the room. Seeds sprout in about a week, and the leafy vines begin to creep across the ground in a few days. Limit the number of flowers (by pinching them out) to three or four for a good-sized pumpkin. Plant in summer for autumn harvest. Potatoes: So resilient they rarely fail! And they come in so many colours – red, white and even blue! So much fun to dig them out when ready for harvest.

Dig In

Children will discover which insects want to eat their precious plants (before the children themselves get to them!) and the ladybirds that help keep the ‘bad guys’ at bay. They will see worms, which are an important component of healthy soil, and learn the need to protect certain crops from hungry birds - especially strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Plants must watered, fed and nurtured, and in

What do children learn from garden activities? Here are just a few of the wonderful gifts of the garden. 1 Patience: Gardening is a slow process with daily, monthly and seasonal rhythms 2 Hand-eye coordination: Digging, planting, watering and picking improve fine-motor skills 3 Sorting, counting: Compare

the height or spread of different plants, leaves by shape, or count the number of courgettes… 4 Observation: Gardens change (often overnight). Fruit ripens and changes colour, or bugs take a bite of your best strawberry! 5 Nurture: What happens if we forget to water? 6 Curiosity: Why do plants need roots? How do ladybirds help the plants? 7 Creativity: Garden design

may not always be traditional with imaginative little ones.

Bright start 7

Waitangi Day February 6th marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, an important day in New Zealand history.

In 1840, over 40 Māori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown gathered in the small settlement of Waitangi, and signed what is considered to be New Zealand’s founding document. Over the following seven months, copies of the Treaty were taken around the country to give other chiefs the opportunity to sign. The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, and determined Māori land and citizenship rights. However, not all chiefs signed the document, and translation differences between the English version and the Māori version gave rise to strong controversy, primarily from a Māori perspective. To this day there is debate over exactly what the signatories on each side agreed to. For the following century, discontent with the Treaty’s implementation incited great unrest in the Māori

Chinese New Year 2017

8 Bright start

population. In a move unique in the world, The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 and charged with investigating and making recommendations on Treaty claims and grievances brought by Māori. Although not legally binding, the Tribunal has since made dozens of recommendations, many of which have been implemented by government. Waitangi Day is an important recognition of the Treaty, a time to reflect on its progress, and a celebration of the unity of all peoples of Aotearoa, both Māori and non-Māori.

Welcome to the Year of the Rooster Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar. It follows centuries of tradition, and celebrates good luck, fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. Traditional celebrations start the evening preceding the turn of the traditional Chinese Lunisolar (Sun and Moon) calendar, and end with the glorious Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first Chinese month. This year the festival started on January 28th. Fireworks, family gatherings, special foods, spectacularly costumed Lion and Dragon dances, the decorating of temples, windows and doors, and giving money in red envelopes are all common ways of celebrating. It is also traditional for each family to cleanse their home, so as to sweep away any past ills and make way for incoming good luck. Those born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented. They are active, self-confident and honest.


The Teachers of Your Under-Twos AN OPEN LETTER FROM GRACE WINTER, B.ED. CENTRE MANAGER OF BESTSTART’S FIRST STEPS VARDON the centre into the weekend and beyond. Your chosen early for care Taking your precious baby or toddler into day centre may childhood moment, the first time is a big step – and a nerve-racking your little one’s first real experience of the as function careor not just for your little one, but for you as a parent where ideally they will learn to appreciate world, outside like feel giver too. Even walking through the door might other different points of view. Commany enjoy and child your a challenge: how will you be greeted? How will on should be on the menu: accommodati and promise the respond to this new environment? And – possibly do here, but perhaps we we what typically not is ‘That expected most heartbreaking question of all – will you be ’ ... by compromise could will to say goodbye and leave immediately? If so, how How we think about early childhood, and how chilyour baby or toddler react to that? Worrying about Day under two should be cared for in an early learning dren if One is absolutely normal! In fact, it would be surprising has greatly changed and developed over enviroment, you did not experience some or all of these misgivings. years. Early childhood centres are not twenty last the As a qualified teacher, with a passion for working – the expectations and goals pre-schools watered-down with infants and toddlers, and as someone absolutely a child differ greatly through for committed to my work, I’d like crucial developmental each to give you a sense of what In early childhood, our stage. you have every right to look for ones are already very young you centre learning early The in your new centre. ‘little scientists’, effective Firstly, I encourage you to have a warm, performing should choose their own, serious, ‘shop around’: this is the beinvestigative important very and climate l emotiona positive ginning of your child’s learning for preparation in experiments journey, and will lay deep and . learning further sound foundations for the I encourage you, as the parents and whānau of each of rest of your child’s education. Both the child and her or precious children, to consider your early childhood these are they his family need to know from the outset that as a seamless extension of the education of your centre welcome, and their values, choices and individuality that you are already performing, every day. You, children are honoured. teaching these young citizens consciously are we, and greeted Your first expectation should be that you are of resilence, persistence and rouimportance the about you you, and welcomed warmly. If this is the space for and teaching respectful and effecmodeling are We tine. feel you will have entered a place of community where how to build strong and warm and n, communicatio tive to at ease. You and your little one should be introduced most significant indicator of single the – relationships also teachers, parents and other children; and should in life. success future person’s a two the feel there is the sensitivity and respect to give up: sum To of you space to settle in. The early learning centre you choose should have a These qualities – respect, sensitivity, and passion for positive emotional climate – something I believe warm, early an in the work – are the ones I consider most vital sense almost as soon as you enter. The centre can you most is learning centre. For me, this holistic concept you feel part of the family. The children make should or vitally expressed in the principle ‘whānau tauranga’, and the teachers excited about children’s happy, be will prinand respect within partnership. It is this expression about your child being there. excited and learning childhood ciple that should inform every aspect of early in the joys, development and disshare to able Being with education and our engagement and involvement toddlerhood hold with children and infancy that covery our babies and children and their whānau. makes teaching so meaningwhat is whanau their and centre’s You will want to feel comfortable that the for you and your child. Enjoy! time magical a is This ful. own. your values, morals and aspirations are in line with will The family’s beliefs, cultural heritage, and activities Arohanui, be known, understood and appreciated by your child’s your in teacher. Care and knowledge of what happens child’s day extends beyond the time actually spent at

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Whānau,


Bright start 9



the anxious CHILD

Just like adults, children feel worry and stress from time to time. Such anxiety is a normal emotional state. There are many words used to describe anxious feelings - concerned, nervous, edgy, worried, tense, shy or agitated are just some. Although closely related to fear, anxiety differs in that it is usually associated with an anticipated fear of something that might happen in the future, rather than a real and immediate response to danger. Anxiety is normal, and is often beneficial when we are faced with a challenging situation. It is usual to feel anxious before a test or speaking in front of a group of people, and a reasonable degree of stress actually helps us to prepare for these difficult tasks. Many fears and worries are a normal part of childhood development. Most young children experience fears - of the dark, of monsters, of separation from parents, and so on. As children mature, these fears gradually change shape, from imagined monsters in the dark to real issues such as social acceptance or academic and sporting achievements. Normal life events can trigger anxiety in children too – the birth of a sibling, starting school or moving home can all be stressful and anxiety-provoking. Traumatic events such as family 10 Bright start

violence, parental separation, illness or injury will likely increase the levels of anxiety felt by a child, particularly if that child is one of those born with a more anxious temperament. In these situations, anxiety can reach a point where it is no longer beneficial. And this can be challenging to identify – especially in younger children, as they struggle to express what they are feeling.

Children look to others for guidance on how to respond in unfamiliar situations. If a parent’s response is fearful or anxious, it is likely the child’s will be too.

How to Identify an Anxious Child

Children struggling with excessive anxiety usually show some of the following symptoms: • Constant worry about things that might happen, or have happened • Crying • Physical complaints such as stomach aches, headaches, fatigue • Avoidance behaviours, such as refusing to do things or go places

• Pessimism and negative thinking

patterns - imagining the worst, overexaggerating the negatives, rigidity and inflexibility, self-criticism, guilty thoughts, etc. • Anger, aggression, restlessness, irritability, tantrums, opposition and defiance • Sleeping difficulties, trouble falling or staying asleep, nightmares or night terror • Perfectionism • Excessive clinginess and separation anxiety • Procrastination • Poor memory and concentration • Withdrawal from activities and family interactions • Eating disturbances

When does it become a problem?

Normal fears should be accepted in a very young child. However as a child grows, these fears and anxieties may become less age-appropriate. Excessive anxiety is a fear that is out of proportion to the actual threat or anticipated future event. Highly anxious children can be very demanding, and may become emotional if things don’t go the way they want. A child suffering from anxiety will often have difficulty settling back to a balanced state. When this happens, it can be very difficult for a parent to judge how firm they need to be, or if they should give in to the child to avoid emotional outbursts. Out of proportion anxiety becomes a problem when it prevents children from enjoying normal life experiences. If the anxiety starts to impact schooling, friendships or family,

then parents or other adults may need to step in and help the child manage such big feelings.

How to help

Establish consistent daily routines and structure. A regular routine gives a sense of control to both parent and child. Anxious children do not cope well with a disorganised, spontaneous lifestyle. Regular mealtimes, times for play and exercise, and a set bedtime routine (e.g. bath, story time, quiet talk) are predictable and have a calming influence. Set limits, and impose consequences for breaking those limits. Children feel secure when there are restrictions on inappropriate behaviours. Help your child identify different feelings by naming those s/he (or others) may experience. Explain how people show their feelings (through faces, bodies, words), and that showing your feelings is an important way for others to understand how you are feeling. Help your child notice how different feelings ‘feel’ – tight hands, butterflies in stomach, etc. It is helpful for children to talk about their feelings, but it is not always easy! Rather than asking directly, watch and listen for when a child does express feelings, either directly through words or indirectly through behaviour. Help your child recognise, name and accept these feelings.

Model appropriate behaviour. Children look to others for guidance on how to respond in unfamiliar situations. If a parent’s response is fearful or anxious, it is likely the child’s will be too. It is important to model caution when safety is threatened (such as when crossing a busy road); however, it is equally as important to model confidence and bravery. When appropriate, parents need to contain their own anxiety to prevent communicating that the world is too dangerous. Gently encourage children to face their fears. Have them take small steps at first and acknowledge their attempts to approach a situation that frightens them. The fear will get smaller over time.

Teach relaxation skills. Encourage slow, deep breathing (tummy rising) when your child is worried or scared, or have them tense and then relax groups of muscles. Help your child use their own imagination to relax – imagine a big box to put all his worries in, or a safe, beautiful and relaxing place to go in her mind. We hope this article may help parents recognise and support any anxiety issues that may have arisen in their children due to the recent earthquakes. For further guidance see www. or make a free call to Healthline 0800 933 922. Our thoughts are with you –Ed

Provide soothing and comforting strategies. Rocking, cuddling, holding, massaging, singing and telling stories are just some of the strategies a parent can use to communicate to a child that s/he is safe and cared for. Sometimes the comfort required may seem too ‘babyish’ for the child’s age, but anxious children need extra soothing to relieve the tension in their bodies.

Bright start 11


Making screen time work for

childr en

It can be challenging to ‘do the right thing’ when dealing with children and the many forms of media that are designed to capture their attention. Free play is a far better option, yet not always possible. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of the inevitable exposure to media.

Media use in pre-schoolers and school-aged children has been linked to mental health problems, language delays, difficulties with attention span, aggressive behaviour and sleep issues. There are fewer studies in children under the age of two, but concerns exist about the potential for negative effects. Given that there are no known benefits of media viewing in this younger age group, paediatricians recommend strictly limiting media exposure (including exposure to background TV) in infants and very young children. When we do allow children to watch TV or to use our hand-held devices, there are things we can do to limit the potential for negative effects:

Make it interactive.

Stay with your children so that you can talk about the content together and help them make sense of what they are exposed to.

Extend their learning.

Help your children make connections about what they are seeing onscreen and what they can find or do in the real world. If they are watching a show about animals, look for those animals in

12 Bright start

books afterwards, or pretend to be those animals in your play together.

Be careful with content.

Young children are unable to distinguish between on-screen fantasy and reality, so they can easily become frightened by TV content. Turn off the TV if no one is watching, and save your adult viewing until your children are in bed. While it’s helpful to know how to limit the potential for negative effects, it’s also useful to know of a healthier alternative to screen time – play. Unstructured playtime is much more valuable for a young child’s developing brain than any electronic media exposure, including exposure to those programs or touchscreen games which are described as educational. It is important that we set limits on how much and how often our children are allowed screen time, because play is simply better for them.

HELP PLUNKET RAISE A BUNDLE Being a parent is hard work. Rewarding? Absolutely. But not always easy. Thankfully, Plunket exists. Plunket gives a huge range of support to Kiwi kids and parents. It’s the PlunketLine Nurse offering support at two in the morning when your baby won’t stop crying, and the playgroup that gives you a sanity break and a chance to connect with other parents. It’s Well Child checks, and post-natal depression support, parenting education and toy libraries. As a charity, Plunket relies on the generosity of New Zealanders, sponsorship and grants to continue to offer these sometimes life-changing services. Because services are dependent on fundraising, not all centres across the country are resourced to make available the full range of Plunket services. Plunket’s new 1000-day fundraising campaign and approach is here to change that. Plunket’s aim is that all areas are able to access these services – regardless of postcode.

The Raise a Bundle babies

Best Start’s Marketing Manager Rachel Botha is taking part in ‘Raise a Bundle’ in a slightly different way. Her gorgeous baby girl, Amelia, is one of Plunket’s ‘Raise a Bundle Babies’. The first 1000 days of a child’s life can make the difference of a lifetime, and Plunket is perfectly placed to help parents give their child the best start in life. To show the difference Plunket makes, it’s following a number of babies and their families over the length of the 1000-day campaign.

Rachel & Ameilia

Their stories are being shared on Plunket’s Facebook page. Rachel is amazed by how important her antenatal group has become: ‘I meet up with at least of few of them almost every day. We go to a Box Fit class at a local gym once a week, where the babies are looked after while we work out. We also have coffee mornings and playgroups. I’ve been really surprised by how different our experiences have been. We are all doing it differently - not even our birth experiences were the same.’

Plunket Needs Your Help

Join Plunket’s fundraising team. You could host an event, set yourself a personal challenge, or involve your workplace or community group. For example – you could sell clippings or seedlings from your garden, ask your tennis club to add an optional $5 donation to membership fees, or hold a book sale at your church or marae for Plunket. You’re only limited by your imagination! Head to for more information.

Become a Plunket fundraiser and help make the difference of a lifetime. Bright start 13



1. First Steps Palmerston North – we are in our second generation! Laura Ryan and her mum recently visited First Steps Palmerston North – but this wasn’t their first time at the centre. The minute Laura walked in the door of the Infants Room, our longeststanding staff members Janice and Caroline were delighted to see her, as they remembered her from when she was in their care! Laura and Pania had brought along Laura’s gorgeous son Lukas, and he is now enrolled in the Infants Room and is being cared for by the teachers that cared for his mum. It’s so lovely to have such strong family bonds within our centre. 2. In the Summer Swim at ABC Hillcrest We have begun swimming lessons with both the toddlers and the fouryear-olds. These are held in a lovely outdoor heated pool not far from the centre. There are four children taken each time, and the children are learning so much about water safety and how to swim. With all our beautiful lakes and beaches around us, we truly value the importance of keeping our tamariki safe in the water here at ABC Hillcrest. 3. Donald Duck Nursery and Preschool, Addington, Joins the Army for a day … Recently, Donald Duck Nursery and Preschool had a visit from the Dad of one of our tamariki, who works for the New Zealand Army. He arrived with a couple of workmates, an army truck, and some gear. The children had their faces painted with camouflage colours. They tried on some interesting helmets, vests with lots of pockets full of different objects, and a jacket from a pack. In the playground there were camouflage nets draped over the jungle gym, on the big blue mat and fort, which the children had great fun climbing under and through. Lastly, we went and inspected the army truck, 14 Bright start






6 which the children clambered all over and through with great fascination! 4. First Steps Ascot are more than Loud Shirts for our friends from the Hearing House! Six children from First Steps Ascot visited the Hearing House to present the funds they raised at ‘Support Office for Loud Shirt Day’ in October. It was a lovely opportunity for the children to play together. We are looking forward to hosting the Hearing House preschool children in our newly renovated centre early next year. The Hearing House is currently undergoing a massive build in order to support a range of clinical services, and the funds were greatly appreciated. 5. ABC Belfast – scarecrows, pirates and performers! The teachers and tamariki from ABC Belfast were invited to perform at the Belfast School fair. After lots of discussion and rehearsal, we stood proud together on the stage to sing ‘Dingle Dangle Scarecrow’ and ‘The Pirate Song’. Tamariki and their whānau dressed up for the occasion and gave the crowd a wonderful performance. 6. Edukids Manukau become fashionistas, designers, craftspeople, and models EduKids Manukau hosted an exceptional fashion show, with the children rocking the runway.  NZ designer and fashion icon Karen Walker kindly donated beautiful fabrics and materials to the centre. NZ Fashion Tech students worked together with the children and teachers to design outfits that reflect the children and their cultures.  EduKids Manukau’s teachers sketched the designs with the children’s input and ideas. The parents



contributed with cultural items and accessories which perfected the overall look. And then the children strode the runway with confidence and pride, showcasing their very own creations. Many thanks to Karen Walker and our families for your support to make this extraordinary event so successful. 7. ABC Stokes Valley: From Sausage Sizzle to Gifts of Guitars ABC Stokes Valley believes strongly in encouraging tamariki to be involved in the community and to help others. In the last school holidays we held a free sausage sizzle complete with a facepainting station at the local community shopping centre. The children took along a donation bucket for anyone who wanted to help raise funds for the local community house. With the $200 we raised, we made a visit to the music shop and purchased two guitars. The children gift-wrapped the guitars before taking them over to Wendy at the Stokes Valley Community House. She was so pleased to receive them, and the tamariki were so proud to be able to help. 8. Competent, Capable, and Building a Garden: Community Kindy Bluegum Ricky and Chelsea are the two teachers working with the tamariki


recycling used palette boxes into garden planters. The tamariki have worked daily on this extended project, painting and rebuilding the boxes into planters. We have worked as a team, sharing ideas and problem solving. We have been learning about construction, working with tools and celebrating our achievements. This project directly links to our centre philosophy – children are recognised as capable and competent. 9. Community Kindy Waihi – Young at Heart It was our turn to host our friends from Hetherington House! We have a reciprocal program with our local aged care home which has been going for 18 months now, and the children and elderly are really comfortable with each other. Jane set up a sensory activity, where a ‘smelling parcel’ was passed around a circle, and at the end everyone called out what they thought the parcel might contain. The next activity was a pairs game. Our children threw a balloon to a resident, who then tried to hit it back with a fly swat! It was so much fun and caused gales of laughter. This is a really special relationship that has developed over time, and both sides always look forward to seeing each other again. Bright start 15

Baby care you can trust

We understand that as a parent you want the best care possible for your baby. Here at BestStart we have been providing this for almost 20 years. ●

Our nurseries are designed for babies and their needs, and our specialised teachers are trained to care for and nurture them. We work in partnership with you so that together we can best support you and your child.

We focus on your child. An individual approach will be developed once we know your baby. We’ll plan to extend and encourage your child to reach their full potential. Learning is stimulated through music, movement, physical play, art, language, and much more. Special attention is given to developing your baby’s brain through their strong relationship with their caregiver.

BestStart offers a range of centres backed by leading ECE experts that will suit your family’s needs.


BrightStart February March 2017  
BrightStart February March 2017