What happens every day?

When you drop your child off at her early childhood centre and watch her dash off to the sand pit or the dough table, do you wonder if she learns anything all day, and will the sand pit and the dough table prepare her for starting school?

The answer is absolutely yes! What looks like child’s play is actually the basis for a life-time’s learning. If they don’t learn these things as pre-schoolers, they are actually already behind their age-group when they start school. The different learnings that the core curricula below encourages are part of building the base of understanding maths, language, writing, exploration, social skills and much more.

We want children to love learning so we create an environment where they can be immersed in learning and absorb literacy and numeracy as part of what looks like play.

Children play

Sand and water play

Starting with sand and water play – this is where the development of maths and science concepts start. Children weigh and measure and begin to understand volume. As children play alongside their peers they develop relationship skills, taking turns problem solving and sharing, as they see something that looks like fun, and want to play with it themselves.

Block building and Puzzles

Block building and puzzles are an important step in cognitive development, meaning that as children experience the world around them, they form pictures in their minds of what they see. Playing with blocks gives them the opportunity to re-create these pictures in concrete form. To be able to do this is an important step towards abstract thinking. Blocks also teach co-ordination, children have to manipulate, stack, balance, lift and arrange them. It is great for hand and arm muscles and hand and eye co-ordination.


Children are immersed in language and words at centres through displays and labelling of everyday objects and equipment. Centres offers a print rich environment that helps expose children to all forms of literacy. Story telling and books from an early age encourage children to explore a world of make believe, fantasy as well as facts. Reading books and looking at pictures also helps foster a love of books, and develop the understanding that the words tell a story. All this develops the necessary early literacy skills needed to support children’s reading development at school.

Dramatic Play

Children have an innate sense of make believe so they love our dramatic playtime. It’s an opportunity for them to express themselves, share experiences and learn to socially interact with others, making sense of the world they live in. This is a great time for children to explore, express and role model emotions and feelings.

Science & Nature

Children’s natural curiosity to investigate new and unusual things draws them into the natural environment. Here they discover bugs and plants, find out what is hiding under a rock, plant things and watch them grow. We offer experiences with activities like baking, worm farms, floating and sinking experiments in water to encourage children to ask why and how?

Outdoor Play

Climbing, running and jumping, throwing balls help children develop gross motor skills and build muscles in their arms and legs. Other activities like catching and throwing, kicking or batting balls develop hand eye co-ordination and develop the left/right brain connections that will support future brain development and learning.

Group time

Group time is organised so children learn how to respond to the needs of others while in a group. This can involve the whole group, smaller groups for story and language development, music and movement, literacy, sharing, turn taking and much more.

“I have peace of mind when I drop my child off; I know my child is safe, having fun and learning lots.”
Johanna, mum of Sam

At BestStart we believe working with children in age groupings is the most conducive to learning. Our centres have been teaching the highly researched early childhood curricula, ‘Te Whāriki’ for many years. It guides best practice for teachers providing early childhood programmes. All teachers regularly revise their professional development to ensure we offer stimulating programmes for children.

Te Whāriki provides a foundation for children to become confident and competent lifelong learners. At BestStart we work alongside your child to develop their learning competencies as advocated by Te Whāriki.

We encourage children to:
Take an interest (Exploration)
Communicate with others (Communication)
Persist with difficulty (Well-being)
Be involved (Contribution/Belonging)
Take responsibility (Belonging)

These early childhood curriculum competencies flow onto the New Zealand School Curriculum competencies, as illustrated below by the Ministry of Education.
Each one of our centres has a clear set of goals for each group so that appropriate programmes are planned based on early childhood theories and practices. Each child has a portfolio.
We encourage parents to celebrate their child’s achievements and progress by taking an interest in and writing comments in these books. They become a wonderful treasure of your child’s life before school.