BestStart Blog

TopKids Porchester Road’s trip to Auckland Museum

TopKids Porchester Road went to Auckland Museum to enlighten our tamariki around the facts about Matariki. It was an amazing learning experience not only for our children but also for our teachers and parents. At the end of the trip I am sure that we all had a sound knowledge about Matariki. No wonder our children cannot stop talking about it all the time!!


Celebrating Matariki through PLAY at TopKids Porchester Road

At TopKids Porchester Road, we celebrated Matariki a bit differently this year. Our theme was New Year, New Beginnings and a new approach to learning through play.

We had set up different rooms, one for philosophy – to discuss and unpack our new philosophy with strong connections to PLAY.

Creativity – making mandalas with our parents implying what children learn through PLAY.

Fond memories of our childhood PLAY- discussing with our parents about their favourite play time!!


Thank you to all the parents and teachers for coming along and being a part of our celebration.


TopKids Porchester walk around their centre and community

Recently our toddlers room at TopKids Porchester Road went for a walk around the centre and into our community. We talked about the falling leaves and noticed different letter boxes and collected some resources to explore later in the centre. It was a very satisfying walk and we planning to do more often with our infants and young children soon.

Celebrating Matariki at First Steps Tironui

Over the past few weeks at First Steps Tironui our tamariki have been engaging and participating in various activities and learning experiences to celebrate Matariki (Maori New Year!). Matariki is a time for sharing, caring and giving thanks. It is also a time for planting new crops for the season. We decided to use our garden out the back to create a community garden to give back to our whanau and community as well as giving back to Papatuanuku.
Here are some of the learning experiences we have shared from dancing, making matariki stars, creating a starry corner, music, dancing with pois, weaving etc.
We also had our families and whanau come out and help up with our working bee to clear out our garden , so we are able to plant some veges and herbs for our community to share and enjoy. Some of our families also stayed back and enjoyed a delicious boil up lunch. Ka mou te wehi!

ABC Kelvin Road’s visit to Meadowbank Primary

As part of our Be School Ready initiative at ABC Kelvin Road, we regularly take our three and four year olds to Meadowbank Primary School’s new entrance class. Today’s visit allowed our tamariki to rekindle with their old friends with a join mat-time, followed by exploration at the big playground with more challenging equipment. Everyone had a great time with and fully enjoyed it!

ABC Gillies Ave’s Toy Drive for Auckland Women’s Refuge

Earlier this year ABC Gillies Ave’s infants and toddlers room began the task of removing some of our old, plastic resources in place of new wooden ones to inspire our children. Rather than throw them away, we decided to reach out to the Auckland Women’s Refuge to donate them instead. We were inspired, why stop there? We encouraged our whānau throughout the centre to join us, and with their help we managed to gather many lovely wooden and plastic toys to donate. The winter months are hard for many whānau in Aotearoa, especially for those in vulnerable positions. We hope that through giving these toys to wāhine and their tamariki we can be part of the many wonderful people who donate to help them get through the difficult cooler weather.

Self Regulation

Self-regulation is a hot topic because it’s closely linked to a child’s life outcomes. Research shows that children who display good self-regulation skills are more likely to do well at school and build positive relationships. Building these skills early is critical. If children struggle to manage their emotional responses, it can interfere with their abilities to learn and adapt to life’s changes.

Experiences in the early years help build children’s brain architecture. The most significant impact is the attachments formed with our closest relationship – mainly Mum, Dad, whãnau, and/or caregiver. Responsive relationships and positive experiences with these relationships build strong brain architecture and influence children’s confidence, mental health, motivation, and ability to control their impulses.

We know that one part of the brain that is forming in the early years is the pre-frontal cortex. “Executive functioning” is an aspect of this development and goes hand-in-hand with self-regulation.


What is executive functioning?

Executive functioning refers to three areas:

» Working memory: The ability to keep information in mind long enough to follow through with instructions.

» Cognitive flexibility: The ability to pay attention to instructions, ignore distractions, focus on what’s important.

» Inhibitory control: The ability to stop a dominant behaviour or impulse (e.g., not pushing another child if pushed – but telling an adult or using words).

As caregivers, we can support children to develop their emotional self-regulation and their executive functioning, growing their cognitive skills and functioning.


How do we support children to grow their self-regulation?

We’ve all experienced it – our child is upset and crying. We can help their journey through this overwhelming emotion to create a positive outcome that will grow their self-confidence.



We need to name the emotion with your child, so they can learn to recognise it themselves: “I can see that you’re really upset.” Children feel a tremendous sense of relief because they hear they’ve been heard and understood by you. When we help name an emotion, children start to recognise what the emotions they are experiencing are called. “I can tell that you’re really unhappy” or “I can see that you’re feeling angry.”



It’s important to communicate to your child that you are there for them to hear what happened, and then listen. The act of listening tells a child that what they’re feeling is important and, in turn, their sense of trust and confidence in the relationship is strengthened. Because of this, a child’s overwhelming feeling starts to reduce. Summarise the issue and empathise with their feelings: “So you’re really upset because Sally won’t share the spade with you. I can see that’s really upsetting for you.”



This step focusses on the solution, encouraging the child to move into problem-solving.

Teaching resilience is always about realising “I’m not stuck in this situation.” It’s about children learning to problem-solve through their bigger emotions. Once children learn this skill, they can begin to resolve issues for themselves because they learn that they have choices. So, Sally doesn’t want to share the spade– what are the options? Go through them together and ask for your child’s input:

» Ask Sally for a turn later.

» Build the sandcastle with our hands.

» Find another spade.

» Or something else: What else could we use for digging? A spoon?



Lastly, recognise and reinforce positive outcomes of self-regulation by using descriptive praise. “You made a choice and now you and Sally can play alongside each other!” This helps children recognise there are positive solutions to the challenges they might face.

Teaching self-regulation enables children to acknowledge, name, and share emotions, and lets the thinking part of the brain rationalise choices and think through a solution to create positive solutions and grow their self-confidence.


We’re Open At BestStart Borman Road!!

At BestStart Borman Road, our day began early this morning with our local kaumatua blessing our centre environment followed by a shared kai with family and friends.

It was fantastic to see our first few children and their families through the door, they were just just as excited as we were for our first day!!

As you can see from the photos the children (and teachers!) had an amazing day discovering our centre environment, exploring the awesome resources and developing some special friendships.

A special thank you to everyone who have supported us through this journey and we look forward to creating many happy memories with you. We would like to invite you to visit BestStart Borman Road, to meet our wonderful team, see our beautiful new centre and discover how we can be a part of your child’s learning journey.


EduKids Manukau Celebrate Matariki

Over the past month at EduKids Manukau, our learning journey has been in full swing as we celebrated Matariki (Maori New Year). During our annual celebration, we were joined by our friends from First Steps Papatoetoe who were welcomed to our centre with a traditional powhiri led by kaiako Tania. Once our manuhiri (visitors) and whanau were seated we all stood to perform New Zealand National Anthem, before performing poi dance, waiata and Haka. We then enjoyed the performances from our First Steps friends. This celebration was followed by a delicious meal of roast chicken with roast vegetables that our tamariki contributed from home. We engaged in matariki activities using harakeke (flax) as we weaved putiputi (flowers) and ika (fish), read a collection of Matariki stories, iced star cookies to represent the Matariki constellation and planted seeds in hopes of a fruitful future harvest and to show respect for the land by giving back.

Celebrating Matariki at TopKids Karaka

Throughout the month of June, TopKids Karaka have been participating in a variety of Matariki inspired learning experiences.

The infants and toddlers planted seeds and are eagerly waiting for them to grow. The infant room also created a night sky and added stars that were painted by the children. We have had lots of positive comments from whānau complementing our beautiful night sky. Additionally, the toddler room was engaged in talking about the stars that we can see in the night sky and the children had the opportunity to paint and decorate their own stars.

In the preschool, our tamariki started the Matariki celebrations by planting lettuce in some little pots. A variety of artwork was offered to the tamariki, such as making stars through painting, cutting and collage. Children also made kites, fish art work and painted koru patterns. We introduced a weaving experience where the tamariki practised making their own woven mats. Matariki songs and Māori legend books were read during mat times with the tamariki, who really enjoyed learning about the stars and the meaning of Matariki. Matariki is the perfect time to come together and talk about the new beginnings and what Matariki means to our tangata o te whenua (people of the land).

To close off our Matariki celebrations we asked our parents to bring in vegetables and the preschool children made a yummy soup to share with the whole centre. Everyone enjoyed eating their Matariki soup and Māori bread.