Our vision and philosophy


Read what we hope for (our Vision) and what we believe (our Philosophy) in our teaching and care of your children.

Our vision

Staff models the love of Christ to the children, each other, and the families/whanau of St Mary’s and the wider Karori Community.

The children learn in a stimulating, structured environment, that supports a healthy and safe, socio-cultural approach to learning and assessment.  Staff offers quality education and care that recognises the levels of development of each individual child, and the importance of children having the freedom of choice.  We believe that each child is unique and has the right to develop a sense of wellbeing and confidence through respectful, reciprocal, and responsive relationships with adults. Adults who share the magic of a child’s and God’s world.

Our philosophy — what we believe…

We believe that:

New Zealand’s culture is made up of many world cultures. For us here at St Mary’s, Christian culture is the foundation of them all. The bi-culture heritage of Aotearoa/New Zealand is cemented in the Treaty of Waitangi and that acknowledgement and celebration of both Maori and English is important.

We consider that as the founding document of Aotearoa/New Zealand, all people who live here are subject to the Articles of the Treaty of Waitangi. St Mary’s early childhood education centre, endorses the Treaty of Waitangi and use it in all areas of the curriculum. In particular, we support Article Two; which recognises that as Tangata Whenua, the Maori culture (te reo me tikanga Maori) is recognised and celebrated along with the English culture by all, through the use of language, resources, traditions and practices. From the bi-cultural platform, a multi-cultural environment is created and children of all cultures are included and celebrated.

Children need an Early Childhood Education environment that supports a socio-cultural approach to learning and assessment.

The teachers at St Mary’s understand that a ‘socio-cultural’ perspective of learning and assessment is defined an emerging theory in psychology that looks at the important contributions that society makes to individual development. This theory stresses the interaction between developing people and cultures, and how cultural beliefs and attitudes impact how teaching and learning takes place.  St Mary’s environment also has a culture and therefore its kaupapa (way of doing things) is included in the socio-cultural approach. Teachers will ensure that the voices of all teachers, the children (both individually and collectively), the parent’s, and family/whanau are included in the assessment of a child’s learning, and will take into account the ecology of human development (the impact that different levels communities have on the child) as outlined in Te Whaariki (the early childhood education curriculum) along with current theory and research. Reflection on the teachings of Christ is also important as the Christian Culture of St Mary’s is the basis for the work we do here. Parents, whanau/families and members of God’s community are welcome and celebrated as being able to contribute to the richness of our early childhood education centre.

Children are the culture of the future and as such need to be respected as today’s citizens with the knowledge that they are Gods children, unique, deeply loved, and valued by him.

The rights of each child as a citizen of Aotearoa/New Zealand is respected as per the children’s rights outlined in the UNCROC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child). As a Christian early childhood education centre the values and principles that God lays as the foundation of our walk with him are imparted through role modelling from adults, and experiences, the children have. The Christian program will sit alongside and be woven into the rest of the curriculum presented at St Mary’s.

Quality is about what we can offer that may influence our intelligence, ‘time, silence and listening!’

Our environment needs to be one that stimulates and challenges children’s and adults thinking, and extends current knowledge and builds on inner resources (Scaffolding). It is important therefore that teachers don’t give the answers, but encourage children to find out answers and give them the tools to research their own answers, and make up their own theory.   

You don’t have to teach children to learn, they are already the best learners. (An infant asks what? why and when? as they point to something). The role of the teachers therefore is to facilitate learning opportunities for them.

Children learn from interaction, but also by asking why and we as teachers need to learn to listen to children’s verbal and non-verbal communication, and know that all children are intelligent from birth. Teachers need to support children’s learning through teaching them skills to learn, independently and collectively in acknowledgment that they learn best through interaction with people places and things. (Ministry of Education, 1996, p. 11). Teachers need to take the time to listen to what the children are saying either verbally or non-verbally and give them resources and ideas to further their knowledge.

Children are the best researchers.

It is important that teachers understand the child’s learning style, multiple intelligences and dispositions of learning that will develop learning strategies and skills that encourages life-long learning. Teachers understand that children come from a variety of contextual cultures and that in in order to provide authentic environments the teacher must have knowledge and understanding of those influences. All learning has a starting point that is extended by interaction with people and artefacts.

The children and adults will respect their work environment the resources within it and, each other as they share the wonder of nature, and the joy of discovery.

St Marys is enriched with a wonderful environment that God created and shared with us, this enables us to encourage the children’s exploration and learning. It is important that the environment is protected so that all children and their families may use it for generations to come. Children and adults are therefore encouraged to help respect, care for and maintain both the natural and working environments, giving them respect for the place they learn and work in. Respect for each themselves and each other’s spiritual, and emotional well-being is an important aspect of respecting Gods creations.

The teachers and staff of St Mary’s early childhood education centre are valued for their individual gifts, knowledge and skills along with the experiences and cultural influences that they come with. There is mutual respect between staff and management based on professionalism.

The centre management strives to exceed the minimum standards as outlined in employment and early childhood education regulatory framework. Our employment policies and practices are such that teachers and staff know they are supported in their work and entrusted with the lives of God’s children.

In order for teachers to provide stimulating environments for children and their families, they need to ensure they are up to date with current issues and trends.

Ideologies often change in early childhood education, ways of working with and providing for children change and we need to keep current with knowledge.  We need to share information with parents, as we see children as part of ecological framework where we are all learners and teachers (how we relate to each other and the physical environment, we learn from children and they learn from us, we all share knowledge).

We as teachers need to be reflective practitioners, able to reflect on different pedagogy and ideologies.

Being able to reflect on our own practices and using our critique of current research to decide if those practices are appropriate, or need modifying. This is a skill we need to work on constantly, until it becomes second nature to us. We agree that a point of view is not truth; it is but a point of view, however changes to our own pedagogy begin with the experience and expertise of researchers.

That the community provided for, and created by, the Karori Anglican Churches ensures there is seamless care and education opportunities for everyone connected to St Marys early childhood education centre.

The leadership of the church make available spiritual and professional guidance and support to the whanau/family of St Mary’s early childhood education centre. This gives a sense of belonging and well-being knowing we are care for and supported under the umbrella of God.

Ministry of Education. (2017). Te Whāriki – He Whāriki Mātauranga mo nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early Childhood Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media Limited.