Our curriculum aims to provide a stimulating education programme
in a safe and loving environment

Our approach to learning

We base our centre’s learning programme on the principles and strands of Te Whāriki (the New Zealand early childhood curriculum), along with up to date research and trends in early childhood education.

Our Christian approach is interwoven with our teaching. Teachers encourage children to care for themselves, care for others and for God’s world. We recognise that we are all unique individuals. We respect our contextual cultres, abilities, and genders.

We encourage children to learn and develop according to their individual needs

Our programme is supported by individual and group observations of all children to find out what these needs are. We discuss children’s learning and development at staff and programme planning meetings.

We aim to help our children: 

“to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society (Ministry of Education (1996, pp.9).

Mana atua



Mana tangata



Mana whenua



Mana reo



Mana aotūroa


We plan our programmes based on children’s Learning Outcomes, and needsour Local Curriculum priorities and focus on children’s individual interests, need and learning styles

Children have opportunities to discover, explore, question, wonder, and make comments. Teachers support the learning by offering explanations, resources and experiences. With this support, children’s knowledge and understanding of the world they live in develops.

Daily childcare and learning programme

Below is the program and routines of a typical day at St Mary’s ECEC. Individual and group planning guide activities and experiences the children experience throughout each day. Outings into the community complement the program. All teachers and staff undergo ongoing professional development so their own knowledge is always current and takes into account any new issues, trends and research in the field of early childhood education and care.

Transition to School

When a child is 4-year-old their profile teachers, plan experiences around going to school.  Our Transition to School activities also help children become more independent and confident with other people and familiar with the new environment that they will find in the school.

School visits

We may be able to take a child to some of their school visits if they’ll be going to a school nearby, and will do this in conjunction with their parents.


Each group has a regular, planned outing away from the Centre. Places we have visited include:

  • the local library for their story time
  • Te Papa
  • Zealandia
  • Carter Observatory
  • Wellington Botanic Garden
  • Bus and train trips
  • Different shopping experiences.
  • St Mary’s church and vicarage.

We also walk around the block, exploring nature and the community.

Planning and recording children’s learning

Assessment of children’s learning and development.

Teachers evaluate and assess children’s learning and development by observing them while they work and play. We use video cameras to capture children learning throughout the centre.

The evaluation and assessment of children’s learning are achieved with consultation between teachers, parents and or whanau/families. Information shared tells of prior learning experiences and knowledge, what we are seeing, and how we might best support ongoing learning. This ensures that the assessment method used is based on children’s contextual cultures  (different environments they live in) and provides an overall socio-cultural perspective of learning and development. Teachers plan for individual children, taking into account how children learn, what learning dispositions they have,  and what learning they already come with.

The individual plans are then used to formulate group work or curriculum planning, which are then posted, along with video clips (learning stories)  onto ‘EDUCA’ (our centre’s online portfolio site). Parents and other family members can also contribute to their children’s learning by adding posts and or comments to the site. Only teachers and the child’s parents have access to the profiles on EDUCA and if parents want to they can invite families from all over the world to view and participate in their child’s learning.

Profile books

Our teachers  also record children’s learning and development in their profile books. These records include photographs, art and craft work, and observations (learning stories) linked to Te Whāriki. Learning stories can be updated by other staff, children, and parents. Children (and their parents or caregivers) can view their profile books at any time.