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Welcome to Piopio, A Thriving Village Nestled Between The
World Famous Waitomo Caves and The Rugged Taranaki Coast

 

Curious Keas Celebrates 10 years!!

It feels like only a year or two ago that Curious Keas opened its doors to Piopio’s Preschoolers, parents, whanau and community, I have been running some numbers and we have had 445 children, and 405 families enrol in that time. Our oldest children are in year 11 in their schooling journey, it has been so special to watch this as being a small community we get to see them as they get older and watch them develop. I have said to several of my staff over the years that if they ever need a boost in confidence go down to one of the schools (Aria, Piopio Primary or College) and all of our Keas children come and say hello or run up and hug you.

We still have 4 original staff members, dedicated to the care and education of the children in our community. Building relationships and getting to know the children and whanau are the foundation to learning at any level, it is key to promoting a positive view and attitude to life long learning. Having fun, being positive, a sense of humour, and a passion for children are some of the most powerful qualities in teaching at any level.

When we began our adventure of setting up, as a new business we worried that we may not get enough children to remain viable. Less than a 6 months later we increased our licensed space from 30-35, and within a year carried out further alterations to increase licensed space to 40.

Curious Keas will be celebrating this significant milestone with our children, their caregivers and staff, we have plans of 10 days of celebrations whereby we will have a celebration each day for 10 Days beginning on the 21st of March and ending on the 1st of April. I always wanted to hold an open day and invite as many families/children back as possible and have a barbeque and aerial photo to mark the occasion but this is going to be impossible given the current covid situation, this will have to happen when restrictions ease.

Education has always been highly regulated, but as with anything in the last few years everywhere you turn there are more rules and restrictions on how you operate. Trying to remain true to our ethos of risk taking, learning through cause and effect, trying different ways of doing things and seeing this as learning not danger or failure is always a juggle, but having a team that all feels like this is the best way that children learn allows us to find ways of upholding the rules without restricting children’s play, confidence, and growth.

One of the things that I speak of often is how lucky our children are to grow up in our community. Children and their whanau arrive at Curious Keas already knowing many of the children and teachers so it really helps them with their initial settling and confidence to be away from whanau and home. We have worked closely with the schools to develop smooth transitions as the children move on to primary. By the time our children move on to school they have watched their friends go, they have met their teacher, visited the school, had opportunities like watching the production, joining for waiata, watching sport and attending pet day. We also share routines and rituals (karakia, waiata, and current learning strategies in learning phonics) we have mini cross-country, and Pet day as a way of introducing some of the things children will experience at school with the view of sending the children off more confident and ready for a new environment.

In more recent years we have had organised visits from school students and teachers to Keas initiated by the new entrant teachers as the children tell them all about it. This is something we are really proud of as you can see that the schools also place great importance on relationships and knowledge of where children come from in relation to being ready and open to learn.

One of my favourite trips I have ever organised was a local trip around the area in 2014, the children were into inviting each other to their houses and explaining where they lived, which led to looking on maps and seeing where everyone lived. We decided to map out a route, and then booked a bus. The day came and we had organised some stops along the way. We went past most children’s houses, and had invited family to put notes in letterboxes. This was an amazing adventure with so much learning and connection-with the children, their whanau, our staff, and our community and also our schools (our Keas kids thought they were so cool going on the bus like the school kids). I think Snow and June Nicol (from 3way motors) were just about as excited about it as I was, they have been so generous with sponsoring trips on the bus for our children and they see the joy the children get out of it, and the berry orchard asked to be the last stop and shouted all of the children an icecream. We have done many other amazing trips over the years but this is a prime example of how it takes a village to raise a child!

Our plan was to have an updated staff photo this week, but unfortunately we have several staff off work so that will have to wait until everyone is back on board!

We are looking forward to many more happy years in Early Childhood here at Curious Keas, to our past and present Staff, children, families and community we thank you for your support, and wonderful memories we have created here!
Steph Brough



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