Rural Scholars Early Childhood Learning Centre, Waimate

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At Rural Scholars Early Learning Centre we grow a very special product among children - empathy for animals.

The children have many opportunities to interact with the environment, work alongside nature and peacefully explore. With a 40 acre section this allows the teachers/kaiako to interweave curriculum concepts into a natural setting.

The children learn so many concepts and life skills as they care for the animals. One of the most important things is empathy, as handling tiny animals requires a great deal of gentleness and self-control.

We love watching the look of amazement, and wonder on the children's faces as they feed lambs, watch chicks hatching or baby animals feeding off their mothers. The children are fascinated by how the animals move, what and how they eat, the noises they makes, how they feel to touch and where and how they live.

The curriculum is linked into interactions with the animals. In maths we measure the water and weigh the powder to make the lambs milk. In science, they explore natural biological functions, including birth, death, illness and life cycles. The farm environment provides numerous learning, opportunities, supporting all areas of development - exploration, contribution, well-being, communication, and belonging.

At Rural Scholars Early Learning Centre we believe the best thing our animals provide the children/tamariki is a calming effect because they are not judgemental, don't hold grudges, never criticise and give that unconditional love.

At Rural Scholars Early Learning Centre we have a high standard of planning assessment and evaluation. Assessment is ongoing for individuals and groups, following the children's/tamariki's interests and needs.

Rural Scholars Early Learning Centre is very family/whanau orientated. Building strong relationships with our parents and whanau is very important to us. Having strong relationships with parents/whanau is important to support each individual child/tamariki the best we can.

Teachers/Kaiako at Rural Scholars Early Learning Centre attend professional development to ensure that they have the most current and up to date information, and understanding of teaching and learning to best support our children/tamariki.