Nurturing, Nourishing and Natural
At Oma Rāpeti we work under the National Early Childhood Curriculum of Aotearoa, Te Whāriki. The principles of Empowerment, Holistic Development, Family and Community, and Relationships underpin our practice and tie in with the approach of Dr Emmi Pikler, whose work influences the childcare philosophy our centre is built upon.
Guided by the work of Pikler, her protégé Magda Gerber (founder of RIE), and the principles of Te Whāriki, we create an environment where children’s needs are put first. The key aspects of our approach are:
Main Carer System
Each child has two main carers, who act as a first point of contact for children and their whānau, and foster connection between the child and the wider centre environment. This respects a child’s inherent need for a stable, predictable person to attach to and provides them with a stable base from which to explore.
Every moment of the day is an opportunity for learning, and care moments (such as nappy changes, meal times, and sleep times) are opportunities for us to communicate, reconnect, and encourage participation from our children. These moments emotionally ‘refuel’ children so they feel satisfied to return to independent play and learning.
Taking the time to know each child individually, see what they are capable of, and provide them with an environment that will foster their ongoing exploration of their world.
We trust that our children are competent and capable, and ensure that they are given opportunities to do things for themselves. We intervene as little as possible so that they may experience the sense of accomplishment from doing something on their own.
Social and Emotional Support
We acknowledge children’s emotions and support them to work through these emotions in an authentic way. We see conflict as an opportunity for learning, and we support children to develop the communication skills needed to resolve conflict in a safe way.
A Safe, Challenging, and Predictable Environment
Children are given freedom to explore and choose their own play, which empowers them to investigate what is important to them and fosters a lifelong love of learning.
What Does This Mean For Your Child's Day?
We have a bonded and connected team, who speak respectfully to one another. This role models great relationships for our children and allows our team to enjoy being together.
We will encourage our children to learn and feel their emotions. This can be as simple as the language we use, like "I can see you are feeling angry", or by allowing them to sit with that emotion with our support. In moments of conflict we offer support, allowing the children to resolve the conflict.
Children at Oma Rāpeti are empowered and involved in processes and decisions and they take ownership of their spaces within the centre. They are an integral part of the routines, rituals and events in our Oma Rāpeti home.
We aim to nourish the soul by providing slow and enjoyable dining and resting experiences where children aren't rushed and feel respected and comfortable. Children often partake in the preparation of their meals, such as cutting food and prepping the table.
Together children and team prepare special rituals such as foot spas, massage, yoga, and tea ceremonies to promote relaxation, self-care, and nourishment of the spirit.
We pride ourselves on creating a "home away from home" environment at Oma Rāpeti, where children can engage in self-chosen and self-initiated play.
An outdoor environment and open-air play is essential for a healthy body, mind and spirit. Children are free to play outside in all weathers as long as they are suitably dressed.
We go on adventures and explore our neighbourhood and community to further connect children to their natural world.