Teaching and Learning


Our Programme:

Our programme is based on Te Whāriki, The New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, which essentially is children learning through play. “The curriculum is provided by the people, places, and things in the child’s environment: the adults, the other children, the physical environment and the resources. The curriculum integrates care and education and includes both specifically planned experiences and activities and interactions that arise spontaneously”. The children at The Barnyard have everyday access to a wide variety of resources and equipment to encourage development using the five strands of Te Whāriki: Belonging, Well-being, Exploration, Communication and Contribution.

Our Rooms:

The Barnyard is divided into three separate learning environments, this enables our children to be grouped into similar learning and social groups. Each of our learning environments is specifically designed to empower children to grow in all aspects of their physical, social, spiritual and cognitive development. We offer a warm, nurturing and stimulating environment. Our enthusiastic and passionate teachers equip your child for lifelong learning by providing a high quality, educational learning environment that is fun, exciting and challenging. Our teachers are experienced professionals and over 80% have Early Childhood Education qualifications.


Harakeke Room (3 months – 2 years)

Our age appropriate learning environment allows our children the freedom to grow and learn at their own pace. We have two areas within the Harakeke room. One area is designed for our infants who are not yet moving or have just begun movement. This area is safely partitioned from our busy older children. Within this environment infants are able to develop strong relationships with their teachers and gain a sense of belonging as well as develop their physical skills. We follow a RIE approach which supports primary caregiving, peaceful observation, support not intervention, working/talking with the child not to the child, full attention, calm environment, unhurried time, respectful practice and freedom of movement. Our second area is designed for free play. A fun-filled environment with books, family play, puzzles, art, messy play and so much more.

In the Harakeke room children are leaders in their own learning. Activities are meaningful and based on current emerging interests. Children are supported and extended by passionate staff to have a strong sense of belonging, all teachers promote positive guidance and independence. The Harakeke room is a warm, caring environment with an open-door policy to encourage parent involvement.


Kōwhai Room (2 years – 3.5 years)

In the Kōwhai room your child continues to have dedicated teachers for their specific needs. Experiences are provided each day to foster their interests and support their holistic development. This room is designed and developed for children aged 2.5-3.5 years. We do have flexibility around transition times as we understand that each child is different and develops at a different pace. Therefore, our aim is to provide toddlers with a loving, calm, respectful environment that is specifically designed so children can develop at their own pace.

Through observing, listening, replicating and lots of trial and error our children are continually learning and mastering many new skills. Our learning environment in the Kōwhai room is set up specifically with this in mind as we allow plenty of space and time for uninterrupted learning to take place. We give children the freedom to explore and develop skills that promote confidence, independence, self-help and care skills and nurture their sense of well-being and belonging. We encourage play based learning, giving opportunities for children to explore and discover for themselves on their journey to becoming confident and competent learners.


Rimu Room (3.5 – 6 years)

We all know children are curious, independent, capable and competent learners. They question and investigate their world while they develop their learning identity. The Rimu room provides quality care and education through both planned and spontaneous learning environments which allow your child to learn with others and to embrace different cultures, values and interests. This allows our children to develop a sense of belonging over the course of our programme. Programmes for this age group are about preparing them for life. All children learn in unique ways and develop at different ages. In this room, we assist your child to learn in the way that is best for them, at their own pace and in their own time. Educators follow the children’s interests both indoors and outdoors and set up their environment accordingly. By doing so your child will be offered the opportunity to have their learning extended and enriched through a project-based approach interwoven with Literacy and Numeracy.

Even though most of the children’s learning is centered on play, we do introduce some new experiences that help our children transition to school. Children are encouraged during the transition programme to take responsibility for their belongings, use their manners, learn to manage a lunchbox and its contents, engage in mat time, and develop the necessary skills in order for them to be able to read and write. The children in the Rimu room aged 4.5 years are given the opportunity if they wish to sit down with an educator and practice their letters of the alphabet. The Rimu room educators work in a close partnership with Te Awamutu Primary School and Pekerau Primary School and adapt their programme where necessary to fit in with the local schools. Our educators will go on the children’s school visits to Te Awamutu Primary and Pekerau School.