The image of a teacher
It's well known that mums wear many hats: cook, nurse, teacher, homemaker, taxi driver - you name it, we do it!
However, it is not just mums who wear multiple hats in our children’s lives. Teachers also have many roles to play, from programme planner to listener, negotiator to play facilitator, parental educator, observer, researcher, comforter and, of course, educator! These early years of life are critical in child development and each child is unique in the way they learn and develop.
During this time, personalities are being formed and attitudes toward learning are solidified. Children are learning about how they feel about themselves and others; they are quickly adapting skills and knowledge about their world. That’s why a positive educational experience during this time can give children a passion, a purpose, and an appetite for learning that will last a lifetime!
Teachers understand it is important to take a holistic view of children and the way they learn. Some children may need extra time with a puzzle or some gentle guidance with sharing while others are more naturally self-directed and can be left alone to get on with it!
At Bear Park, the supportive and empathetic teachers take their many different roles seriously. They see it as their job to offer children in their care the gift of uninterrupted time in an environment that says “yes…come create, explore, and discover with us!”. They believe in the unlimited potential of all children and treasure the opportunity to guide them on a path of life-long learning.
Bear Park’s 11 centres are spread across Auckland and Dunedin, and while the centres may be at different ends of the country geographically, they’re all underpinned by the same four values of:
Kotahitanga (Holistic Development)
Whānau Tangata (Family and Community)
Ngā Hononga (Relationships)
Being a teacher at a Bear Park centre means embodying these values every day and bringing them to life for the each and every child and their whanau.
Whakamana (Empowerment) can be anything from giving a child the tools and confidence to make their own decisions, to making sure the whānau and parents are well-informed to make the best decisions for their children. Bear Park teachers see children as competent and curious individuals who have endless potential to create and explore the world around them. Children are encouraged to be interactive learners and constructors of knowledge, actively engaging and exploring the wider world around them.
Kotahitanga (Holistic Development) Teachers plan learning activities that are unique to children’s own curiosities to nurture their interests and help develop their whole person. At Bear Park, children are respected for who they are and where they are developmentally. Their curriculum reflects the holistic way that children learn by acknowledging them as unique free-spirited individuals who are competent, capable, and beholding of a richness of cultural identity.
Whānau Tangata (Family and Community) The reason Bear Park has been so successful is down to whānau engagement and involvement. Their teachers work hard to engage parents and make sure that the little everyday joys are captured and shared. This means being both a teacher, documentarian and researcher! Bear Park acknowledges the wider world of family, whānau and community as an integral part of their curriculum and fosters active participation from all three.
Ngā Hononga (Relationships) Bear Park offers community like no other, where children’s social and emotional growth is nurtured and guided by empathetic teachers. Under this lens, children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things and so Bear Park teachers encourage participation in meaningful relationships with the wider world.
The Bear Park philosophy of listening to the children and creating a nurturing environment in childcare has assisted in creating those close relationships between the parents / whānau and the Centres.
The programme they offer is greatly inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to education, from Reggio Emilia in Italy, which fits very comfortably within our own New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whāriki.