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How you view the child determines your actions

Kaiako actions matter

Key points

  • Fostering a culture of inclusion over time
  • Kaiako thoughtfully adapting practice

At Doris Nicholson Kindergarten the teaching team has a strong commitment to the active participation of all – to meeting the diverse learning needs of all the children at their centre.

Kaiako teach by this whakataukī:

Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti ka ārahi i ā tātou mahi.

Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.

So what does this look like in practice? It starts with kaiako attitudes and their strongly held belief that “how you view the child determines your actions”.

When kaiako are concerned about behaviour, they first apply a mindset of curiosity. This often involves pausing and not immediately reacting to try and understand the pattern of behaviours and their cause.

Kaiako always work as a team to agree on learning goals that are specific, measurable, and realistic. These are supported with teaching strategies based on the development of the child, for example simplifying instructions, incorporating visuals, and extending wait times. Kaiako are also prepared to adapt routines to accommodate individual needs and remove any barriers to children’s learning.

“We ask ourselves – Is this place fair for each child? Do we need to change the expectations? Are the mat times too long? Do we need to make them more active? Are there spaces for children to rest and be calm? Can all children access the equipment? If not, what are we doing to work towards this participation?”

Kaiako, Doris Nicholson Kindergarten.

Kaiako work intentionally in the knowledge that they set the tone for respectful, learning interactions. They make a point of modelling to the children how to support each other and what it means to show aroha. If children notice that another child is not participating in the same way as them, kaiako will offer reassurance – “it’s ok, they are learning about what we do here”.

Kaiako have created booklets explaining useful interaction strategies for working effectively with learners and highlighting interests particular to the child. The booklets are designed to help everyone in the centre know how to set each learner up for success.

An example paragraph from one of the books:

"When I am participating in group activities like mat times, kori kori, or eating my morning tea/lunch, my teachers will wear Rodger, my FM system. I can hear the teachers clearly when using this system. It’s also helpful to wear Rodger when I am at an activity or playing amongst a group of friends. It helps me understand what is going on in the group (giving me important contextual information)."

At Doris Nicholson they want all children to be successful twenty-first century learners – who display empathy, mana, confidence, respect, and creativity. But how each child gets to that point may be different. Kaiako actively evaluate and change their strategies to help get children there in their own time.

 This story of practice is part of the Inclusive practice page.

A child with a toy standing in the middle of a circle smiling.