A new childcare centre at 99 Centreway Road in Orewa is implementing an innovative approach to learning, based on the Reggio Emilia Approach.
Bright Sparks manager Nela Wilson says the Reggio Emilia Approach is a self-guided programme based on the interests of the children with the principles of respect, responsibility and community.
“It works at the child’s learning speed rather than being based on their age,” she says. “They progress at their own pace and get to explore their ideas. As teachers, we help facilitate their learning.”
The centre is owned by Lonnie Parker, who also owns Bright Sparks centres in Mangere and Henderson.
Reflecting Lonnie’s passion for the healthy heart programme and active movement in early childhood, the centre programme includes swimming lessons and an active movement programme.
Nela, who moved to New Zealand from the Czech Republic when she was 18, has 10 years experience in childcare and management. She will lead a qualified and professional team of teachers who are passionate about early childhood education.
She says she is looking forward to the challenge of managing Bright Sparks.
Nutrition and the environment are strong themes throughout the centre, which can cater for up to 90 children, aged three months to five years old.
There is an in-house cook who designs meals from the Healthy Heart menu and there are plans to start a garden soon.
Nela says the focus is on nature and openness.
“Everything in the centre is made from natural products, from the beautiful wooden tables and chairs to the earthy tones with a lot of recycled items. You won’t find any plastic toys here.
“The art studio is designed for children to explore their creativity. Reggio Emilia is project-based, which means that we like to study a topic in greater detail, sometimes over many months.”