Nurturing the future
Nurturing the future
The recent global focus on devastating climate conditions and the challenges facing both humans and the natural world was recently brought sharply into perspective for the children at Bear Park Centres with the recent bushfires in Australia.
Bear Park has always been committed to fostering a keen ecological awareness in their children. The philosophy of encouraging the children to nurture their natural environment through day-to-day experiences such as recycling materials, reducing waste and appreciating all facets of the natural world around them underpins many activities at the centre and provides a unique opportunity for open-ended learning experiences.
Children at Bear Park are encouraged to discover how their actions and conversations affect the world around them. This crucial development of awareness was keenly shown in the children’s quick and practical response to the news of the fires and the effect on vulnerable wildlife.
They brainstormed different ideas for raising funds to help the rural fire services in Australia who have been so bravely fighting the ferocious blazes. They also wanted to help the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital which has been valiantly striving to bring aid and care to the koalas that have been so badly hit by the fires.
Together the Bear Park Centres raised $3,272 to support the Australian Fire Services. The final amount was raised by the Herne Bay Bear Park Centre and the children were able to engage in a very immediate way when their very own fireman and Bear Park father was invited to the centre to talk to them about his work. A fire truck and the crew also came along for the visit so the children gained a vivid understanding of the important work that they were supporting.
This was a very real way for the children at Bear Park to gain an understanding of how human actions can contribute positively to environmental challenges and realise how every person can be mindful of all that is happening around them.
Bear Park fosters ongoing collaboration with parents to be part of their community of learners so that together we can develop the ecological potential of all the children at our centres. We regularly invite parents to our centres so that they can gain an insight into all our essential programmes and involve them in the vital process of their children’s learning and understanding of the world and their role in nurturing it.
Bear Park fosters the children’s understanding through four main principles that underpin our teaching philosophy, inspired by Te Whaariki and the Reggio Emilia approach:
- Whakamana (Empowerment): We empower children to be interactive learners and constructors of knowledge, actively engaging and exploring the wider world around them.
- Kotahitanga (Holistic Development): Our curriculum reflects the holistic way that children learn through acknowledging them as unique free-spirited individuals, who are competent, capable and beholding of a richness of cultural identity.
- Whānau Tangata (Family and Community): We acknowledge that the wider world of family, whānau and community is an integral part of our curriculum and we foster active participation from all three.
- Nga Hononga (Relationships): We believe children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things so therefore encourage participation in meaningful relationships.
This year a central focus for Bear Park is to enrich further the ecological potentiality of the children. Our recent fundraiser demonstrates this philosophy and how it encourages the children to develop an awareness and understanding of how they can nurture our ecological future.