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Daisies shortlisted for Prime Minister’s Education Award

Daisies shortlisted for Prime Minister’s Education Award

Daisies Early Education & Care Centre in Johnsonville has been selected as one of 16 finalists for the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards in Teaching and Learning.

The awards, which were established last year, recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements in early childhood education, primary and secondary schooling. www.pmawards.education.govt.nz

Daisies is the only early childhood centre on the Teaching and Learning short-list and the only Wellington area finalist for any of the awards.

The short listed place has been awarded for the wildly successful Nature Explore Programme that has been developing over the last 18 months at Daisies. Teachers have been enhancing children’s learning about birds, plants, insects, stream life, land formation and weather with regular visits into natural environments. Additional learning about whenuatanga, Māori knowledge of the land, and about kaitiakitangi, guardianship of the land has also been a focus.

Co-owner of Daisies, Anne Meade says, “We had to write a case study. The feature we chose - our Nature curriculum with a focus on conservation attracted the judges’ attention, particularly our weekly excursions into ‘wilderness’ areas in Khandallah Park. We were commended because science learning is integrated into the children’s exploration of the bush and stream.”

Dr Meade also said, “Compiling the case study revealed how much learners big and small have gained as we explored parks and brought back big questions to investigate together at Daisies. It has become a community learning enterprise. The research elements of the case study showed us ways children and adults can learn more and teachers can improve reports on this learning to parents and whānau.”

A parent of a child at the centre said, ”We have started visiting Khandallah Park with her. She has learned about death by seeing dead insects and birds and talking about what has happened to them. She knows more names of plants and flowers than I do, so she certainly hasn’t learned them from me!”

The judges said, “The case study shows real attention given to the use of smart tools in an early childhood setting, with a strength-based approach to evaluation and self- review.”

The winners of the awards will be announced on 25th June at a ceremony at Te Papa.

Some notes about Daisies:

Daisies opened in 2008 and operates out of a specially converted house in Johnsonville, Wellington. It is licensed for 30 children and employs 10 teachers and 3 other staff including an on-site chef.

It is run by co-owners, Mother and Daughter team Anne and Linda Meade, alongside Head Teacher Natasha Kibble.

Anne is a distinguished researcher, author, lecturer and policy developer in the field of Early Childhood Education.

Linda is an experienced business woman, a partner at Deloitte, and a Board member at Wellington Zoo. www.linkedin.com/pub/linda-meade/19/38b/353

Natasha is a passionate and experienced teacher who has played a pivotal role in the Nature Explore project.

The educational philosophy of the centre is based strongly around respect for children and their whānau with a focus on the processes of learning for children, but also for their parents and the teachers. Principles espoused by Reggio Emilia and Emmi Pikler are important influences on the way the teachers shape and deliver Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum.

Daisies publishes guides to our teaching process (available on the website) and run popular Professional Seminar Days for other teachers in the region. www.daisies.co.nz/daisies-publications.html

Daisies also has a strong commitment to sustainable business practices and were the recipients of the National Award in the small and medium business category at the ‘Sustainable Business Networks Awards’ in 2011. www.sustainableawards.org.nz/2011

Daisies received a glowing ERO report last year: http://ero.govt.nz/Early-Childhood-School-Reports/Early-Childhood-Reports/Daisies-Early-Education-Care-Centre-07-08-2013

Please look at our website for more information: www.daisies.co.nz

And also at a recently published article in Wellington Woman: www.daisies.co.nz/news.html

ENDS

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