Kindy shares success in book
A group of Manukau educators is spreading the word around the country about its unique brand of kindergarten.
After five years of research Mangere Bridge Kindergarten has just published the book Crossing the Border: A community negotiates the transition from early childhood to primary school.
It focuses on the kindy's "buddy project" which pairs each 4 -year-old with a 9-year-old from their future school, head teacher Carol Hartley says.
The 9-year-olds - mainly from Waterlea and Mangere Bridge Schools - get together with the kindy kids for an hour each week to do projects and just hang out.
It's about paving the way so new entrants feel "comfortable and capable" when they get to school.
They know that they've got someone looking out for them, Ms Hartley says.
In a community that has its share of deprivation, it's important to get kids loving school right from their first day, she says.
And it's working.
Kids come back from their trips to school saying "It's just like kindy, Mum!"
While the buddy project is mostly for the little ones, the 9-year-olds have also benefited from having friends in a different age group and some have stepped into the role beautifully, Ms Hartley says.
The kindergarten teachers have already been taking their pioneering message around the country.
Over three years they've visited 2500 teachers and given lectures at university.
And many schools have taken up the idea, Ms Hartley says.
Mangere Bridge Kindergarten was named a Centre for Innovation by the Ministry of Education and earlier this year Ms Hartley was awarded a Cognition Education Excellence in Leadership award, which she won't take the credit for.
She says it was received on behalf of the whole teaching team.
The book was also a collaborative effort by all the teachers and the idea itself came from a parent, she says.
"One of the parents said it would be cool if school kids came here."
Go to mangerebridgekindergarten.blogspot.co.nz/ to read more about the kindy's activities.