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All young children are capable competent learners  from birth and have already acquired a great deal of knowledge and skills before they start school. During their early childhood years, aspects of literacy, numeracy, decision making and thinking skills are developed through a range of play-based experiences.

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Self-help and self-care skills are fostered along with a developing level of social competence all leading to the transition to school. However, there is a big jump between early childhood and where the focus changes from play-based, side by side learning to more independent learning.

In order to aid with this transition we have established The Tots on the Rock Learning Group. It is for children aged 4 and over and is run for 45 mins daily with a maximum of 6 children at any one time (1:6).

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The Learning Group children will be involved in completing activities that align to the Te Whāriki Curriculum, and to develop the associated learning dispositions that provide children with the skills required to participate in a classroom environment.

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These are:

Te Whaariki Strand
Associated Learning Dispositions & Behaviour

Belonging (Mana Whenua)

Courage/Taking an interest.

Well-Being (Mana Atua)

Trust/Being involved.

Exploration (Mana Aoturoa)

Perseverance/Persisting with difficulty, challenge and uncertainty.

Communication (Mana Reo)

Confidence/Expressing a point of view or feeling.

Contribution (Mana Tangata)

Responsibility/Taking responsibility;  justice and fairness, able to take on others’ points of view.

Teachers will work with Learning Group children to extend skills such as literacy, numeracy, problem solving and active enquiry, along with group co-operation, social competence, personal responsibility and independence. However, our aim is not to push children into ‘academic’ work, as they will have plenty of time to develop these abilities at school.

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Our focus is to explore child-initiated activities and continue on longer-term projects. These will enable children to develop fundamental social and co- operative skills and will assist in creating a solid foundation for future learning and relationship building.

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Learning group children also have the opportunity to further their learning in the ‘real’ world with regular excursions, either in our local community or in Auckland. Examples of excursions we have been on : Motat, Kelmarna Gardens, Winter Gardens, Auckland Museum, Whakanewha Regional park, Waiheke Museum.

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These excursions provide a valuable learning experience for the children: they develop values of co-operation and shared responsibility, support children to become social and environmental problem solvers, to explore confidently and ask questions to make sense of the world they see around them.