Kindercare's Excel Education Program
Everything about your child, at each age and stage of their development, is an original masterpiece, so they deserve care and education that will foster their incredible potential.
That’s why we developed Excel – because this offers your child more than learning innovation – it’s a framework within which the relationship between your child and their teacher is intentionally nurtured.
And when you start with loving, connected, responsive relationships in the early years, this directly benefits your child. Our Excel Education Program is implemented and used in the Babies, Toddlers and Preschool rooms as well as offering a specialised focus for the Transition to School children.
At Kindercare, learning is about achieving specific outcomes for YOUR child, through play!
Find out more information about how we meet the specific needs of babies, toddlers and preschoolers here.
What is the Excel Education Program?
It’s a flexible framework which enables our teachers to observe your child’s interests, needs and strengths – so we get to know your child and focus on building a relationship with them.
From this, a plan is then developed to support your child’s individual learning, at each stage of their development. Extensive research preceded the introduction of Kindercare’s Excel Education Program, culminating in the development of this framework, which incorporates New Zealand’s national early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki.
Another valuable feature of Excel is that it provides ongoing opportunities for you, as parents and families, to contribute to your child’s learning – because when you’re involved, your child benefits.
Excel Education Program - Values, Learning and Your Child
The Excel Education Program links three essential elements:
- your child (central);
- our values (and how they benefit your child); and
- our approach to learning (and how this benefits your child)
Child: your child is a precious “gift”, whom you have entrusted to us. That’s why our relationship with you, and with your child, is a partnership and our role in the relationship is to love and develop your child within a culture of kindness.
When you choose Kindercare for your child, they’re joining a family where our relationship with them comes first. Your child will know they are loved; they’ll be treated with respect; and they’ll feel valued by care that acknowledges their individual interests, needs, strengths and how capable they are.
It’s a heart-centred approach to caring for your child, through gentle, unhurried interactions, giving your little one time to take in what’s happening around them, and prepare for what might happen next. This creates a peaceful, pleasurable experience for them as they engage with their teachers and surroundings according to their own rhythm.
Values: Safe, Loved and Learning – these are Kindercare’s three over-arching values which encompass and align everything we do in building a relationship with your child to care for and educate them.
Benefit: when your child feels safe and loved, they have trust in their relationship with us, so they’re ready to learn and to become “life-long” learners, who are able to reach their full potential.
Learning: your child will be treated with kindness, which is expressed in the gentle moments of care that happen throughout the day. Your child will be invited to participate in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, active play and quiet corners, space and freedom to move, time for conversations and cuddles, and a wide range of daily opportunities for sensory exploration and discovery.
Benefit: because your young child is laying down patterns that will impact the rest of his/her life, their relationship with those who care for them, as well as how they are treated and responded to in the early years, is critical.
So your child benefits when they have a relationship with our teachers that’s built on strong connections that put your child first and is sensitive to your child’s cues. Then learning happens naturally, in a calm, predictable environment, that’s about fun and play-based experiences.
What are the Benefits of the Excel Education Program?
Flexibility: the benefit of our framework, as opposed to a structured program, is that our teachers are empowered to observe your child and then plan for their learning, based on your child’s individual needs, abilities and interests. So your child is placed at the centre of their learning - they’re not fitted into a program.
The benefit to your child? Through observation and focused attention, our teachers first take the time to build a strong connection with your child and once they’ve established this close relationship, they’re able to respond intuitively to your child’s cues and support their learning. Your child will feel loved, affirmed and valued, which is so important for their sense of belonging and to develop their full potential.
Framework of Creative Opportunities for Movement; Sensory experiences; Language: when your child is moving, exploring and playing – they’re learning. Care in a calm, predictable environment, with loving teachers who reflect joy in spending time with your child, creates an environment that will delight and engage your child.
The benefit to your child? Learning, social and emotional development, and brain development all happen naturally, because your child feels secure, supported and is having fun. Because teachers are “present” to your child, they respond sensitively to their cues and signals, and listen with ears and eyes, so it’s a harmonious relationship with your child.
Foundations for Love, Learning and Life:
“All learning begins with the body. It has to. It’s our point of reference. And for children, it’s even more so because the body is the brain’s first teacher. And the lesson plan is movement.”
(“A Moving Child is a Learning Child” by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy)
Because approximately 90% of neural pathways are set for life in the first years, when your baby, toddler or preschooler is moving, this is stimulating their brain. The more the brain is stimulated, the more movement the body needs for further stimulation – and this dynamic process is learning. A single movement is not only developing your child’s physical capability, it’s also building sensory perception and forming critical brain pathways.
It makes sense for early childhood to have a different focus to formal schooling, because before your child can focus on literacy and numeracy, their brain needs to automate certain tasks. To achieve this, the brain makes movement a priority. And once movement is automated, your child is free and able to “think”. When your child’s essential foundations are in place, they’re able to succeed at formal learning (literacy – reading and writing; numeracy - maths), when they go to school.
So your child will benefit from Kindercare’s learning program because at each stage of development, your child will be in an environment rich with sensory experiences, with lots of opportunity and space for movement. While your little one is playing, having fun, enjoying new experiences, taking on new challenges and repeating some things over and over, they are free to move, and that’s key to learning.
Social and Emotional Competence:
As a parent, your relationship with your child is the strongest influence on their healthy growth and development. What we also know to be critical for all children is the development of their social and emotional competence, which is why this is a strong focus of our Excel Education Program.
It’s in a child’s early years that brain connections are made and patterns formed which continue into our adult lives and determine our understanding of appropriate behavior (our own and that of others), and how we build and maintain healthy relationships. To develop your child’s social competence and emotional well-being, they’ll be cherished at Kindercare through kind, respectful care, which acknowledges their feelings, values different cultural perspectives and supports your child through intentional, focused attention in a calm, fun-filled environment.
Social and Emotional Development in Babies and Toddlers:
For your baby or toddler, our curriculum is not about “formal education”. At this young age, our relationship with your baby/toddler is the curriculum. The relationship, and a culture of kindness, are our focus. How do we do this?
Respectful care moments throughout the day – it’s in those moments of “routine” that there are precious opportunities for us to listen to your baby, smile and make eye contact and invite them to participate in what we are doing – like changing their nappy, giving them a bottle – these are times when they have our full attention, so we can build the relationship.
Rituals – your infant is taking in visual and audio information every moment they are awake. So in an environment where they are treated with tenderness, invited to share in experiences and given time to become familiar with what’s around them, they can relax and trust relationships and rituals. This minimises their stress so they’re able to lay down critical neural pathways that support their social and emotional development.
Partnership dance in a culture of kindness – every interaction and conversation with your baby is intentional and comes from the heart, with kindness. A true partnership enables your baby to have a choice; to be presented with an invitation to participate, so it doesn’t happen “to” them, but rather “with” them.
Social and Emotional Development in Preschoolers:
You Can Do It:
Your preschool child needs to be prepared for school, not just cognitively, but also in terms of his/her social and emotional competence.
At Kindercare, we use the “You Can Do It” (YCDI) program to teach preschoolers in a fun-filled way about behaviours and ways to think because these are essential for their well-being and for them to learn successfully. Using lesson plans, songs, puppets, games, posters and pictures, this flexible, adaptable program is sensitive to cultural and language backgrounds and can be tailored to your child’s age, and cognitive developmental and social emotional maturity. YCDI provides a wide range of opportunities and contexts for your preschooler to learn the following five essential social and emotional learning skills:
Resilience: the ability to calm yourself, and control your behavior, within 10 minutes of being very upset, without any adult-initiated guidance and support.
Organisation: the ability to listen carefully to instructions, begin your task without excessive delay, take care of your own things and take care of yourself by keeping clean and tidy.
Confidence: believing in yourself that if you attempt to do something, you will be able to, for example, believe you can make friends; believe that at school, you’ll be safe and happy; not being afraid to tell people what you think; not being afraid to say what you want to do; not being afraid to make mistakes.
Getting Along: treating others with respect and being honest, fair and caring; working and playing well with others; solving disagreements peacefully, following the rules and looking after your environment.
Persistence: keep working at something that you find difficult, and keep trying even when it feels as if it is too hard for you to do, don’t give up - even if you’re tired.