GI Kindergarten at heart of community

13 FEB, 2020 | Tāmaki News

Glen Innes Kindergarten is growing alongside the community it serves.

The Auckland Kindergarten Association kindergarten has been at its current location on Taniwha St for more than 50 years.
“We have a long history in Glen Innes. Many of our families who send their children here had the parents attend when they were kids,” head teacher Robyn Matthews says. “Glen Innes is changing, as is our focus in the kindergarten. We’re growing the community here.”
As the needs of families in Glen Innes have changed, the kindergarten has been quick to adapt. “We’re now taking children from two years old. At a lot of kindergartens, you can’t get in until they’re three,” Robyn says. “It’s something our families have asked for and means lots of brothers and sisters can come together. We’ve been busy developing a two-year-old programme. “If they don’t have to wait to a certain age for the siblings to come together, it’s really nice.” Currently there are 30 children, three teachers, a teaching assistant, teacher aide and administrator at the kindergarten. It offers 30 hours free per child, with morning, afternoon and full day sessions. “We’re very lucky in terms of our ratios. All of our learning is run through play, while working within the curriculum,” Robyn says. “We have an open-door policy, which means parents don’t just have to drop off . Parents and families are really welcome here. We try to include them.” 

The kindergarten has been promoting itself locally, conducting flyer drops and connecting with other community organisations. “We are central to the redevelopment. It’s about making relationships, inviting families in and being part of the community, including getting to know the local schools. “It’s been quite successful – we’ve doubled the roll in a term.” But there’s still room for growth, with capacity for about 40 children. “We’ve got a real focus on enrolling and capacity building. There’s a big focus on supporting children transitioning to school, making friends and language skills. Our roll is mainly made up of locals, but families from outside the area are also welcome. 
“We’re moving towards zero waste and recycling everything. We want the community to be rich, vibrant, healthy and able to succeed.”

A GREAT PLACE TO BE

Local parent Candace Weir says sending her two daughters Marceline and Naomi to the kindergarten has been an enriching experience for them.
“When I first visited the kindergarten, I knew straight away that this was for us. At our visit my girls immediately got into the playdough and dress ups and started chatting with the other children. The teachers at GI kindergarten exude manaakitanga and their attention to detail with every child at the centre is heartwarming. Every day there is a new activity that is informed by what the children are engaging with or is inspired by local and cultural events.”
Marceline has started school, but remembers her kindergarten days with joy and often asks to go back or will send in cards for the teachers, Candace says.
“Being local has also meant we have got to know more people in our community, familiar faces have now become friends and our girls are becoming proud GI born-and-bred kids.”
Go to www.aka.org.nz/gleninnes to find out more about Glen Innes Kindergarten, or contact the friendly team with a call on 528 4113 or email gleninnes@aka.org.nz. 
Alternatively pop in and see the kindergarten for yourself at 71 Taniwha St, Glen Innes.
Morning sessions run Monday-Friday 8.30am-11.30am, afternoon sessions are from 11.30am-2.30pm and full day sessions are from 8.30am-2.30pm. The kindergarten is closed weekends, school holidays and public holidays.