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Article written for Childspace Magazine Summer 2016-17

Organic Kids… Our journey of passion and quest for quality.

Hi, we’re Bec and Lou, directors of Organic Kids. We are two passionate early childhood professionals from Christchurch, proud to share our journey and passion in early childhood education. We are both working Mums and have known each other for 6 years as colleagues and now friends. Together we have over 30 years experience in the early childhood sector and have both experienced life as teachers in centres and as visiting teachers in the home based sector prior to our joint venture. It is through our experiences that our commitment and passion for home based care was born. Our dream to open our own home based service was considered one night, and that dream became a reality in February 2015 when ‘Organic Kids In-Home Education and Care’ opened its door for the first time. After being open for 18months we can say that our passion and commitment for quality in-home childcare is now a successful business where we can mold our own beliefs and values throughout our pedagogy.

The journey was a ride that we often draw strength from. There were a lot of long nights writing and fine-tuning policies, sorting out how our programme was going to look, what our point of difference would be and our business name. We looked straight to who we believed were the leaders in Early Childhood and took inspiration from them. We knew that our philosophy would be RiE based following the direction of Kimberley Crisp, Penny Brownlee, Magda Gerber and Emmi Pickler. From there it was policy time where Childspace was our first and last port of call, we did not need to look any further for our inspiration.

20160822_103926We believe nature and children go hand in hand and for this reason we knew we were going to have a focus on children getting dirty and exploring nature on a regular basis. Taking the time to smell the flowers, watching ants move and listening to birds sing are all joys nature has to offer and we wanted an aspect of our programme to offer this too. We developed a Forest Education programme which has become a favourite part of the children’s week. Each venue is different from the last with new and exciting learning opportunities on hand. Children have the time to touch, smell, and listen to the beauty nature has to offer with love and curiosity as questions are pondered. We have splashed in puddles, looked for bugs and insects under logs, seen baby lambs, pukekoes and gooslings. Some of our children received a Butterfly and Bee brigade badge for the work they did in building a new habitat for Bees and Monarch Butterflies within their local communities.

Sustainablity was another important aspect for us, we knew that each home would be uniquely different and had to decide on how sustainability would look for us. We wanted this to be an engaging learning experience for children, one they could be fully involved in. We decided to start small, each home was to have a vegetable garden where children could plant their seeds, watch them sprout, and eventually harvest what they have grown and either eat with the educator or take home to share with the whanau. All of our educators have taken this on with enthuasiam. As we look at how sustainability has evolved within the daily programmes, we now not only have vegetable gardens 20160927_132310being tendered, but worms being fed and castings extracted, chickens being cared for and eggs collected. Upcycling has been another exciting avenue some of our educators have taken on with the building of mud kitchens. Reels and planks are being used daily as loose parts start to take a strong hold within the learning enviornments. We are very excited that one of our educators has started making a willow hut. The opportunites are endless, we are always on the look out for new ideas to keep developing this part of our programme.

Our quest for quality was simple, we wanted to have a team of like minded professionals who had passion, showed commitment and shared our beliefs on how children learn. For this reason we choose to be licensed as a quality service, meaning we could only have trained educators on our team, a decision that we cherish each day. Being a quality service allows us to give back to our educators and families, to offer 20 hrs ECE with no optional fees and to provide top level professional development to our whole team of educators. We now have a strong, dedicated team of trained educators. Their daily programmes are based on loving and respectful relationships, uninterrupted play, free movement and exploration allowing children to unfold naturally. Children dance to their own innate learning rhythm making us an organic, wholesome care service, built 20160628_150656on the foundations of trusting and secure relationships.

‘Organic Kids, a real home away from home, open to investigation where children of all ages can lead their own journey of self-discovery’.

 

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