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Our philosophy outlines who we are and illustrates our core beliefs and values.If you have any questions please feel free to ask our teachers or contact us here for more information.


Nurturing the Mana and learning of Children


We see all tamariki/children as competent and born with mana – with qualities and knowledge passed on to them from their ancestors and whānau family. We believe that it is our job to nurture this mana and assist each tamaiti/child to reach their full potential.

Our curriculum is informed by the interests, investigation and passions of both children and teachers. We value curriculum experiences where discovery, play, curiosity and investigation are central.

Tamariki/children and kaiako/teachers demonstrate respect and listen to each other’s ideas. Tamariki/children are recognised as lifelong learners and citizens of our community with the ability to make a difference to others and to the environment.




We strongly believe that WE the people, are a part of the natural world and have a responsibility to be Kaitaki (guardians) of our environment.

We emphasise nature education within our curriculum and promote respect, relationships & place and sustainable practices.

Our kindergarten is located within the grounds of Hillcrest Normal School and maintains strong connections with its local community. We strive to gain and impart local knowledge, protocols, history & stories.


Bicultural Commitment & Māori ways of being


We recognise Māori as the first people of Aotearoa New Zealand. We value Te Reo Māori as a living language, unique to our country and heritage and in need of protection.

Te Reo Maori, Te Ao Māori and Tikanga Māori are woven into our daily practices and curriculum in natural ways through korero/conversation, purakau/stories, waiata/songs and karakia/mihi.

We celebrate Māori success and acknowledge our tamariki Maori.




We see relationships with tamariki/children and their whanau/families as integral to our functioning and purpose. We aim to provide a learning environment where all tamariki/children and their whanau/families are made to feel welcome and included and where warm relationships develop as a result.

We strive to seek and respond to whanau/parent aspirations for their own tamaiti/child/ren and believe in providing an inclusive environment for all. We celebrate the diversity of children and families in our kindergarten and welcome opportunities to learn and experience diverse cultures, family structure and languages. Parents and whānau are key to the very structure and operation of our Kindergarten. Being a communitybased (non-profit) Kindergarten means that parents are actively involved in our committee, and alongside the teachers’ shape and determine our curriculum and procedures.

The continuity between Kindergarten and school is well supported through familiarity with Hillcrest Normal Primary School environment, relationships with other children, transition processes and familiarity of teachers in both settings.

AKO Teaching & Learning


We see ourselves as a learning community. We all learn with, alongside and from each other.  Our environment is well resourced and the learning environment is organised to allow for small and large group experiences and interactions. There is a focus on real experiences (often re-visited) rather than one-off activities or events.

We want tamariki/children and kaiako/teachers to learn about nature in nature. We have a nature programme which involves weekly expeditions to an area of Hammond Park – a regionally significant remnant of indigenous forest adjacent to the Waikato River.

Kaiako/teachers share an enthusiasm and commitment to their own learning and professional development and bring their own passions and interests to the curriculum.  

Our pedagogy is inspired by the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki and the contributions of theorists such as Urie Bronfenbrenner, Lev Vygotsky,Jermone Bruner and New Zealand’s Dr. Rangimarie Rose Pere and Mason Drurie.

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