Q&A with Saint Kentigern Preschool Principal, Nikki Joyce: What parents are asking about preschool

 Being a new parent can be overwhelming, however, as many parents will tell you, time flies and before you know it your baby will be a toddler and ready for the next part in their development — preschool! Nikki Joyce, Principal of Saint Kentigern Preschool, provides some valuable early learning insights.

Speaking to parents about their child's future at preschool is a really rewarding part of my job, and there are some common questions that arise. I thought I would share them here to help you and your family prepare for your precious bundle's education.

Q: Why should we think about preschool earlier rather than later?

Preschool provides the most important start to your child’s education, with skills developed during this time that will set up your child for not only a life-long love of learning, but also to understand how to work in a democratic society. Learning how to learn and to enjoy playing and working with others at such a young age, ensures that children develop an innate desire to continue to learn throughout their lives.

Q: We like the idea of preschool, but how does it benefit our child?

Saint Kentigern Preschool offers many advantages to a child’s development and education: building skills, critical thinking, collaboration, listening to others’ ideas and an understanding of how to hypothesise, research and learn.

Natural play areas allow young children to really tap into their imagination

Q: Family values are really important to us, I'm interested to know if your align...

Saint Kentigern’s values of respect, integrity, service, excellence and love are discussed with children each day. Values are absorbed by children as much as they are taught, which further emphasises the fact that both parents and teachers have a role to play in modelling positive behaviours and expectations. Through practising and talking about our values, children gain a solid foundation of a good moral character as well as guiding their sense of right and wrong.

WHAT PARENTS SAY: "We loved the strong sense of belonging to the whole school community our girls gained from attending Saint Kentigern Preschool. This connection helped with a seamless start to school."

Q: Should we be mindful of quality teaching and ask about this?

Yes, definitely. Our teachers are all qualified with a Bachelor of Education, and are passionate educators who appreciate the power that education plays in life. Our teachers are always learning, and through our ongoing professional development programme, teachers embrace opportunities to further extend their own understanding – including researching better ways to teach children and exploring new and innovative ideas to introduce to daily teaching practice.

Q: If I'm away from my child all day, how can I still connect with them?

At Saint Kentigern, we ensure that a child and their parents feel completely comfortable with the staff and the environment at the Preschool before their child starts. This means taking the time to visit as many times as necessary where parents and children can build a trusting relationship with the teachers and children already at the Preschool. We also talk each day with parents about what their child has been doing, and encourage them to discuss these experiences with their child at home. We post a blog each day on the Saint Kentigern Online Portal, where parents love to read and comment, and where we document each child’s learning journey during their time at Preschool.

WHAT PARENTS SAY: "Strong values are important to us as a family and this was one of the many reasons we chose Saint Kentigern Preschool."

Q: How do you (and us) prepare preschoolers for school?

Our preschoolers are lucky to be able to experience life at our Girls’ School on the same campus, or Boys’ School at Shore Road, Remuera many times before they start school. Opportunities such as joining into school events with the older girls and boys, spending time in the junior classrooms, using the gymnasium, and having the teachers visit the Preschool all ensure the transition to school is smooth. We also work hard to ensure that our curriculum flows into the junior school curriculum at the Girls’ School and Boys’ School, so children are capable and confident when they start. Having such a strong relationship with our Saint Kentigern Girls’ School and Boys’ School, we understand how to prepare children for what will be expected of them, which makes the transition much easier and less disruptive to their ongoing learning.

Saint Kentigern teacher with students

Opportunities such as joining into school events with the older girls and boys, spending time in the junior classrooms, using the gymnasium, and having the teachers visit the Preschool all ensure the transition to school is smooth.

Register now

Quality preschools often have years-long waiting lists. You can register your child for Saint Kentigern Preschool up to three years ahead of entry, so your family doesn't miss out. Following receipt, you and your child will be invited for an interview in an informal and friendly setting in the year prior to entry. Register now at Saint Kentigern.  Saint Kentigern Preschool in Remuera Auckland, is part of the Saint Kentigern family of schools and is a high quality especially developed preschool education environment for children aged 3 and 4.

Originally published in BUMP&baby Magazine issue #12

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