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Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

John Dewey

There are four broad principles at the centre of the New Zealand early childhood curriculum.

The curriculum empowers the child to learn and grow.

Holistic Development: 
The curriculum reflects the holistic way children learn and grow.

Family and Community: 
The wider world of family and community is an integral part of the early childhood curriculum.

Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places, and things. The strands and goals of the curriculum arise from the principles. Each strand embodies an area of learning and development that is woven into the daily programme at Poppies and has its own associated goals for learning. There are five strands:

  1. Well-being - Mana Atua
  2. Belonging - Mana Whenua
  3. Contribution - Mana Tangata
  4. Communication - Mana Reo
  5. Exploration - Mana Aotùroa


"The health and well being of the child are protected and nurtured." At Poppies we consider all children have a right to health, to protection from harm and anxiety, and to harmony, consistency, affection, firmness, warmth and sensitivity. Young children thrive on as much consistency and continuity of experience as possible in order to develop confidence and trust to explore and to establish a secure foundation of remembered and anticipated people, places, things and experiences.

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"Children and their families feel a sense of belonging at Poppies" We endeavour for Poppies to be an extension of a caring home, a place offering a broader range of learning experiences; a secure and safe place where each member is respected and being well cared for.

We encourage parents to become involved with their childrens' lives at poppies and provide opportunities for them to meet each other.


"At Poppies, opportunities for learning are equitable and each child's contribution is valued." Children's development occurs through active participation in activities. Collaboration with the teachers and with other children plays a central role in this development. The Poppies programme recognises, acknowledges and builds on each child's special strengths and allows the child to make a contribution, acknowledging that he/she has the right to active and equitable participation in the community. Making a contribution includes developing satisfying relationships with adults and peers.


"At Poppies, the languages and symbols for a child's own and other cultures are promoted and protected." Language is a vital part of communication. In early childhood, one of the major cultural tasks for children is to develop competence in and understanding of language. We believe that language does not consist only of words, sentences, and stories, it includes the language of images, art, dance, drama, mathematics, movement, rhythm, and music.


"The Poppies children learn through active exploration of the environment." All aspects of the environment - the natural, social, physical, and material worlds - are part of the context of learning. Exploration incorporates some of the strategies which enable young children to explore, learn from, and make sense of the world. Implicit in the concept of the child as explorer is the importance of respect for the environment.