Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Ataria, I grew up in the winterless Far North! Bear Park was the first centre I committed to full time after graduating, taking on a teaching position in the Kea Room in Hobsonville. I have since moved into the Tui Room and am loving it! A fun fact about me – I love board games and try to play new ones with my friends as often as I can!

What do you enjoy most about working at Bear Park?

I am encouraged to share my ideas with colleagues who are passionate, creative, receptive, and of course, great fun to be around.

How has Bear Park helped you to grow professionally and develop your skills in ECE?

There are some pretty incredible role models at Bear Park from whom I have learned invaluable skills, especially related to Reggio Emilia.

What do you think makes Bear Park stand out from other centres?

The environments are beautifully presented, reflecting the pride the teachers’ take in their rooms, provocations, and documentation. There is also an emphasis on prioritising connection with community and whanau, as well as between staff. It makes you really feel like an important part of a wider community.

Can you tell us about how Bear Park’s philosophy resonates with you?

At the core of my personal teaching philosophy is the strong belief that every child has an unlimited capacity for learning and endless potential. I want to give tamariki the tools to explore and utilise that potential, to foster their passion for learning, as well as their understanding of themselves in the context of the world around them, and to know without doubt that they are capable, competent, and valued.

My initial perspective of the Bear Park philosophy was that it aligned closely with my personal beliefs, and in working here I have come to see that it has also helped me to extend upon my own philosophy, and place more value on facilitating strong relationships with the world around them.

How have you seen the children at Bear Park benefit from your teaching, and the environment?

I am endlessly proud of the way that the tamariki in my room and centre respond to my passion for sharing Māori culture. I believe strongly that has been my greatest impact on the tamariki and centre.

What have been some of your most memorable experiences at Bear Park?

There have been loads! One that really stands out is one morning when I opened the doors to go outside and the tamariki of my room rushed past me to go and hug one of the trees, greeting it like an old friend. They do this every single morning now, whenever we open the door for the first time that day.

If I had to pick another, I think it would be the first time one of the Kea tamariki that I started with and then followed through into the Tui Room left for school. I got to see so much growth and change and was there to support them through it, all the way. Needless to say, it was a teary farewell.

How have you seen Bear Park evolve over time?

Even in only the last few years, I have had the pleasure of seeing a real commitment to extending understanding of te ao Māori, and actively seeking ways to share that with the staff.

What do you find most rewarding about working at Bear Park?

It has to be working with, and seeing the tamariki flourish and thrive in a setting so devoted to fostering their inherent passion for exploration and growth. There is nothing quite so rewarding as being an active part of the learning journeys of so many wonderful young minds, and doing what I can to help cement a love for lifelong learning.

If you could describe Bear Park in one word what would it be?


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