Our teaching approach
Bear Park combines intimate community relationships, New Zealand’s Te Whāriki curriculum, and the globally respected educational philosophy of Reggio Emilia, to form a progressive solution to learning which we base our teaching approach on.
We put lots of effort into crafting spaces that are thoughtful in layout and rich on variety. The design of our centres consider both the individual, and the group, using materials which steer children away from a pre-determined outcome. Many of the Bear Park teaching centres were previously family homes or purpose-built buildings that have been transformed to suit our philosophy. The feeling of family life is something we seek to extend in each of our centres, with both warm and inviting indoor spaces and wild, explorative outdoor areas. All teachers have a wealth of resources at their disposal to heighten the learning experiences in their classroom.
2. Professional Development.
Working at Bear Park is a career move. We are widely known as a place where teachers can embrace individual learning opportunities. These range from overseas experiences and conferences with Reggio Emilia, to workshops and regular support through Bear Park’s Pedagogical Team. Our teachers are encouraged to test out newly learned theories and concepts in the classroom. Those who have recently graduated, and are provisionally registered teachers, are also fully supported on the journey towards full teacher registration.
3. Community connection and big picture thinking.
Bear Park is a family business that was founded by Sue Stevely-Cole in 1986. Sue still works passionately in her director role and is closely involved in the interview process for prospective supervisors at Bear Park. As a teacher here, you directly benefit from working in an individually owned and operated centre, while still benefiting from being part of the wider Bear Park group, and its close partnerships with the internationally recognised Reggio Children Organisation.
4. Quality planning time.
Our teachers are provided with three hours of quality non-contact planning time each week to encourage collaboration and idea sharing with their teaching team away from the classroom. Another key aspect for our teaching approach.
5. Teacher ratios.
Our teacher ratios surpass national standards. Under one year olds have a ratio of 1:3 and the 1-2 year olds have a ratio of 1:4, as opposed to the Ministry of Education requirement of 1:5. The over 2’s have a ratio of 1:7, where the requirement is usually 1:10 for this age group.
The benefits of this include:
» Greater opportunities for one on one time with children
» A more supportive teaching environment
» Proactive and stimulating childcare
» Small groups to encourage in-depth learning experiences
» On the floor mentoring by other experienced teachers