Fostering their team’s own personal and professional development is vital to the growth and development of the Gems environment, and providing meaningful PD which reflects our philosophies and enhances their teaching practices is overseen by Tash Doyle, their multitalented Curriculum Coordinator.
Working with recognized New Zealand educators the team consistently develop and refine their practice to ensure the standard of care they provide their tamariki is consistent, meaningful and heartfelt. Last August saw the team host New Zealand renowned educator Natasha Kibble in a full day workshop at their Shotover Country centre. Nelson based Natasha’s teachings based on Pikler and Reggio philosophies mirror those they uphold at Gems.
Respectful caregiving, nurturing relationships and the importance of rituals were the key touchstones for the weekend, and the importance of nurturing relationships with the children in their care forms the basis of their Primary Care practice. Relationships nurture the brain, connecting emotional responsiveness and developing a self-image that will bring joy and pleasure with lifelong learning. These relationships, coexisting with respectful care, create an environment where children feel safe and secure to explore and develop at their own pace.
Natasha teaches that the way we are touched, handled and cared for is the way we will be with others, and the way we are listened to and understood is how we feel about ourselves. Creating an environment which nurtures nature and allowing children to be surrounded by beauty where the soul grows, resonated with the Gems team and their love of a natural aesthetic, both in their indoor and outdoor environment.
A harmonious environment creates space for children to initiate their own learnings, have quiet contemplative space to chill out, all in their own time, unhurried and peaceful. Spaces where play is structured by the child, which in turn allows for emotionally willing and interested children, creates a natural environment that fosters freedom, awe and wonder.
While there is always the important focus on the needs and relationships of the children, Natasha also highlighted the importance of practicing our own self-care. What have we been doing to look after our own wellbeing? We need to be the best that we can be, so we can in turn model to the children how to do it.
Reflecting on Natasha’s message the Gems team can be justifiably proud of the level of care and commitment they bring daily to their practice. Heartfelt thanks goes to Natasha for her time, expertise and inspiration.