Magic Kingdom launches with a breakthrough innovation in NZ childcare & education.
Daily teaching and learning at Magic Kingdom follow the New Zealand Early Childhood Education curriculum (like most other centres). However the owners of Magic Kingdom recognized the need for parents to have early cues to identify, understand and visualise how and what skills and interests were emerging with their children. They wanted an easier understanding of the curriculum than what was available in literature and the Ministry of Education’s website.
“What we really wanted to know as parents were certainly all the high level learning outcomes in the curriculum like the teaching and learning principles, strands and goals being achieved by our child, but we also wanted to know early practical indicators of what skills were emerging in our child”, says centre owner Nikeeta Singh.
“The concept of skills, dispositions and interests gave us as parents a more intuitive and practical sense of understanding where our child was in terms of development and furthermore, it gave us a good sense of what we could do at home to reinforce, explore, and encourage those emerging areas”.
This is when their patent pending invention of “Learning RootsTM” & “Learning ShootsTM” was launched.
The model is based on the clever idea that:
1. “roots” are the invisible part of a tree that: a) are hidden within (i.e. emerging interests, skills, etc), b) absorb nutrients (i.e. learning from teachers, family and environment), and c) hold the foundations steady for growth of the entire tree.
2. “shoots” are the visible part that reveal the fruits, flowers, leaves, branches (i.e. the visible outcomes of learning and in particular which directions the skills and learning branches are growing in).
Magic Kingdom has launched a new web based tool that allows parents (with secure password access) to visualise their child’s entire portfolio and learning outcomes in a holistic manner. Each branch represents a learning skill in the NZ curriculum and each leaf can be clicked to open up your child’s learning story – organised chronologically for easy communication and tracking. Presently, learning stories provided by most Early Childhood Education centres are filed in hard copy inside a folder for the child and parents to view. Some centres also make portfolios accessible online (as is the case at Magic Kingdom too), but these centres usually have a long list of learning stories for parents and family to view and it is often difficult for parents to connect learning from months ago with the present.
As well as viewing learning stories each month that automatically link the learning to general curriculum outcomes, Magic Kingdom’s teachers are going the extra step to also identify the curriculum’s specific learning skills, dispositions etc. Parents are also able to thread all of these skills and interests together throughout the child’s time at the centre to enable them to visualise the emerging developments in a single view using this new tool.
Parents can now, for the first time, visualise the entire portfolio of their child in a single evolving diagram each week and month as their child learns and develops interests and skills during their most crucial early years. This proprietary software has parents, teachers, ECE centres, university researchers, and even the Ministry of Education showing interest.
“A useful and innovative framework for documenting children’s learning, interests, next steps and life contexts has been established, which includes child and parent voice.’ NZ Education Review Office, March 2012.
Apart from this innovation, Magic Kingdom is all set to become the most eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable childcare centres in NZ.
Buried underneath the playground is Magic Kingdom’s massive 30,000L rainwater recycling tank that pumps back treated rainwater for all laundry, toilets and gardening needs. It is so big that the tank could not be transported and so had to be built on site!
On the roof is Magic Kingdom’s array of solar panels which produces electricity for the centre. Children can see a digital graph on a display wall and see how much electricity they have produced each day and match that with sunny and cloudy days. The community will also benefit in the long run since Magic Kingdom will continue to produce electricity for the public grid on weekends.
“A lot of organisations claim to be sustainable, but often it’s like saying they are a little bit married” says Nikeeta. “I think it’s an all-or-nothing approach and we want our Magic Kingdom children to start life knowing nothing less than a standard of living in which we save all our rainwater and produce our own electricity freely and cleanly from the sun”.
For more information about enrolling call Nikeeta Singh or Dr Darius Singh on 0800 MAGIC KINGDOM or visit the new website http://www.magickingdom.co.nz
The grand open day is Saturday, 14 July at 12pm.