Fathers day Gift ideas

Play Learn Grow – Whanaungatanga

It is about being connected. It is a respectful relationship through shared experiences and working together with Whanau, which provides a sense of belonging. Whanau is a principle, which binds individuals to the wider group and affirms the value of the collective.

Kaiako team come together on Monday to Friday to provide contexts for our tamariki learning development in Te reo and other different languages, identity, and experience Maori and other cultures. Each morning the team Kaiako and tamariki take lead in our Whanaungatanga mat time. We share waiata, poems, hand action, and whole-body movements, especially listening to their voices sharing special news from their whanau, or any other achievements they have accomplished e.g., Toilet training, a proud moment for our tamariki and saying Karakia together. We share new things we have discovered, making these moments, happy and always having fun.

Whanaungatanga Mat Time In Pukeko Whanau

We start the day, by welcoming all Tamariki and Kaiako to Pukeko Whanau, using all the different culture greeting, eg, Ni Hao Ma!. We sing waiata: Mōrena tamariki mā, Tēnā koe/ hello to one, poem: Hammer hammer hammer, Kaiako will ask a question to the tamariki for any volunteer to sing waiata of their choice. Kaiako will ask another question to another volunteer, to share good news from home or a Kaiako to share good news within the center. After the sharing, we wash our hands and sit on the chair at a table , to say our Kaiakia for our kai time.


Mōrena Tamariki mā               Tena Koe Hello to one                            Pati pati pati pati tamaiti e          

Tamariki mā x2                           Tena Ko rua Hello to two                      Pati pati pati pati tamaiti e          

Mōrena Tamariki mā               Tena Koutou Hello to all                        Siva siva siva siva tamaiti e

Tamariki mā x2                           Haere mai everyone                                Siva siva siva siva tamaiti e,



Hammer, hammer, hammer                Hāmā, hāmā, hāmā                    Samala, samala,samala

Shake, shake, shake                                 Rūrū, rūrū, rūrū                          Lulu, lulu, lulu                             

Roll, roll roll                                                 Pīrori ,pīrori,pīrori                    Taavili, taavili, taavili

Tap, tap, tap,                                                Pāngū , pāngū, pāngū                              Pati, pati, pati

Clap, clap clap                                             Paki, paki, paki                                           Po, po, po


Sharing time: Show and tell good news.

Tamariki wash hands ready for Kai Time.

Easy Origami

Origami is a fun activity that our staff and children love to do at Play Learn Grow. It is great way to introduce craft at home and it does not involve too much mess! Depending on the age of your pre schooler you can involve your child in the whole process, or at the end when they get to colour it in. Either way they will love to see the animals come to life, and it’s a very calming activity for parents folding the paper! All you need is a square piece of paper, some colouring in pencils or crayons, and a marker or pen.

2 Toddler Friendly recipes

We love cooking at Play Learn Grow, and our Tamariki enjoy getting involved in the process!  In our Tui room (our 4-year-old room) we even have a specially designed open plan kitchen so our children can watch and participate at mealtime.  Our Kelston Centre has a dedicated transition programme for our 4–5-year-olds so that they can prepare for school in the best possible way.  This does not just mean academic development, but personal and social development too which leads to active engagement in everyday home life.

Luckily you don’t need to be brave for these 2 recipes!  You can make these at home with your toddlers or pre-schoolers no problem.   Both are delicious and the muffins are good to freeze and use for morning or afternoon tea time.

Chocolate Bubble Slice (a kiwi favourite!)

250g vegetable shortening (I use Coconut oil)

1 cup icing sugar

¼ cup cocoa

4 cups of rice bubbles or cornflakes (or 2 cups of each)

1 cup of desiccated coconut

Melt the vegetable shortening in a medium sauce pan

Sift the icing sugar & cocoa and add to the saucepan

Mix well then add the rice bubbles/cornflakes and the coconut

Stir everything together

Line a square /rectangle dish with baking paper then add the mixture, pressing it down firmly.

Let it set in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Slice into pieces and share with the neighbours 😊

Easy Cheesy Muffins

Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2 cups of self-raising flour

2 cups tasty cheese

1 ½ cups of milk

Grease a 12 x muffin tray (or 24 mini muffins which I use)

Mix all the ingredients together

Spoon the mixture into muffin cases

Let cook for 10 – 12 minutes (until golden on top)

*You can add anything to these muffins to give them some extra flavour:

chopped ham/bacon/capsicum/ spinach/salt & pepper/paprika

Enjoy 😊

Sensory Play and Why It Is Important

At Play Learn Grow ECE we care so much about child development. The first five (5) years of life are the most critical in the development of a person. Therefore it is vital that the right activities are chosen for children.

This is why we are so saddened to see most other ECE centres not understanding this, and failing to appreciate the senses of pre-schoolers need stimulation, as this is learning and understanding.

At Play Learn Grow we use our vast experience and skillset to train children with sensory play. This starts right at the beginning when children cannot talk with our amazing Kiwi room for under 2 year olds, which is a Centre of Excellence that everyone is talking about the incredible experiences, nurturing and comfort they get. Our babies get exposed to items that are cold like ice, sticky and wet. This is of course age appropriate from our expert teachers.

Then the Pukeko room (predominantly two and three year olds) has some of the greatest kaiako (teachers) in Aoteoroa (New Zealand) in demonstrating sensory play. The Play Learn Grow philosophy is about delivering the best education to children to get the best results, as our pre-schoolers are our future, and they deserve the best. Whaea Shannon has a mastery of sensory play and as room leader has found the children love the increased exposure to items, as warm and hot things are introduced along with a multitude of fabrics and surfaces. With her expert team Shannon is able to introduce and build vocabulary in conjunction with these sensory experiences for the children. As a result the learning foundation is so strong, and the understanding the children get is reinforced through repetition in a fun way. This is just one reason why Play Learn Grow are the go to ECE Centre in West Auckland.

The Tui room (mainly over 4 year olds) have teachers that are able to work towards more complex tasks, where they strengthen language development, cultural identity, supporting brain development, cognitive growth and improving problem-solving skills. Rainbow rice can be lots of fun in sensory play – look at the amazing colour experience before they get mixed into the cupcake holders as the sounds of the rice dropping stimulates the ears, whilst improving critical fine motor skills.

Bird’s-eye view of a sensory bin. Inside, rice and other materials are arranged in rainbow order. Materials include popsicle sticks, baking papers, feathers, and straws—all in multiple colors—as well as clear cups, and a yellow tray holding colorful shape cutouts.

The transformation we see in our children from Play Learn Grow’s Sensory Development is amazing and gets rave reviews from Year 1 (and Year 0) Primary School Teachers.

Sensory Play: How To Guide

We have a large container called a sensory bin. This gives our preschoolers space to explore, suss out, feel the texture, measure it with their hands. Anxiety is reduced for the kids as they know the sensory bin can get messy – no worries!

In these strange Covid times it is doubly important to remember to wash your hand properly on both sides, between the fingers and thumbs too. This is to avoid spreading germs.

Whānau without the experience of our kaiako need to be aware when providing a sensory bin that younger children often like to put everything in their mouth to explore their sense of taste, so be very careful that things are okay to injest and remember small items can create a choking hazard. Supervision is required! We do things like putting cold water into the sensory bin. Then warm water. Then ice, and give it to them to feel it in their hands. Watch the look on their face. Hopefully they say cold, but otherwise teach them the word by saying cold to enhance the learning opportunity through sensory play.

We have multiple sensory bins, and realise some children do not like getting messy with other children, even their siblings! In addition at Play Learn Grow ECE we also have sensory boards with different textures for learning experiences.

Consider a sand (or salt) tray where you can write letters as the sand moves away, draw shapes. Your child can feel the sand and enhance learning experiences in a different and fun way.

Quick reminder: Just remember if you are going to get messy to dress your kids appropriately or wear an apron (or smock) to keep them clean.

Besides cleaning up together than be fun too. Making bubbles with soap or gentle cleaning products with warm running water just continues the sensory experiences, enhancing neural pathways to trigger and stimulate brain development.

You will be like us and notice the sensory activities your own children enjoy. With education one of the best things to do is having fun. Children are very smart and even if they don’t say it they pick up on your mood and energy (or lack of) levels. So be ware of this and their fast growing minds. And most importantly let them have fun!

Sensory Play Conclusion

Life is not a rehearsal whānau! If your child is not getting all of these teachings with sensory, then why are you settling for second best? You and your child deserves the best. Contact us on the online form now to connect with experience. Enquire about sensory play and your child’s individual learning plan with the best in the west at Play Learn Grow ECE.

Setting a creative environment

Setting a creative environment in Early Childhood, will empower our tamariki through Play by exploring and putting their imagination into action, and strengthens the emotions during and after transitions. Tamariki can experiment and be introduced to working in groups to share and use materials together in new and innovate ways.

This will create and develop concentration, practicing skills especially fine motor skills, a sense of belongings, and to have the ability to solve problems and confidence to take risks. To understand concepts, shapes colours, numbers, say one or two more words, using self-expressions in lots of fun, enjoyment with different activities set up. For example: messy play, painting, gloop, water and play dough.

The purpose of this is that our tamariki gain new skills by understanding and achieving good positive behaviours and will continue to influence their learning throughout life.

Ministry of Education (2017) says that Providing a rich environment for the tamariki where they are able to see themselves as explorers.