Kindy kids in touch with nature

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Winton Kindergarten children head to the woods for their nature-based learning experience. Photo: Laura Smith

WINTON kindergarten’s nature-based approach to learning has earned it a spot as a finalist in the 2019 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

With only 20 selected, the kindergarten is one of four in its category of “excellence in teaching and learning”.

Members of an independent judging panel of education experts will visit Winton Kindergarten on July 30.

Ministry of Education deputy secretary for early learning and student achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid said the finalists demonstrated outstanding teaching practices which made a big difference not just to learners, but to their whanau and the community.

“They are a great example of the amazing work that is happening in early learning services, kura and schools across the country. We look forward to hearing their stories at the awards ceremony and sharing them with the rest of New Zealand.”

For the past six years teachers at Winton Kindergarten have been taking children into the woods to learn in a natural environment. Teacher Christina Vaughan said they came prepared for all kinds of weather.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to teach in a supportive rural community and are just so overwhelmed by all the excitement and beautiful kind acknowledgments from our kindergarten whanau and the wider community.”

Winners from each category will receive $20,000 and a professional development opportunity. The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award will be selected from the four category winners.

It will be awarded to the early learning service, school or kura which has had the greatest influence on education outcomes and they will receive an additional $30,000 and an opportunity to represent New Zealand in an international education conference.

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