Close up of young girl reading a book about nature, exploring in the Glen Eden community



Community is a big word that can mean a lot of different things. In my experience in early childhood education, community is the intersection of the people connected with your service and the place itself. The Our Kids community is integrally connected with the Glen Eden community, geographically, socially and even historically.

Building whanaungatanga with your community is the foundation of place-based learning for us at Our Kids. This includes our relationships with our whānau, our neighbours, our local library, pet shop, grocer and community centre. This also includes our relationships to the whenua (land) our centre sits on, the ngahere (bush), awa (rivers), and maunga (mountains) which border it, and the history of these places.

At Our Kids we are growing our whanaunga (ways of being in relation) with Waikumete (the stream that runs near our centre). We visit the nature reserve regularly. Sometimes we visit with a particular inquiry or idea to explore in mind, other times we visit just to be with Papatūānuku, Tāne Mahuta, Parawhenuamea and Hinerauwhārangi (spiritual dimensions of the earth, forest and fresh water). Our tamariki have regular and ongoing opportunities to explore their role in the ecology of our place.

Children from our Glen Eden childcare centre outside the local pet store.

We are also growing our whanaunga with the people in our community. We visit the local pet shop (Pet Shop Boyz), whenever we need supplies for our ika (fish). We visit the local coffee shop (Coffix) to get coffee sacks which we repurpose in lots of different ways in play. We take trips to the Glen Eden Library. Sometimes we attend the libraries programmes when they connect to our interests and current learning trajectories. Other times we visit to research something we have deep questions about, and other times we go to enjoy being surrounded by stories.

Children from Glen Eden daycare exploring nature

This year we have started to build whanaunga with the Glen Eden community centre. Our tamariki attended and performed in the 2020 Glen Eden Community Christmas Party. The tamariki were excited and proud to be part of this event. These kinds of connections with the Glen Eden community enrich our learning opportunities every day. The concept of tūrangawaewae literally means ‘a place to stand’. Its deeper meaning speaks to the right to stand somewhere and feel like you belong. This is the meaning of community we strive to build for and with our tamariki at Our Kids in Glen Eden.

Glen Eden Community Christmas Concert with Our Kids children.
Emma Parangi, Head Teacher & Centre Manager at Our Kids Early Learning Glen Eden.

Emma Parangi

Masters of Education

Centre Manager at Our Kids Glen Eden & Onehunga

Emma Parangi has been an early childhood teacher for over a decade.
She is passionate about bicultural pedagogy and practice, and fostering connections to te taio (nature) with tamariki.

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