A Paradise for Kids in the city to enjoy outdoor excursions and farm life is a new passion project for early childhood teacher Kelly Dickens.
Purchasing the old Salford Preschool in November last year, she went about transforming the centre into a ‘paradise’ where children make more of their own decisions about experiences.
Regular trips to Kelly’s 14-acre lifestyle block where there are sheep, ducks, dogs, pigs and cows are always popular, and this is the centre’s point of difference – offering children excursions over and above the normal preschool experiences.
“This has been a passion of mine for years. It’s about allowing kids to be kids. To give them the room and freedom to explore nature.”
The centre is licensed for up to 47 children, and there is space becoming available for new families shortly, particularly for under twos and in the afternoons.
In the spring there will be new opportunities for the children to feed the lambs and calves out on the farm, “and take responsibility for them. We’ve already started collecting scraps daily at lunchtime and taking them out to the pigs,” she said.
Other excursions in the big van Kelly purchased for the ‘Paradise for Kids’ centre include a weekly trip to the Invercargill gym, local parks, as well as library visits, and just incorporating extra experiences into their daily lives.
“It’s all still a work in progress, but the staff are really supportive and are loving all of the changes.
“We have an awesome team of supportive and passionate teachers that work hard daily to ensure the best learning experiences are offered to our children.”