We have been a Chapel Hill Kindergarten family since January 2012, shortly after arriving in New Zealand. At the time we didn't have a car and it was within walking distance so we never looked anywhere else... After our very first visit we knew we had completely lucked out with the location we'd chosen, as it was instantly obvious that CHK was an extremely special place with wonderful teachers who are changing lives every day...
Chapel Hill is a Christian Kindergarten that provides excellent quality education which helps prepare children for school. It is a very safe, nurturing, stimulating and exciting environment for them where they are challenged physically, creatively as well as spiritually to become wondrous learners and to grow as thoughtful little individuals. As a kindergarten they are extremely community focused and their involvement with parents, families and local places helps strengthen the relationships all round. The open door policy means you are welcome to pop in for a visit at any time or stay and get creative with your child if you like. There are multiple nations represented at CHK which makes for a wonderfully mixed, global environment for kids to grow up in, knowing that they are all the same. The different cultural days, national holidays and shared lunches are all testament to the fact that the staff respect and honour the values, customs and traditions of all families and are inclusive of all children regardless of gender, race, culture, religion or social background.
They have a fabulous safe and secure outdoor area for the kids to play, explore, discover and test out new skills as well as shady spots where they can quietly participate in more creative activities in the open air. There are various little adventure trails, a veggie garden and the latest addition - 5 chickens: Maisy, Daisy, Rosie, Bessie & Susie!
Inside there are several areas for different activities... Crafting and activity stations, a very extensive play kitchen with lots of lovely handmade felt items, a dress up area, story corner, play dough table and a mat room with fish tanks, bricks, blocks, train sets, toy animals, musical instruments, science experiment equipment and all kinds of other treasures! Another new addition to the kindy family of pets is a turtle - now called Frankie.
The walls and ceilings display an ever evolving array of truly amazing artwork and crafts that the children have made, creating a visual feast for both children and parents. It is lovely for them to be able to take pride in their achievements by having them displayed on the walls, or to work together in a little team on a large shared project.
They also have a kitchen area that sees numerous baking delights come to life. Children love baking and cooking... helping to prepare ingredients and practising using different tools, measuring, mixing, shaping, rolling, forming shapes and decorating of course are all wonderful skills for them to learn and this is an activity that every single one of them enjoys! The sense of responsibility they are given is great for their development and the personal satisfaction of being able to enjoy something they have created themselves is priceless. Chapel Hill even brought out their own cookbook a couple of years ago...
Throughout the year the children get to learn about and explore loads of fabulous topics that all amplify their love of learning and wonder for the world around them. They have themed weeks and months that always include stories, activities, artwork, projects, experiments and occasionally trips out or dress up days. To name just a few themes our girls have studied: the weather, the solar system, bugs, underwater creatures, zoo and farm animals, plant life, recycling, paper-making, birds, vehicles, movement and motion, art history, architecture, bridges, science experiments, Christmas and its true meaning, Matariki, Waitangi Day and Chinese New Year...
Whatever topics are currently being explored, they are always supported with lots of artwork and creativity. It seems a prerequisite that all of the teachers are extremely artistic and creative! Some of the pieces that have come home have been absolutely frame or display worthy - I can hardly believe the amount of treasures we have around the house from our time at CHK, thanks guys! We have participated in two art auctions in the last few years and some of the pieces that the teachers and children created together, as well as each child's individual artwork were truly phenomenal. I truly believe that inspiring creativity in children and getting them involved artistically is one of the best possible gifts they can get in life. It teaches so many other skills, helps with dexterity and coordination, opens up their minds and helps them to solve other problems in creative ways.
Inspired by more artwork than we could possibly save, frame or fit on the wall, we decided to make a digital version of all of the wonderful work our number one daughter created during her time at Chapel Hill. We'll do the same for our youngest once she leaves and they'll have something they can always treasure... (instructions to follow on the Projects page when we do the next one!)
Chapel Hill wouldn't be the special place it is without the truly amazing, wonderfully creative, thoughtful and inspiring teachers and staff that run it. Some of them have become like family to us over the years and we are so overwhelmingly grateful for everything they have done for both of our daughters, as well as for us as a family. We have happy memories and beautiful artwork that we will always treasure. Our girls have absolutely loved their years at their "home away from home" and I can hardly believe how lucky they've been to have both spent their preschool years at CHK. I couldn't have wished for anything better for them!
We thank you for your kindness, we thank you for your creativity and we thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for nurturing, inspiring and above all loving our children. We will miss you all dearly but will always remember you fondly.
Lots of Love,
Holly, Simon, Arabella & Lucy x