Nursery & Preschool

The image of the child 

“We know it is essential to focus on children and be child-centered, but we do not feel that is enough. We consider teachers and families as  central to the education of children. We therefore choose to place all three components at the center of our interest. Our goal is to build an amiable school, where children, teachers, and families all feel at home. Such a school requires careful thinking and planning concerning procedures, and interests.” 

Loris Malaguzzi

At the crux of our educational philosophy is our image of the child: an active and curious learner, capable of constructing their own knowledge and understanding of the world. They are not passive recipients of information but rather active participants in their own learning process. We value their innate sense of wonder, creativity, and natural inclination to explore and discover. 

“Young children are powerful, active, competent protagonists of their own growth: actors in their shared history, participants in society and culture, with the right to speak from their own perspective, and to act with others on the basis of their own particular experience and level of consciousness. All children seek identity, individuality, completion, and satisfaction through dialogue, interaction, and negotiation with others. Their contexts for action are ceaselessly changing, intersecting worlds of classroom, community, and culture, with adults nearby to serve as partners, resources, and guides.”

– Carolyn Edwards 

Every child is seen as resilient, confident and competent. We believe that children can express their own ideas, make independent choices, and are able to play and work well with others. In this concept resides our focus on the children’s autonomy and on the importance, we give to children’s opinions and choices.   

“Children (like poets, writers, musicians, scientists) are avid seekers and builders of images. Images can be used to make other images, passing through sensations, emotions, relationships, problems, fleeting theories, ideas about what is possible and coherent and about the apparently impossible and incoherent. 

The art of research dwells in the hands of children, and they are keenly sensitive to the pleasure of wonder.”

Loris Malaguzzi

The Environment as the Third Teacher 

At Aurora, the environment is recognised as the third teacher, playing a vital role in shaping the educational experience. Designed with a “home away from home” concept in mind, the school embraces repurposed and natural materials to create a nurturing and inspiring atmosphere. The intentional use of these materials not only promotes sustainability but also enhances the connection between our learners and their surroundings. The thoughtfully designed spaces allow for ample natural light and a smooth flow, creating an inviting and engaging environment conducive to learning and exploration.  

By considering the environment as a teacher, our school cultivates a space that supports and inspires learners, fostering their curiosity, creativity, and overall well-being. In addition to the carefully designed interior spaces, teachers at Aurora extend the idea of learning beyond the classroom walls, incorporating balconies, terraces, gardens, playgrounds, and cross-class collaborations into the educational experience. These opportunities for hands-on exploration, physical activity, and connection with nature, enrich learners’ understanding of the world and encouraging a sense of wonder and curiosity, they come to be firm in their beliefs that learning happens everywhere, and is not confined to the walls of a classroom. 

“We value space because of its power to organize, promote pleasant relationships among people of different ages, create a handsome environment, provide changes, promote choices and activity, and its potential for sparking all kinds of social, affective and cognitive learning. All of this contributes to a sense of wellbeing and security in children.”

Loris Malaguzzi

The 100 Languages 

“No way, 

The Hundred is there. 

…Children have a hundred hands, a hundred thoughts, a hundred ways of thinking, of playing, of speaking, of listening, of marveling and loving….” 

Loris Malaguzzi

We believe children can represent ideas and construct knowledge in a variety of symbolic and graphic modes. This approach emphasizes the importance of children’s symbolic language, conceptualized as the “100 languages”, where ideas and knowledge-building are expressed through many creative processes, such as speech, writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, construction, music, movement, and light and shadow exploration, to name a few. 

Our teachers observe and listen to the “100 Languages” children use to express themselves as individual learners and as “teachers”, facilitating opportunities for further investigation and learning. These investigations take the form of projects, where children actively participate, explore, and question the world around them.  

Our curriculum emerges through collaboration and a continuous dialogue between teachers and children as teachers observe, interpret, and document each child’s learning journey. They become researchers together. It is a curriculum that is accountable for learning in an authentic, emergent way, that is flexibly adjusted as children pursue extensive investigations of their world, guided by teachers who share their sense of adventure and amazement. Assessment is the process of observing, interpreting, and documenting what our children do, know, and understand. 

“Knowing where you are, where you find yourself, helps you to develop a sense of your own identity and your place in the world… Every place has its own spirit, its own past and its own aspirations.” 

– Jerome Bruner 

Te Whāriki :The Early Childhood Curriculum of New Zealand 

 Kotahi te kākano, he nui ngā hua o te rākau. A tree comes from one seed but bears many fruit.  

This whakataukī emphasises that in our commonality we are all different. In early learning we celebrate those differences while maintaining our relationship with each other 

“Te Whāriki encompasses the child in their uniqueness, as well as their being part of a whole. It reflects the child’s holistic development, and the effect of the total environment on that development. Te Whāriki also recognises the child as the living link to the past, the embodiment of the present, the hope of the future.” 

Tilly Reedy

The Early Childhood Curriculum of New Zealand, Te Whāriki, guides and influences our learning and teaching. Teachers look at the interests, strengths and needs of the children and the aspirations of the family. It supports every child to be strong in his or her identity, language, and culture. In Te Whāriki children are positioned as confident and competent learners from birth. They learn by engaging in meaningful interactions with people, places, and things – a process that continues throughout their lifetimes. 

Teachers observe children considering their interests, understandings, and aspirations when planning experiences and projects. Learning is flexible and responsive, evolving over time to children’s spontaneous and changing needs. Children have a strong disposition to explore and discover, so their natural curiosity is valued when teachers listen to their questions and ideas. 

‘Children are competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society’

– Te Whāriki: The Early Childhood Curriculum New Zealand 


Inquiry Based Learning 

At Aurora we decide, through pedagogical discussion amongst teachers each year, to decide upon a project that the entire school will research for the following year. Inquiry based learning provides many opportunities for children’s ideas to be valued, their creativity to be encouraged, their interests to be nurtured, and for their learning needs to be met. When engaged in a project, children gain knowledge and understanding by working for a long time investigating and responding to authentic, engaging, and complex questions, problems, and challenges. Inquiry based learning encourages critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. 

Teachers and children will start their investigations from open-ended questions, co-building knowledge together.  

Children are given many opportunities to work through their ideas. They are encouraged to depict their understanding of the world and their ideas through various representations. Working on long-term projects allows children and teachers to explore and investigate concepts together, and in doing so, develop creative intelligence, divergent thinking and improve problem-solving skills. 

We consider it essential to teach our children to inquire, as they consider and explore the many possible answers to the same question. At Aurora, we value the thought processes rather than the outcomes or results to be achieved. Children and teachers will leave for a journey of discovery, building the path as they go. 

 “The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences”

Loris Malaguzzi


Playful Pedagogy  

Play sets the foundation for the development of critical social and emotional knowledge and skills. Research consistently highlights the power of play in children’s learning and development. Through play, children learn to forge connections with others, to share, negotiate and resolve conflicts, and learn self-advocacy skills. Play is a fundamental value of our educational experience, for us, it is a language that supports discoveries and a better understanding of the world around us. Children are given the opportunity to develop this language and the other ninety-nine through play. 

“Our experience also confirms that children need a great deal of freedom: the freedom to investigate and to try, to make mistakes and to correct mistakes, to choose where and with whom to invest their curiosity, intelligence, and emotions. Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes, and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds, and colors. They need the freedom to realize how reason, thought, and imagination can create continuous interweaving of things, and can move and shake the world.”

Loris Malaguzzi