Routines and Rituals

The Gathering / Hui

Some centres treat ‘mat times’ as optional, allowing those who chose not to participate to engage in their own pursuits elsewhere, we worry however that something important about community building will be lost when some opt out, it’s a time to share as a group, a Pukekos community if you like. It’s an important part of ‘us’ all doing something together. Learning to take turns, listen to others points of view, sharing new discoveries, setting goals, planning.

Best of all is when you begin to see children during the rest of the day when we aren’t ‘expected’ to take turns, aren’t at the gathering or hui, but rather out there in the wider world of Pukekos, they gather around and engage productively together. You see them using the skills we’ve been practising at gathering times, coming together around something they care about, or are curious about, taking turns, making space for one another. This is how democracy is supposed to work. This is how community is built. And this is why we have gathering times, not because we need children to practice being ‘in meetings’, but rather because certain skills required to build a democratic community, skills based on fairness and empathy. When they gather around a workbench, or art table and organise themselves, especially in large groups, that’s when it’s no longer about our expectations, but rather it’s about theirs, which is the point about why we gather around.

Morning Tea / Afternoon tea.

It’s important to have nourishment when you have a busy morning or afternoon, and so as not to interrupt our adventures and discoveries, (you know yourself when you’re busy creating & doing something important you don’t want to be interrupted), our morning and afternoon teas are on offer to children who are invited to come and sit between certain times in the morning and afternoon to help themselves to the snacks provided for a quick bite to eat if they so wish. Water is on offer throughout the day, they can also help themselves to the water cooler.

Lunch Break

Time to all either sit at the tables or enjoy a picnic outdoors, or in a hut made that day etc. Children enjoy retrieving their own lunch boxes and food prepared at home for them. It is also a social time, to share tales of the adventures had. A teacher sits at each table or with each group discussing the adventures and discoveries they have enjoyed that morning and the where to next for the afternoon, and is there to assist if needed. We encourage children to have the all-important sandwiches or yoghurts before any special treats such as chips or biscuits. The teachers will be happy to share with your ideas for a healthy lunchbox, including our policies if you so wish.

Quiet Time

Young children need time apart from the busy centre environment to reflect and regroup. Small spaces to retreat to, removed from the stimulating hustle and bustle. Children are naturally drawn to small, comfy cosy spaces where they can be alone or with one or two others. These spaces also provide security. We are happy for children to take themselves off to a quiet spot to read, watch the clouds, work quietly on their own. It is also important for children who spend a full day/week with us to take some time to rest. After lunch and while others who have chosen to sleep, we provide a half hour in which we provide quiet cognitive games, story reading, or a lie down to listen to music for those children. It can be a long day for little ones!

Sleep / E Moe

All the children will have the opportunity to have a sleep/rest time early afternoon. They will have their own individual bed, and their own bedding that we provide (kept in their own named special bag). If they have a special one or you would prefer to provide them for your child you are most welcome.

During the rest/sleep time there is a staff member present & we do 5 minute checks on the children – which are recorded and available for you to see if needed anytime. The sleep chart is available for you to check what time your child went to sleep and how long they slept for. Please feel free to ask a teacher anytime if you have any questions on the sleeping policy of the centre. We do meet each individual child’s needs, and this includes their sleeping needs, therefore if they are tired or we feel they need a sleep we will offer it to the child. Sometimes this can be frustrating if you are having problems at home with sleeping, and please feel free to discuss your concerns with us, but please keep in mind that if your child is with us for a long day, they will more often than not need to have a sleep or rest to rejuvenate themselves for the afternoon ahead of them. Most of our children have a sleep or rest until they are ready to outgrow them themselves rather than us keep them awake.


Accidents are bound to happen - sometimes the clothing may slow them down (abandon all thoughts of overalls at this age unless you want to do a lot of washing), and other times, they’ll be so involved in a game they’ll delay taking a toilet break until it's too late. Don't stress about these little setbacks; after the initial excitement of being nappy-free, children often slide a little as the novelty wears off. It is important when they start they know how to find the toilet and to ask for help. Even successfully toilet-trained children often have accidents when they start a new routine, such as pre-school, because they're not clear when they should go to the toilet, or even if they're allowed to go. So we give gentle reminders to go to the toilet throughout the day.

Tidy Up

While it’s important to be able to return to the pirate ship being built, or waterway you’ve been constructing all day, it is equally as important that things are put away in the right place and that we learn to clean up after ourselves. By having things "in their place," children will learn to develop respect for cleanliness, and organisation. This also helps meet children's needs for security and stability because they know that they will always find their favourite equipment in the same place. This will also build your child's self-confidence and self-reliance.

Another benefit to having a place for all the items is that it will give children the ability to put everything away on their own because they know where everything goes. Children have a strong need to participate in life and within their social environment, so this is another opportunity to help enhance a child's self-confidence, self-reliance, and community-based, situation-centred thinking. Children gain an enormous sense of empowerment and fulfilment when they learn to do things on their own