The team-Kate Webber
I began teaching over 10 years ago now. I knew that I always loved working with kids because I just loved being a kid and loved playing. From early on in my teaching career I began to question the role of the teacher. Why was it that kids had to do only what I told them, why was I praising kids for sitting quietly at tables doing worksheets (Yes, I did ALL of those things). I remember the day when another teacher told me about ‘play’ and ‘learning through play’, and thinking - is that a real thing, can we do that?!? I jumped on this, and became obsessed, reading anything I could get my hands on, emailing other experts, going to see other schools, and enrolling in courses. The rest is history, because once you start reading the research about how play is vital in school, you can’t really ignore that kind of information and go back to the traditional way of teaching. I soon left my school feeling excited and ready for growth and new adventures. During that year I worked at an early childhood centre trying to pick up on the Pikler philosophy, and watching how the experts at learning through play do it. I also started a one day programme out west for kids to play outside in the trees all day. By this stage I couldn’t go back to being shut in a classroom. All that year, Ako was pulsating in the background waiting to begin with hurdle after hurdle to cross. And, here we are now, into term 2 at Ako. I pulled my kids out of their mainstream school and we are all together learning and growing in the Ako whanau. It’s been extremely hard and emotional, but fantastic and courageous at the same time!