Just as whānau have been choosing kindergarten to give tamariki the very best start for over 100 years, early childhood teachers have been drawn to it, too. In recent decades, as Kidsfirst has gone from strength-to-strength and its reputation as an employer has grown, positions within the network have become highly sought after, too.
Every year, we receive dozens of applications from prospective teachers and head office staff, and there are so many reasons why:
We are kindergarten
Kindergarten is one of the longest established, yet most progressive, forms of early childhood education in New Zealand. With firm community roots and a not-for-profit status, the kindergarten focus is where it should be: on the children and families it exists for. Some of New Zealand’s finest and most respected teachers are proud to be kindergarten trained. Many get so much satisfaction out of their work that they stay with kindergarten their entire working lives. We are at the heart of the communities we work in – right alongside the local school, doctor, midwife, library, and Plunket rooms.
We’re proudly Kidsfirst
When you join the Kidsfirst family you join a network of educators with a fierce commitment to just one bottom line: excellence in early childhood education. Nearly 70 kindergartens across Canterbury, Central Otago, and the West Coast offer working environments as diverse as they come, with hours to suit local communities. We are not about making money for offshore investors or lining the pockets of corporate shareholders. Kidsfirst’s ‘profit’ is measured solely in the wealth of educational outcomes we build in the families and communities we work with. Each of our kindergartens has its own unique flavour, responding to the unique needs of the community it serves. One thing you won’t find at Kidsfirst is cookie-cutter centres. We’re networked and we’re resourced.
Our bicultural commitment is more than just a knowledge of te reo. In our centres, every kaiako has an appreciation and understanding of Te Ao Māori, as well as learning opportunities that bring new knowledge to our tamariki. Our kaiako Māori group focuses on bringing Te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori to every aspect of our learning, teaching, and day-to-day practice.
Whānau and community connections
Participation is one of the hallmarks of kindergarten - we’re built on the generosity, contributions and involvement of generations of whānau, caregivers, supporters, and neighbours. Our kindergartens sit proudly at the heart of communities, and are an integral part of day-to-day life. Because we have been around so long, we now welcome the children, and even grand-children, of past tamariki.
Your qualifications mean something here
Kindergarten offers pay parity with primary teachers, but there are so many other reasons why this is a great place to be a teacher. Professional excellence has always been at the heart of Kidsfirst. Long before other early childhood education providers were required to, Kidsfirst employed only fully trained, registered teachers. But our commitment goes beyond qualifications. Passion and enthusiasm drives our people. They go the extra mile for the families they work with every day.
Collegial support and networking opportunities
As one of New Zealand’s largest and most respected early childhood education providers we offer unparalleled opportunities to build networks both within the teaching community and the wider early childhood sector, and unbeatable professional development opportunities and support. All backed by sound principles, solid values and proven methodology.
Professional leadership and development
Each Kidsfirst kindergarten is led by an experienced Head Teacher (Kaiako Matua). Every kindergarten team operates under a Professional Leader – an experienced senior teacher providing professional support to our teams in a variety of ways. The Professional Leaders themselves have seen it all before – and importantly, provide a connection point for Ako between all of the teams they work with. We recognise that keeping our teaching teams actively engaged in growing and nurturing their own careers is integral to providing quality learning outcomes for tamariki and their whānau. Many Kidsfirst kaiako continue with further study while they work. There’s also an advice and guidance programme to support our provisionally registered teachers to achieve full registration.
Great learning spaces
Kidsfirst classrooms are well resourced, providing plenty of opportunities for tamariki to extend their learning, playing, and exploration. Our Big Backyards provide wide open spaces and living environments for tamariki to learn and practise kaitiakitanga all year round.
Flexibility but security, too
Kidsfirst offers excellent leave provisions and flexible work options, with opportunities to transfer within the network to ‘try something else’ all while having a permanent job protected. With almost 70 kindergartens across three regions in every sort of community imaginable, we offer, hands-down, the widest range of career options of any South Island provider. There are opportunities to move within our kindergarten network, and also to expand your horizons into some stimulating head office positions and working party opportunities.