This is Kaitiakitanga at BestStart Montessori Taradale

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The land remains when people have disappeared. Fostering ngā tamariki as kaitiaki is something we hold very dear at Montessori Taradale and a large part of this is building a meaningful relationship with Papatūānuku (Mother Earth). Our children are hands-on guardians and caregivers to our chickens and guinea pigs, helping to feed them, collect the eggs, and keep their cages clean.

Learning how to handle the guineas calmly and gently is a big part of this. We use a towel as the guinea’s claws are quite sharp and scratchy, and the children are shown how to support the guinea’s body when holding them. Being calm is important as animals pick up on fear and it makes them nervous and wriggly. By giving the children opportunities to handle the guinea pigs, we are able to build their confidence and foster the connection between them. 

Maria Montessori believed in the interconnectedness between humanity and nature. “The land is where our roots are,” she wrote. “The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” By fostering understanding about how we can be guardians of the Earth, we are strengthening this connection to nature that is so important to each child's holistic development.