Hi there. My name is Samantha and I have been with Step 2 Growth since January 2014. I am from America but moved to New Zealand to be with my now husband. We had our daughter in 2015 and also have a stepdaughter who visits regularly. I am located in Woodbourne.
2010 - present
2010 - present
Work experience & environment
I am towards the end of my studies to receive a degree in Early Childhood Education and have previous experience working at a day care/preschool center in the USA.
I know that young minds learn best by active exploration and hands-on experiences. The children in my care are given plenty of time to choose their own play, but we also have group times where we read, sing, learn, and create. We have many messy/sensory plays, art activities, music, walks, and outside play as well. I have a range of items including books, art supplies, dolls, cars, blocks, puzzles, water, sand, small trampoline, slide, tyres, bikes, play dough, and dress-ups.
There are also many playgrounds in Woodbourne where we play. We often make our own batches of play dough, paint, and salt dough as well as baking foods. This allows the children to take a bigger part in the running of the program, learn cooking skills (such as measuring, mixing, and kneading), and work on motor development.
I believe in giving children many opportunities to express themselves through conversations, play, artistic activities, music, and sensory play. I also believe that children thrive in an environment that shows respect, security, kindness, engagement, and fun. A child who is well cared for and nurtured is ready to learn!
I love the idea of in-home childcare because it offers flexibility for parents, child, and educator. It also offers more one-on-one interaction with each child and great stability for the child, keeping the same educator daily and even for years! In-home care is great for young children because the small numbers mean more attention, more personal care, and the ability to get to know each child in a way that is not possible when there are 20 little ones running around. The home environment also helps with the transition from their own home to a childcare center or school.
Hi! I have been an educator with Step 2 Growth since 2013 and in that time have come to meet some amazing wee children and their families. I have quickly discovered that the hardest part of the job for me is seeing my wee guys move on to the next stages in their ever-changing lives! In short, they grow up way too fast and as a mother of two grown children in their 20s, you would think I had worked out how to deal with that!
In saying that, the precious memories and special time I have with each of the children is well worth it for me and the fact that my husband of 25 years encourages my pursuits as well as enjoys his contact with the children as much as they enjoy him, makes me blessed. To this end I have recently completed my Level 4 Certificate in Early Childhood Practice.
Work experience & environment
I actively encourage the children to treat my home like theirs and they each have quickly come to do just that. In addition to the two toy rooms (one with the thought of a quiet space for reading and puzzles, and the other for more active pursuits such as train track play and building), we regularly set things up in the lounge and just take over the house - lol! Both rooms are also great spaces for the younger ones wishing to get in a nap. Inside flows out onto a large deck where we like to snack in the sun, and then down onto a large concreted yard that great for bike racing and ball play.
We have built a large sandpit and chalkboard and have hung a swing under the trees. In the summer, we have regular water activities and like to employ the fence all year round to hang paper on and paint. Tables for other activities, such as play dough and collage-making, are also brought out regularly; and we also like to play ball and other games on the lawn around the back by the gardens, where we have grown some lovely flowers in the past.
Home-based care has become very important to me because I believe there is a lot to offer a child. They have the benefit of an educator who need only give their attention to a maximum of 3 other children. The opportunity to create relaxing learning scenarios and safe exploring activities is something I am positive is beneficial to all age groups.
There is also the added benefit of the depth of bond and care that develops for each individual child. Being able to get to really know a child allows us to make more informed learning plans catered personally to a child’s strengths, lets us identify areas that need extra attention all while in a familiar and secure environment, and also allows regular input from their own families.