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The Environment as the Third Teacher

At Keiki Early Learning, we firmly believe that the environment is the ‘third’ teacher (with the family and educators being the first and second). The physical environment should not be a backdrop to the curriculum but rather is part of the program. Outside in the beautiful gardens at each of our child care centres, we have incorporated natural materials amongst our climbing structures that provide opportunities for a level of controlled risk-taking. Indoors, wood and natural materials have been used throughout to create a calming and warm environment. Your child will find the environments attractive, engaging and interesting, with many resources to interact with, see and touch. It is designed to provide countless opportunities for open-ended play to suit different abilities and interests.

Our environment is safe and protected and children are given the opportunity to develop at their own rate and in their own time. We offer ‘real’ opportunities for learning and development where children can discover and create through constructive play.


At Keiki Early Learning, we incorporate sustainable practices in everything we do. Children are encouraged to learn about, respect and contribute to the world we live in through daily tasks such as watering the gardens, looking after the worm farm (at selected services) and water conservation. Children learn about gardening and pick fresh herbs for their meals in our veggie gardens. We incorporate learning about recycling in our curriculum throughout the year and share conversations and topics such as sustainability through our talking and thinking floor books.

Our natural play spaces are full of loose parts, natural resources and messy play opportunities. We want children to connect with nature and learn about sustainability, so children will often use recycled products or even ‘up-cycled’ materials and resources in their everyday play. Throughout the services, we also carefully select a range of pre-loved furniture pieces that are restored and repurposed for the next generation to enjoy.