Kindergarten in Hamilton



Wild and free, at one with nature while exploring with friends in an engaging environment is our hope for every child that walks through the Old MacDonald’s doors.

This dream doesn’t cease simply because a child is approaching school age, but rather becomes even more important. While you won’t see our children sitting on a mat being led through adult directed learning you will see them engaged with responsive kaiako, where impromptu learning moments fuel the curiosity nature has given them to learn about and understand their world.


The Old MacDonald’s approach to school ready sees a free play environment where children have agency to lead their own learning. With open access to time, space and resources kaiako work alongside tamariki to explore their passions and develop working understandings of their world through play. Rather than pushing a four year old to be seven, we see our role as facilitators of learning. This means working in partnerships with children, parents and schools to support valued play-based learning upheld by the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. Supporting tamariki to create the tool kit they need to navigate change and engage in each new learning environment is what, we feel, will best support their transition to formalised learning when they start school

. Our approach to preparing for school is backed by the latest brain development research. Nathan Wallis, former CEO of the brainwave trust, explains shows that attitudes to learning in the early years carry more weight on the road to success than being able to recite the ABCs. Supported by the importance of the development of a positive learner identity, We believe a focus on social competency and the development of positive dispositions are the tools required to successfully navigate formalised learning.