Childcare students at East Coast College have returned from a two-week trip to New Zealand.

The trip was to teach the students about the Te Whariki approach by visiting nurseries and working with practitioners.

They explored Auckland, the North Island, and various nursery settings, engaging in activities reflecting Te Whariki's emphasis on child-led learning, play-based development, and taking safe risks.

The trip was funded by the Government’s Turning Scheme, which has also allowed East Coast College to plan future educational excursions to Budapest, South Africa, Italy, Germany, and Peru.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The college has dubbed it a once in a lifetime experience for the childcare students The college has dubbed it a once in a lifetime experience for the childcare students (Image: East Coast College)

East Coast College curriculum manager, Helene Quin, said: “Our students were immersed in a transformative cultural and academic experience that I am confident will change their lives and the lives of the children in the future.

“It was not just a trip; it was a fantastic opportunity for them to witness first-hand the differences and similarities between educational perspectives and helped deepen their understanding of pedagogical approaches to early years curriculums.

"Central to this experience was the immersive engagement with the Māori culture and traditions.

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"Beyond this, our trip was marked by the forging of lasting friendships, the cultivation of teamwork and a passion for lifelong learning.

"Witnessing the growth and transformation of our students filled me with immense pride.”

During their trip, students also experienced the traditional Māori culture through exploring historical sites such as the location of the Waitangi treaty signing.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Pupils learnt about a child-led approach to nurseries Pupils learnt about a child-led approach to nurseries (Image: East Coast College)

Student Charley Frith said: “My favourite part was learning about how different childcare is to the UK.

"Children have a lot of freedom by learning through play. The children are trusted with hot glue guns, hammers and glassware within the setting which helps them to develop self-confidence."

East Coast College assistant principal, Holly Chase said: “This educational visit to New Zealand created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a group of childcare students to experience and bring to life international theoretical perspectives in early years which they have only had the opportunity to read about until now."