Learning & Development

Children are natural learners and between birth and 5 years, and especially to 3 years, children grow and learn at the fastest rate of their lifetime. There are many ways of learning - children learn by watching, by listening and especially by doing. Children do best in an environment which is interesting and where they feel loved and safe.

Mother with her 2 young children in the garden

Skills like learning to crawl or walk, wave or talk are called developmental milestones. These milestones are things most pēpi and tamariki can do by a certain age. All children are different and develop at different speeds and in their own time.

As a parent or caregiver, you are your child's first teacher and understand them better than anyone else. You can help your child's development during the important early years.

Play is how pēpē (babies) and tamariki (children) learn best. We don't need to formally 'teach' our young children in order for them to learn. Ordinary household objects such as boxes, blankets, pots and pans can provide many hours of fun and learning.

Activity is just as important for your baby or young child as it is for older children - it helps them to learn and grow. Check out some resources to support young children to sit less, move more and sleep well.

You can build on the learning your child is gaining at home by enrolling them in early learning services. When choosing an early childhood education service, think about what's important for you and what will work best for you and your child.

Children develop at different rates. Check out what to do if you have concerns about your preschool child's development. There are a range of services for children who need support. 

Not all tamariki (children) are the same when it comes to toilet training. Find out how to support your child to start toilet training.