Early Years

Early Years at HIS Niseko

The Early Years multiage program at Hokkaido International School is for children ages 3 and 5 inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach and the Te Whariki, the national early childhood curriculum of New Zealand.

Every child develops at their own pace, therefore teachers observe, listen, and get to know the children in their care in order to plan and create learning experiences that empower them to grow and learn holistically. By carefully curating learning experiences inspired by the children's interests and questions, we can provide personalised learning that not only fosters a sense of agency but also supports the areas of development that each child needs.

Our program offers a rich and responsive environment that nurtures children to become capable and competent learners. Our curriculum outlines five strands of learning and development:


  1. Well-being: Focusing on children's physical and emotional health and well-being.
  2. Belonging: Recognising the importance of relationships, identity, and connectedness.
  3. Contribution: Encouraging children to contribute to their communities and engage in meaningful activities.
  4. Communication: Supporting children's language development and communication skills.
  5. Exploration: Promoting curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking through exploration and play.

In the Reggio Emilia approach the image of the child is one of respect, trust, and
empowerment. It recognises children as active agents in their learning process and
advocates for environments that honour their curiosity, creativity, and individuality.

The EY program at HIS strives to be inclusive and respect each child’s ethnic, cultural, and religious background and language. Some of our young learners are new to the  English language and are encouraged to learn through play, stories, songs, games and other playful invitations. At such a young age, it is important to focus on children’s oral language skills as the foundation of their literacy development.

A link to our curriculum document

Here is an article with some information about the Reggio Emilia approach