A Bit About Us..
Kia ora and Welcome to Expressions of Winter
We are sisters who are both qualified ECE teachers who were raised in the small Waikato town of Tokoroa. Our small town upbringing in a multicultural community instilled in us strong core values of equality and inclusion which we have carried with us on our teaching journey and has played a big part in how/why we make the resources that we do.
Our appreciation for the cultures of New Zealand is a huge driving force behind what we do and this was fueled even further with the arrival of Jenna's daughter/my niece. Baby B is a strong kōtiro Māori who continues to influence our direction, along with the tamariki that we teach, in providing resources/toys that are relevant and reflective of Aotearoa and her heritage.
We believe that language is an important part of culture and so we include all three of New Zealand's official languages, NZ Sign Language, Te Reo Māori and English in our products as much as possible.
Within Te Whāriki (early childhood curriculum) it is stated that children are more likely to feel at home if they regularly see their own culture, language and world views valued in the ECE setting (Belonging/Mana Whenua, Te Whāriki). With that in mind we were encouraged to provide opportunities for this to take place and represent the cultures of the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori and Tauiwi/Pakeha. Our resources have been created with the knowledge and respect that culture cannot be taught through toys or resources, but that the use of such, through play with elders who hold knowledge about culture can aid in deepening understandings.
As Tauiwi/Pākeha we have been questioned about our intent, however with consultation, self reflection and the positive learning outcomes experienced by the tamariki/children, kaiako/teachers and whānau/family our passion to provide relevant resources for all NZ tamariki remains.
Alongside providing recourses that are relevant to Aotearoa, we also aim to provide natural resources to do our part in reducing plastic and waste in our environment. Our range is made predominantly from untreated pine sourced in New Zealand and recycled native woods when possible. All paints and oils are from the New Zealand business, the Natural Paint Company, which are made from natural products and safe for toys.
By combining creativity with natural products, we have been able to craft sustainable resources for the precious little ones of your world, allowing for various learning experiences that don't cost the earth. Every one of our products are handmade by us, which means that your item will be unique to you and yours due to the characteristics of the materials.
In our quest for doing right by the environment we are continually looking for ways to minimise the use of plastic and give back where we can, which is why we are keen supporters of 'trees that count' and are committed to donating on a regular basis.
You can find more information on the importance of native trees at https://www.treesthatcount.co.nz/
We also work on supporting charity's that are highly beneficial for NZ tamariki and donate to local and national fundraising events where and when possible. We are a small NZ business figuring out the ropes to surviving as self-employed, but we will always do our best to give back where we can and hope that you appreciate the work that goes in to creating truly handmade products.
So take a look around
We hope you like what you see :)
Alesha and Jenna