“New Zealand Early Childhood Care and Education Programs: Exploring Culture, Environmental Design and Program Services” will be the topic of a presentation by early childhood educators Toni and Robin Christie on Monday, Oct. 4, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in room 118 of the Illinois State University Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main in Normal. The event is free and open to the public.

Toni and Robin Christie are founders of Childspace Early Learning Centres and the Childspace Early Childhood Institute in Wellington, New Zealand. Through lecture and photos, they will share the story of a community built early childhood nature playscape on Matakana Island off the coast of New Zealand.The island community focuses much of its work on restoring the local ecosystems and created a playscape for children that celebrates the natural environment and plentiful local resources. The project involved balancing and meeting the varying challenges of natural resources, design and construction, and the realities of community isolation, a limited budget, culture, language differences, community leadership and teamwork.

The presentation is the kick-off event for the College of Applied Science and Technology’s (CAST) “CAST: Going Global” year-long focus. The event is co-sponsored by CAST, the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, the Illinois State University Child Care Center and the Human Services Organization student group.