Haere mai! Welcome to Mairtown Kindergarten's blog.

Nau Mai Haere mai. Welcome to Mairtown Kindergarten's blog.


21 Princes Street, Kensington, Whangarei, New Zealand

Phone: 09 437 2742

Email: mairtown@nka.org.nz

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Our new kaiako - Welcome to Hanna




This week we were lucky enough to welcome the wonderful Hanna Bramley into our teaching team and our kindergarten community.

Hanna and her new friends, helping her feel welcome at Mairtown

Hanna is a very friendly, engaging and welcoming person who has a great passion for teaching. She is enthusiastic, kind, motivated and has children’s best interests at the heart of everything that she does. Hanna is also resourceful and loves to tackle projects with the children. She has a wonderful sense of humour and is just a wonderful person to be around.

Our Kindergarten family waiting for Hanna's arrival

“There are no strangers here, just friends who haven’t met.” (Roald Dahl)


Hanna is new to Whāngarei and was looking for a teaching team that was supportive and welcoming. After visiting Mairtown and getting this vibe, she decided to apply for the job and we are so glad that she did. On her first official day at Mairtown our community come together to welcome Hanna with a mihi whakatau.


“A mihi whakatau is a welcome that can provide a sound basis for any kindergarten event whereby people are greeted in a less formal manner than that of a Pōwhiri… Mihi whakatau is traditionally used for welcoming, introductions, openings and general purpose which take place off the marae.  The mihi whakatau is a process which will protect Māori cultural practices while promoting an environment of inclusiveness.” (Roimata Macfarlane, 2016)



This was a lovely occasion and it was delightful to have many of our whānau stay for the special welcome. Hanna brought along some important people in her life to be with her through this process. After everyone had an opportunity to introduce themselves and sung waiata we then shared a delicious kai together.





Hanna’s first week has come and gone and already she has proved to be very engaging with everyone, making connections with the children, their whānau and her new colleagues. We are looking forward to all that Hanna has to offer our community and know that she has a wealth of knowledge and kindness to share.

Portrait of Hanna - Artist, Sharlee Bea.


He aroha whakatō,
he aroha puta mai
If kindness is sown, then kindness you should receive

Nāku noa, nā,
Zair


Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Kaitiaki of our Mairtown Lilliput Library




At Mairtown we were lucky enough to be asked by the Whāngarei District Library if we could be kaitiaki of a Lilliput Library. We jumped at this opportunity as we knew it would add another wonderful element to your kindergarten community.


So, what is a Lilliput Library? A Lilliput Library is a wonderful concept where the public can use this space to take or leave books. It is a small wooden cupboard which are often decorated in a beautiful, eye catching ways and placed in places where the community can utilise them. They are through out New Zealand and you can find more information about them through Facebook.


The first thing that we had to do to get Mairtown’s Lilliput Library ready was to turn it into a masterpiece. We decided that a Hundertwasser inspired Lilliput would be a suited style for our library as this type of art work is something we often use at kindergarten for art provocations for the children.






The children started the process of decorating by adding colour to the box. Once this was done the colours were outlined with a black paint pen and finished with a vanish to seal the beautiful art work.






The lovely thing about this process was that the children were so keen to help decorate the box and in doing this it generated lots of discussion amongst them about what the Lilliput Library was about. It was during these moments and over the weeks that it took to decorate the library we really noticed that the children were taking ownership on the concept of sharing books through the Lilliput.

 



Once the library was ready to be placed on our rock wall permanently, the children really saw the library in action and also the impact that it was having within our community. From the time It was put up we have had many visitors to the library, both dropping leaving and taking books. If the children see people at the Lilliput they engage with them, asking what they are doing and checking in to see if they know how to use the library. We have also seen our kindergarten whānau using the library. Making connections with community is one of our goals at Mairtown and we feel that this concept sits well with this.




In terms of sustainable communities, the way that the Lilliput Library works is great at fostering opportunities for communities to come together and share with one another. This is a wonderful thing to be happening and we are proud that we are apart of this movement.



“The wider world of family and community is an integral part of early childhood curriculum. Me whiri mai te whānau, te hapū, te iwi, me tauiwi, me ō rātou wāhi nohonga, ki roto i te whāriki, hei āwhina, hei tautoko i te akoranga, i te whakatipuranga o te mokopuna.” (Te Whāriki, 2017)




The Lilliput libraries belong to the community but the teachers and children at Mairtown are the kaitiaki (guardians) of this particular one. We check it daily and make sure it is tidy and well kept. It is so empowering for the children to know that they are a part of this. This experience allows our children to develop a great sense of community, by participating and contributing in a community-oriented activity. In doing so, they are able to make connections with the wider world of people and places.




"Empowered students... Sustainable Communities! - Our touchstone is creating creating a healthy, peaceful, sustainable world through people teaching and learning together." (Enviroschools kaupapa) 

Nāku noa, nā,
Zair




Wednesday, 10 April 2019

FAREWELL TO OUR BEAUTIFUL CHRISTINE

 
This week we are saying farewell to a very amazing, special person at Mairtown. Christine is off on a new adventure as a new entrant teacher.

 
 Christine has been at Mairtown for nearly 9 years and in this time has had such a wonderful influence on our kindergarten community. Saying farewell is so bitter sweet and words can’t describe how hard this moment is.
 
 
 We are so excited for Christine as she takes on her next adventure and totally understand the decision she has made to extend on her skill set and build on her professional practice. Tauraroa Area School are so lucky to be getting Christine and we know that she will absolutely shine in her new role as a new entrant teacher.
 

 We particularly admire Christine’s bravery in this situation. We know that this was not an easy decision to make. She is stepping outside her comfort zone and this in its self is so wonderful. We all know that when we step outside our comfort zone and take on opportunities and experiences that challenge us and even scare us a little, and that this is where we grow and develop the most. This is true for Christine. This is also a notion that she has instilled in many children over the years.
 
 
 
 Christine has proven to be an inspiration to everyone that she has worked alongside. She is so dedicated and focuses her energy on being the best teacher she can be for all the children, their whānau, the community and the NKA. Excellence is one word we would use to describe her way of being as a teacher. She also brings a great sense of fun and kindness to our space and is so supportive and encouraging to those who she works with. This is going to be greatly missed.
 

 So we would like to say a huge thank you to Christine. Thank you so much for all that you have brought to Mairtown, thank you so much for being such a beautiful teacher and colleague and also so a great friend to us all. It has been an incredible journey working with you. We are going to miss you so much but wish you all the best on your next journey moving forward.


 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Mairtown Rat Trappers - Kaitiaki of Parihaka


Over the past two terms we have become the kaitiaki (guardians) of two very important rat traps. These were gifted to us by Dai Morgan, through the Parihaka Community Landcare and we have placed them in different parts of Parihaka, which is where we run our Nature Programme. The children of Mairtown carefully decorated the traps before we took them into the bush so they were easily identifiable as the ones that we were looking after.



On the Parihaka Community Landcare Facebook page they state that, “We are a community volunteer group helping to protect native species in Parihaka by reducing pest populations.”

We feel very privileged that the children of Mairtown Kindergarten who attend our Nature Programme get to see first hand the efforts of trapping rats.


From the very beginning of this process the children knew and expressed a lot of knowledge of why we needed to kill rats in our local Ngahere.

“You know rats are not good, they are bad. They kill baby birds.” (Ezra)


“Yeah they also eat the eggs and when the rats kill the birds and eat the eggs that means that we might not have more birds in our places.” (Juno)

The conversations around rats and the plot to trap them has flowed into the kindergarten space. This has created opportunities for our Nature Programme children to share their understanding on this subject of conservation with other children.


Each week when we enter the bush one of the first things that we do is check the traps. If they have not gone off, we re-bait and if they have caught a rat, well that is where the real excitement begins. What I particularly like about this rat trapping initiative is how the children have taken such great ownership of the task. They clearly have a deep sense of responsibility as they rush to where the trap was last baited and eagerly await to see if there is a dead rat inside.


Now, as to date, we have only caught two rats and these were very exciting moments. On the first occasion it had been a hot summery week leading up to its discovery and to say that the rat was smelly was an understatement. The children watched on as poor Amy had the task of getting the rat out. After much discussion it was decided that the best way to dispose of the rat body was to bury it. The children, with support, chose a place that would not disturb the roots of the trees and where they could dig a fairly deep hole to place the rat in.

“This is really going to make me have a spew!”





“The rat was alive, now it is dead. So we buried it.” (Felix)


Our kindergarten is on the Enviroschools journey and this is just one of the many ways that we incorporate its kaupapa into our programme. Every pest caught is of benefit to our native species and we love that the children at Mairtown Kindergarten can have such a rich and meaningful learning experiences in regards to this. 


 One part of the Enviroschools kaupapa is 'Identifying and Strengthening Community Partnerships/ Mahi Ngātahi’

and they state that, "Your centre (or kindergarten) is part of an eco-system, and creating a sustainable centre involves developing projects and practices that support the whole living system around you. To work in this holistic way, it is necessary to bring together a range of different insights and skills. Genuine partnerships involve identifying shared goals and appreciating particular skills, resources and expertise that different groups and people can offer. Link up with others in your area that are working towards a more sustainable environment in areas such as health, conservation, cultural or community development."





Our children are learning so much about the importance of pest management, as well as contributing to our local community in a very relevant and meaningful way. We love that this is now a part of our Nature Programme’s rituals every week and can’t wait to catch more pests in Parihaka.


Thank you to Dai Morgan, Parihaka Community Landcare and the Northland Regional Council for having such a great initiative in place. If you would like to know more about how you can be involved in programmes like this check out their Facebook page (Click Here).


Nga mihi,

Zair

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