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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Friday, 20 July 2018

Congratulations Zair

Before the new term begins this coming Monday, I thought I should celebrate some good news with our community and whānau. Tonight (Friday 20th July) the Northland Kindergarten Association held their annual appreciation evening and Zair was awarded a Kauri Scholarship to attend one of the 5-8 day outward bound courses focusing on leadership – well done Zair J

For those who would like to know more click here for a link to the outward bound website. 

The outward bound website states,
'Our focus lies in building transferable skill and attitudes that remain far beyond a participant's time with us. Lessons learnt are applicable to work, study, home - and they last for life.'

Zair was away for the awards, so the rest of the Mairtown team were more than happy to collect it on her behalf.

Zair is an amazing teacher and certainly one of a kind. She has a caring heart, is passionate about the early years, is a great leader, and is most certainly an inspiration to all of us  -  we are all so very proud of her! Well done Zair we know you will be fantastic and that you will use this experience to enhance your practice further through this leadership opportunity.

Ngā Mihi nui,

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Nature kindergarten published research

In 2015 the Mairtown teaching team were fortunate enough to be able to take part in some research on Nature Kindergartens through La Trobe University, Australia.

Of course,  and as everyone will know, the whole of the Mairtown Kindergarten team really value the nature programme that we run for our oldest 10 children. It is through our nature programme, that we have seen the benefits our children gain. For instance resilience, sensory exploration, creativity, learning about our community and developing a relationship of love and respect for mother nature herself.

We do not see nature with our eye, but with our understandings and our hearts (William Hazlitt, 1859)

We were delighted to hear that this research has been published in the International Journal of Early Years Education.

For anyone wanting to access the article, please click here 

A big thank you to Leanne Grogan for allowing us at Mairtown Kindergarten to be involved in this research and for giving us the opportunity to share this enormously important work.

When children see that you wonder about and care for living things, when you marvel at a flower or a sunset or the moon on a particular night, that gives them a respect for nature too. It’s contagious! (Fred Rogers)

Hei konā mai,

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Mairtown Matariki Hāngī 2018

To finish off our Matariki celebrations at Mairtown Kindergarten we had our annual Matariki Hāngī.

This event is something that the children and their whānau really look forward to. In the weeks leading up to the Hāngī, we have a count down of days on our calendar which helps build a sense of excitement for everyone. We asked our families to donate vegetables for the event and we had an overwhelming response to this - thank you. We also were kindly donated the hireage of the MultiKai Cooker from Gayla and Doug Andrews.

Matariki symbolises the coming of the Māori New Year.  Matariki has two meanings, both of which refer to the cluster of stars.  Mata Riki means Tiny Eyes, and Mata Ariki means Eyes of God.  Matariki appears in the eastern sky sometime around the shortest day of the year, and is thought to determine how successful the harvest crop will be in the coming season.  The brighter the stars, the more productive the crop will be.

When the day arrived the kindergarten was a buzz of activity as we had whānau helping prepare the food for the cooker and making the fry bread and stuffing. We needed get this on early so it would be cooked in time for the evenings feast. With all the wonderful support we had the MultiKai Cooker on in record time.

Ma tini, ma mano, ka rapa te whai
By many, by thousands, the work will be accomplished.
 Many hands make light work.  Unity is strength.

After session the teachers, with the help of others, transformed the kindergarten environment was transformed ready for the evenings event. It was so lovely watching everyone arrive, filled with joy and delight. The atmosphere was just beautiful; fire glowing, music playing (thanks to Kelly and Wil) and everyone just having a good old catch up.

The lifting of the Hāngī was then underway and everyone got to enjoy the food that was prepared earlier that day. The dessert table was then enjoyed, along with toasted marshmallows over the fire. To finish off our lovely evening we had a lantern parade down the street, singing ‘This Little Light of Mine’.

Thank you so much for everyone who made our Matariki Hāngī such a wonderful event. It was such a beautiful day and night. Thank you for making Mairtown Kindergarten such a lovely place. We really appreciate your support and all the good energy that you bring to our community.

He wā motuhake
A special moment

Please take a moment to watch our lovely video that Christine has put together, which captures our day beautifully.

Kindest regards,
Zair, Susie, Amy, Sarah and Christine 

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Matariki Harvest Day - The gift of sharing with others

On Wednesday the 20th June our kindergarten was full of a joyful buzz as we hosted our annual Matariki Harvest Day. This is a highly anticipated day for the children, their whānau and the teaching team. 

For Harvest Day our whānau were invited to bring a gift from their garden or a home-made treat along with a provocation or thought to nourish the receivers heart.

Our Harvest Day is all about 'random acts of kindness'. The gifts were placed on our harvest table and at the end of the day children and their whānau were able take something home.

This is a Matariki celebration tradition that has been happening at Mairtown for many years now. We often get asked about how the Harvest Day event sits within recognising Matariki. One part of this special time of year in Aotearoa revolves around the gathering of food - and this is often when the Matariki stars reappear in the sky (May/June) - once harvesting is complete and the store rooms are full of kai.  

Kiwifamilies.co.nz (2018) acknowledge that,  

"The disappearance of Matariki {the star cluster} in Autumn, signals the time to gather and preserve crops. The Matariki disappear from view in April, and reappear again in late May/early June. So this was an important marker in the harvest calendar.

After the harvesting of traditional crops, such as kumara, pikopiko and karaka berries, when the storehouses were full, Maori would celebrate the harvest season. This celebration coincided with the reappearance of Matariki."

We had such a lovely response and it was evident that lots of joy and love was shared, given and received throughout this day. On this day I heard both children and adults talking about how this is such a lovely day and that the act of giving to others was such a lovely practice. 

One of the children shared with me, "You know I brought this (points to a bag on the table) and I think that someone else will like to take that home and share it with their Mum and Dad and family. I would like to take somethings home to share at my house. That will make everyone SO happy. This is a happy table!"

The act of giving is a wonderful trait to celebrate and acknowledge. We love that at Mairtown Kindergarten we are creating a culture of sharing and giving to others. Although this is an event that happens once a year at kindergarten, it is something that we like to practise on a day to day basis.

“The act of giving expands one’s entire life experiences because nothing is more fulfilling than one’s capacity to give.”(P. Rashad)

Giving to others, without expecting anything in return is something that we (as adults) should all role model to children. No matter how small an act of kindness is, it has a huge impact on how someone may feel. I think that it is important that we all role model kindness and giving to others and our Harvest Day is just one way we can do this.  

Being able to take something home at the end of the day to share is also a wonderful experience for the children. Many of them spent time during the day checking out what was on offer. The table was full of delicious kai and all of it needed to be shared out amongst the kindergarten whā​nau.

Matariki is such a special time of year and I am so happy that all our kindergarten families and their children embrace it with such enthusiasm. At Mairtown we love to celebrate Matariki  because it is unique to our country and culture. During Matariki we get to celebrate our unique place in the world. We get to give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth Papatūānuku. Matariki for us signals growth. It’s a time of change. It’s a time to prepare, and a time of action. During Matariki we acknowledge what we have and what we have to give. Matariki celebrates the diversity of life. It’s a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people.

"The more children are treated with deep care, the more they will treat others with care and kindness. Love and care and kindness; this is spiritual practice." (Kimberly Crisp)

Thank you to everyone who made our Matariki Harvest Day so special. We really appreciate your support and participation.

Hei konā mai,