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, 27 May 2011

A message from Te Takoha

This is a little video from Te Takoha, for his mum Emma who is in Australia at the moment. We hope you enjoy it Emma.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Our small prickly visitor.

Imagine how surprised we were today when a small hedgehog came scampering in, taking shelter under our veranda. After a couple of attempts to set our new friend free (he wasn't having it and kept returning) we very carefully gathered him up, placed him in a box and gave him a raw sausage to eat.

When the afternoon children arrived it was a real treat to be able to show them what was in the box!

We were all absolutely amazed by the length of the hedgehogs back legs.

We spent along time looking at our visitor, noting the spines on its back, its soft tummy covered in a coarse grey-brown fur and its long whiskery snout.

Eventually, after almost all the sausage had gone, we decided to try once again to release the hedgehog back into our Kindergarten garden. It was a little reluctant (perhaps it didn't like today's rain) - I wonder if it will visit us again?

Our visitor was a great learning experience for us, we were able to discuss hedgehogs, their natural environment and see close up what they really look like.


Sheridan's fame on 'You Tube'

Sheridan arrived at Kindergarten this morning and told us she was on 'You Tube' singing one of Mairtown Kindergarten's favourite songs - Tutira mai nga iwi.

You can check it out by clicking  here

We were so impressed to see Sheridan singing this song at home, we watched it together on our new projector at group time. Everyone really enjoyed it, in fact we loved it so much we played it twice and even sung along with it.

Well done Sheridan, we are all so proud of you.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Abstract art with Kandinsky!

Over the last week at Kindergarten we have been looking at some work by the artist Wassilly Kandinsky. Kandinsky, known for his creation of abstract art loved the use of line, shape and colour in his work. One of his colour studies in particular really captured the children's imaginations and inspired many to thoughtfully create their own wonderful abstract art pieces.

The inspirational colour study by Kandinsky entitled 'Squares with Concentric Rings'.

Painting (Waituhi) encourages creativity and also allows for investigation of abstract concepts.

As we painted we talked about colour, texture, shape, design, patterns and perspective (all early maths concepts).

Here are some of the beautiful finished paintings.

"To play with colour is to play with magic" (Kolbe, 2009)


Saturday, 14 May 2011

The trees are a hit!

We watched with anticipation as children, parents and Whanau arrived at Kindergarten the morning after the trees arrived. Most of the children were eager to quickly explore the trees, running their hands over the bark and the rings, hunting for bugs, smelling the freshly cut wood, climbing up the stumps, balancing on the top and then jumping off.

Emma uses the muscles in her arms and legs to really pull herself up - a new challenge.

Well done Emma, you did it. What a sense of accomplishment!

Time to jump off - what great risk-taking Emma.

There have been plenty of opportunities to learn with, from and alongside others in the children's discoveries and investigations.

When children play in natural environments, their play is more diverse with imaginative and creative play that fosters language and collaborative skills (Moore & Wong 1997, Taylor, et al. 1998, Fjortoft 2000).

"I'm taller than you, when I'm up here" (Fergus to Christine)
"I don't want to jump off, actually I do want to jump off. 1,2,3......jump" (Grace)
"This is my tallest day ever" (Harrison)
"Are they all one tree? Did they cut it?" (Heidi)
"Look, there's a worm on the tree. I can see a worm" (Brendon)
"This is my big horse" (Sheridan, lying down on the Kahikatea stump)
"I'm a transformer, go engine go" (Jeremy)

"It just looks stunning, it's so beautiful when you walk into Kindergarten" (Angela)

What does everyone else think of our trees, let us know by adding your comments.......and don't be shy - we love to know your opinions.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Look what appeared at Kindergarten this afternoon...!

Wow...how exciting is this, and what a surprise!

We had a rather large delivery of some wonderful tree stumps.

This video shows the first of the trees being lifted by crane into place. This stump comes from a Kahikatea tree, and is placed lying down (as in the photograph below).

This stump will be great for physical activity such as balancing, climbing, jumping off, crawling along......the list goes on.

Hvar and his mum were driving past and arrived just in time to see some of the work taking place.

The second tree stump is from a Totara tree, and is far more gnarly. This was cut into two, giving us in total three stumps laying close to one another.

We hope our new tree stumps will be extremely versatile, whilst also encouraging problem solving, risk-taking and lateral thinking.

They also feel wonderful to touch, creating opportunities for sensory exploration and an appreciation of the natural world.

Making some smaller stumps from a limb of the Kahikatea tree.

What will everyone think when they arrive at Kindergarten in the morning? We can't wait to see.


Monday, 9 May 2011

The joys of refound treasure!

Today was a special day - a much awaited day - the day we opened our treasure bags. Last term we sent the treasure bags home and asked that children, families/Whanau  search and explore together, for materials that we could use at Kindergarten. Our new treasure!

     "I'm feeling so excited in my tummy" (Finn)

The bags have been arriving over the last week, and there has been much anticipation, excitement and expectation as we have watched the bags gather in number. Everybody has showed wonderful patience waiting for today – the big reveal day – with no peeking!

For the grand opening we split into two smaller groups. A big thank you to Bryant and Anna who were our photographers and documenters for the event.
We ask the children to empty their bags one at a time, allowing us all time to explore the treasure in detail. Some of our new treasure is recognisable and others items are far more curious. As the bags are emptied out we invite the children to talk about their treasure; what might it be; where does it come from; what was it originally used for?

"The round things are film canisters" (Max)

"It all came from my bedroom" (Ryan)

"These are from when I went to rock and roll" (Brearna)

Sharing is an important part of the experience

“To a young child, the world is full of materials to touch, discover, and explore. To find, collect, sort, and use materials is to embark on a special kind of adventure. For adults, gathering materials means rediscovering the richness and beauty in natural, unexpected, and recyclable objects that are all around us, but not often noticed” (Weismann Topal & Gandini, 1999).

"All the bags are for sharing" (Dihansa)

Sorting and discovering new materials

"we can put it into the order of stuff" (Brearna)

This is a story that will have to be continued……. Today was a day of sharing, of discovery, of excitement and anticipation, of the unexpected and unknown, of a richness of vocabulary…..we will continue to document the sorting and organising process.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Paulynne's Somoan dancing.

At Mairtown we value the links between home and our Kindergarten environment. Imagine how excited we were when we discovered that for Paulynne’s farewell group time, she would perform a Samoan dance for us.
Paulynne dressed in a traditional titi fulumoa which is a belt of chicken feathers, and a matching sei fulumoa, a beautiful feathered head piece. Paulynne did an amazing job of dancing in front of her friends and family, and was so graceful – we are really proud of you Paulynne.

Elena, Paulynne’s mum made the wonderful titi fulumoa and sei fulumoa herself and has kindly gifted them to us at Mairtown. Thank you so much Elena, this is a very special gift and we are honoured to accept them.

Happy 5th Birthday Paulynne. From all of us at Mairtown, we wish you lots of happiness and joy as you start school.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

'By the Rivers of Babylon' with Glenn

We were once again  lucky enough to have Glenn visit us with his guitar today. Towards the end of last term we introduced the children to a new song, ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’, famously sung  by Boney M of course! Music and singing is wonderful for enhancing speech, vocabulary and language skills as children’s repertoire of songs and tunes develops and increases.

“Music-making is an enriching and liberating experience. It is a means of communicating with the self and others in a way that transcend words” (Wright, 2003, p.84).

Here are the lyrics for anyone wanting to join in or sing along….
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.

When the wicked
Carried us away in captivity
Requiring of us a song
Now how shall we sing the lord's song in a strange land.

Let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart
be acceptable in thy sight here tonight.

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.