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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Monday, 27 June 2011

Our new logo

Here is our new logo  - what do you think?

We thought it was time to update our logo at Mairtown Kindergarten. We wanted something simple, natural, reflective of our community, but also beautiful. Jasmine, (Kiedis's mum) a graphic designer very kindly gifted her time and expertise to design the logo. We think it is perfect, and can't thank Jasmine enough.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Shadow Puppets

Over the last couple of days we have been lucky enough to have Gill, an itinerant teacher spending time with us at Mairtown Kindergarten. On Friday we read the book 'Who sank the boat' by Pamela Allen, at group time. Following on from this, Gill introduced us to her wonderful collection of shadow puppets.

Planning, questioning, experimenting  - how will we get this to work? Where will the shadows be?

Discovering light and shadow.

It took a while to get everything set up, and we had to experiment with the lighting but when then we were ready to have a go. There was lot of excitement and a huge demand amongst the children to be the first one to use the puppets, but they were fantastic, patiently waiting their turn and enthusiastically supporting their friends who were the puppet handlers.

Developing an interest and participation in the performing arts. 

The children had the puppets of the cow, the donkey, the sheep, the pig, and the tiny little mouse, just as in the book. At first Gill read the book while the children listened carefully to the story until it was their turn to introduce their puppet into the show. They were all so careful to move their puppets around and hold them close to the sheet we had hanging up. From the other side of the sheet - where the audience eagerly watched - the shadows and silhouettes looked amazing, almost magical, creating a great performance.

    Encouraging imagination and creativity.

The jointed shadow puppets encouraged care, whilst also developing fine motor skills in their handling.

Everyone had a chance to use the puppets and also to watch the show. After a while the children were able to recall the story and reenact it using the puppets without Gill reading the story.

The children were able to draw on their memories to recall and tell the story of 'Who sank the boat'.

Learning to work cooperatively in a team.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

The beginning of our 'nature forest programme'

Friday 11th June 2011, marked the day of our first ‘nature forest programme’ excursion into Mairpark. It has felt like months of planning and preparation but we have finally done it. We took our eldest 12 children, along with two of our dads (Matt and Kauri) teachers Kim and Christine, and senior teacher Gillian.
The children were dropped off at Banff Street, all dressed for the rain (and yes, it really did rain on us!) in their new wet weather pants and jackets. With this being our first trip we asked Constable Sue to join us. She talked to the children about safety in the park, and what to do if you get lost – remain where you are and blow your whistle till you are found. We have had lots of discussions with the children at Kindergarten about remaining safe, but it was great to have this reinforced by our community police officer.
We do not see nature with our eye, but with our understandings and our hearts (William Hazlitt, 1859)
We were then ready to make our way further into Mairpark and find a spot for our ‘home camp’. The children collected long twigs and branches, made a circle and placed around this some tree stumps which we used as stalls.

 As the morning progressed we walked further into Mairpark and discovered a ‘magical tree’, made some swings out of logs and ropes, climbed up a rocky path to the top of the park (and then back down again). Jeremy loved climbing up the rocks; he told me “this is so cool, it’s just like rock climbing”.

Morning tea time, with some much needed hot milo.

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).

We had some tools and equipment for the children to use. The magnifiers and small halogen torches were in great demand. The torches were great for exploring in the crevices of rocks and between the bark on the trees. We found some interesting plants and insects, and lots of worms that had come out for the rain. Hace loved using the torch on the ground telling us “the mud….it looks so shiny”.

As a team we are so proud of the children, they were amazing today at the park, remembering the rules, helping set up camp, walking lots and lots and remaining in such good humour despite the never ending rain! Thank you to Matt and Kauri - your help was fantastic.

We are planning to take the children into Mairpark once a week as an on-going nature forest programme (let’s hope for nicer weather next week!).

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Matariki Breakfast Celebration

This weekend - the 4th June – marks the beginning of Matariki. On Friday at Kindergarten, we celebrated this event with our children and their Whanau by holding a breakfast. Donna was working super-fast to prepare delicious smoothies, scrambled eggs, porridge, fruit salad, beans, toast and jam, yoghurt and cereals – thanks Donna!

Matariki is one of the most significant celebrations in the Maori calendar; it is the indigenous New Year.

Matariki is about celebrating new beginnings, moving forward in life and also a time of reflection.

Matariki runs from the 4th June to 4th July, with many other activities and events being held locally in our community.

Thank you to all the Whanau, parents, grandparents and everyone that came to help us celebrate. It was wonderful to see everyone and share this experience with you. We hope to see you all again when we hold a Matariki closing ceremony dinner later next month.