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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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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Gifts for the magic tree

On our nature programme, one of our special places to visit in Mairpark is a clearing with a huge old Puriri tree. The children have fondly named this the 'Magic tree' and for the past six weeks we have visited it on every excursion, swung in its branches, taken shelter and discovered its 'Magic'.

As Wednesday 13th July was the last week of the nature programme for term 2, on Tuesday the 12th July we meet with the children to view and discuss a provocation about leaving the tree a gift.

After reading a story we then questioned the group about the type of gift we could leave for the 'Magic tree' without leaving litter in the bush. It was decided that clay would work well, like Brearna said "When it rains, it just turns to dirt".

So what would we make to thank the tree and show our friendship?
Brearna "A caterpillar, no a heart cause I love the tree"
Heidi "A chain"
Shinayah "A plant"
Briah -Rose "A big heart"

As the children worked and began to sculpt, their ideas were transformed and extended until we finished with hearts, puriri flowers, leaves, snails and a baby in a basket.

On Wednesday we lay our gifts at the Magic tree's roots. "Thank you magic tree" we said and Brearna added "Thank you magic tree, thank you for letting us come everyday".

Our completed gift is taken to the tree, consolidating a friendship of children and nature

Written by Kim 

posted by Christine 16th July 2011 15.22

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

An update on our nature programme

Today was the fifth trip of our nature programme, where we take our oldest twelve children into Mairpark once a week. Despite all the rain (and thunder storms) that were forecast we had beautiful weather to go exploring in today. As usual we met our parents at the Banff street entrance of Mairpark and here we sang our ‘Morena’ song and welcomed our parent helpers Matt (Finn’s dad) and Holly (Shinayah’s mum). We also had another visitor today, Richard Storey, General Manager of the Northland Kindergarten Association who was spending the morning with us to experience first-hand our new programme.

After reiterating the few rules we have and setting up our home camp, we asked the children what they wanted to do first. With a unanimous decision, they decided they wanted to go to the bridge and play ‘pooh sticks’. Several children and even Zair had never played this before so the children that were with us last week explained how to play, and after collecting sticks we were off. We observed several differences in the water as we looked down from the bridge. The children noticed how the river was running slower today – our sticks were taking longer to appear . “Was this because of last weeks rain” they considered? They also observed how last week several rocks were stopping the sticks in their path down the river, but this week the rocks were under the water. Why was this we wondered, when there had been less rain? All fantastic questions which really opened up our thinking and discussions.

Richard demonstrated how to weave palms which could protect us from the sun on a hot day and provide shelter.

After morning tea at the ‘magic tree’ lots of the children went rock climbing up the bank, while others had a go at painting. We initially started painting with the water colour paints, but then added some of the natural mud we were surrounded with to our brushes, and added this to our pictures. A great way to be creative with nature.

After a while we headed back over the bridge – stopping for another quick game of ‘pooh sticks’ – to the muddy patch we discovered last week. Once again the children discovered that although it was still muddy, it was a lot dryer than last week. How great for children to revisit familiar areas and notice the changes that occur due to weather - and as this programme continues – the seasons.

 We spent ages at this muddy patch. The children were really adventurous with the mud today, lying down in it to make ‘mud angels’, jumping in it, digging their nails in it and feeling the texture with their fingers. All the children joined in and had so much fun exploring this area. This is a great way to release physical and emotional energy, as well as being wonderful exercise and also for refining our motor skills.

The morning was passing really quickly so we decided to show Richard our ‘singing log’, where we enjoyed a few renditions of ‘yellow speckled frogs’ and ‘yellow submarine’. Then off we went up ‘rocky mountain’ and doubled backed on ourselves to the river where we threw some bread Brearna had brought for the ducks to eat. It was then time to head back to home camp for lunch and a few games before home time.

We really have had a great time exploring today and through our shared enjoyment I hope we are all developing a further appreciation for our local surroundings and the natural world around us.


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Matariki Celebration

Last Thursday night we had a wonderful Matariki Celebration at Mairtown Kindergarten.

We have talked extensively about Matariki with the children and had been preparing for the big night for many days. The children had spent lots of time leading up to the night making beautiful lanterns, salt-dough stars and a himmeli (a traditional Finnish straw decoration) to adorn our Kindergarten with. It looked fantastic on the night – almost unrecognisable.

We had so many people take part in the celebration – lots of families, friends, uncles, aunts, grandparents and siblings - it was just wonderful.  We started the evening with a shared kai and the chance for friends and Whanau to catch up with one another.

 As the night grew darker, the anticipation rose and it grew more and more exciting.  It was finally time for the much awaited lantern parade. One by one all the children collected the lanterns they had made at Kindergarten, with a small tea light lit inside. When we were all ready, everyone went on a parade along the street accompanied by Kim and Christine playing and singing ‘this little light of mine’ on their ukuleles. The parade looked stunning in the dark.

On arriving back at Kindergarten, we cozied up around the fire for a sing-a-long with Glenn and John, and toasted marshmallows. It was a great evening, thank you everyone.

"Tera Matariki huihui ana mai" 
"Yonder in the skies you have witnessed Pleiades, grouped together".

A traditional Maori proverb referencing the Matariki star cluster lighting up the sky.

Since then we have had the chance to ask the children what their favourite part of the night was. Here of some of their answers:

Dihansa - "The circle around the fire"

Hvar  - "Marshmallows and playing in the night"

Juliet - "Going for a walk"

Azariah - "Holding lanterns on our walk, having marshmallows and playing in the dark"

Detroit - "Lighting the dark away"

Brearna  - "I like the part when my friend Annalise and my mum and my brother came"

Xander - "My favourite part was when we had the lantern walk and marshmallows and when I came home I saw my lantern wasn't out"

Briah-Rose - "Playing out in the dark, cause I was scared"

Kye  - "Going home and my favourite part was I had the lantern in the bath with my cousin"

Sam Heaton - "The fire and singing. I loved that fire"

We have also asked for some feedback from our families – here is what some of them said:

"What an incredible night, It reminded me of camping as a child. What a wonderful family occasion - very special. Thanks so much"

"Fantastic night! Has so much fun, both kids and adults in our family had a blast. Thanks so much"

"Loved the lantern walk around the street and the sing-a-long around the fire"

"Perfect night - simple, fun, original. We've got a friend staying with us who came last night, she left saying that is the coolest Kindy I've ever been to - I want to be a Kindergarten teacher"