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

Follow our blog by email

Monday, 26 March 2012

Preparing our new winter vegetable garden

Last week we had a delivery of several half wine barrels. There has been lots of talking, debating and guesswork amongst the children as to what we are going to do with our new recycled barrels at Kindergarten. They are going to become our new vegetable garden.

Over the summer months we have had a great crop of passion fruit, apples, strawberries and now we are even harvesting a few feijoas. The children have really enjoyed the whole process of watching the crops grow, tending the plants, collecting the fruit, and perhaps the most enjoyable, eating the fruit! With sustainability in mind we wished to continue these efforts by growing our own winter vegetables.

Before we could plant any crops however we needed to prepare the barrels. Our first job was to make some holes for water to drain through. We got our drills out and set about drilling the holes. After lots and lots of persistence, hard work and patience we decided that perhaps our drills weren’t quite up to the job! Thankfully for us, we have a friendly builder next door who popped over and made speedy work of drilling the remaining holes for us. The children loved watching him at work, observing just how fast his drill tackled the wood.

Next of course we needed soil. We have to say a huge thank you to Mackenzie’s Granddad John for organising, delivering and helping the children fill up the barrels.

We were now ready to go, the barrels had holes and were filled with soil – but we still needed plants. Up to this point the children have been really involved in the new garden , so on Friday we had a group meeting as a Kindergarten and asked the children what they wanted to grow and what they enjoyed eating. There were lots of suggestions but in the end we had a long list which included broccoli, beetroot, different herbs, brussel sprouts, silver beet, spinach, carrots and some beautiful flowers.

Today, Monday, was the big day we planted our crops. Jaxon brought in some carrot seeds so we dug a channel into the soil and carefully dropped in the seeds.

Discovering science and the natural environment through fun, engaging and hands-on gardening activities

Lots of children were keen to have a go at planting, either using the trowels to make holes or just getting really stuck in and using our fingers.

Gardening encourages sensory exploration

Observing and comparing seeds and different types of plants

The children ‘read’ the pictures on each of the cards, so they knew which plants they were putting into each barrel. We can’t wait to watch our plants grow and see how many vegetables we can produce. 

All done...but we still had time to look after our new plants and give them a quick watering!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Shave for a cure

Tracy is one of our fabulous mums at Mairtown Kindergarten and on April 1st will be shaving her head for charity. We all really admire her for making this big big step - good on you Tracy!

As a Kindergarten we would love to support Tracy in any way we can. These are her words,

"Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things you will ever have to experience. I know first hand since my beloved husband passed away almost two years ago. If there had been anything anyone could have done to prevent Jason's death I would have been the first to raise my hand to do it. Even though his death wasn't in anyway related to an illness I still want to help others to be able to hold onto their loved ones for as long as possible.

One of my best friends is going through the struggle of having her Dad battling with cancer and when she signed up for Shave for Cure and she asked me to, I only had a small hesitation before I signed up too.

I've joined the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand in their effort to get 10,000 people shaving in a mass expression of solidarity. That's one shave for each one of the estimated 10,000 New Zealanders living with blood cancers and related blood conditions, this support can last months or even years.

Life is short, hair grows back.

Take the time to make a difference in someone else's life and sponsor me!!!"

If you would like to sponsor Tracy or know anyone else that may, go to www.shaveforacure.co.nz and search for Tracy Palmer.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Education Gazette Article

In February we were approached about giving an interview and overview of our indoor environment at Mairtown and about the changes we have made. This was for an article to be published in the New Zealand Education Gazette, and in particular was to concentrate on the use of our natural wooden furniture made by local designer Craig McInnes.

Today we received the latest Tukutuku Korero, the New Zealand Education Gazette at Kindergarten. We were all very excited to read it. Below is a scanned copy of the article which we would like to share with you all.

Here are some photographs which illustrate some of the points made in the article.

 'The way a space is aesthetically organised can assist in concentration and can increase one’s motivation to work in creative ways'.
Gandini (2005) 

This article can be found in The New Zealand Education Gazette, 19 March 2012, Volume 91 Number 5, page 18.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

An example of emergent curriculum

Emergent curriculum is a way of planning based on children's interests and passions, as well as the teachers. Emergent curriculum starts with the children's interest but is extended on through the interactions and planning of the teachers. Engaging in children's interests provides opportunities to focus on 'topics' which are important to the children.

On Monday we had a great example of emergent curriculum.

'Opportunities to look closely at the subject helps
children to gather visual information'

Tui-belle arrived at Kindergarten with a cricket in a jar. She had found the cricket at her home and wanted to bring it in to share.

The cricket created lots of interest. After looking closely at it in the jar and discussing its details, Tui-belle and Dihansa went on to make some drawings. This is called 'drawing from observation' and helps children to notice the finer details of the subject.

To extend on the children's current knowledge and ideas, Kim then offered the opportunity to use clay to sculpt a cricket, transferring information from 2D (drawing) into 3D (sculpture).

Tui-belle's and Dihansa's drawing and work then became the inspiration for other children to make a study of a cricket.

An idea for an Emergent curriculum topic may be sparked by anything or come from anywhere. What is important is that the subject is reflective of children's or teacher's interests and the opportunities for extension that are provided.

Kim, Rachel, Christine

Monday, 5 March 2012

Nuts 'n' Bolts

Today we added some new resources, stainless steel nuts, bolts and washers, which we introduced to the children.

We laid them out on the table inside and waited to see what the children would think, and what they would do. Many spent absolutely ages engrossed in them, twisting, screwing, turning, fitting, threading, sorting and manipulating - the children were absorbed, focused and curious.

Nuts and bolts provide great opportunities to refine and develop many important skills.

One of these skills is 'hand -eye co-ordination'. Hand-eye co-ordination takes a lot of practice and is a critical skill, required for success in tasks such as holding a pencil for writing and drawing.

Another opportunity is that of developing 'fine motor skills'. Fine motor skills are the small, refined muscle movements required to perform delicate tasks. As the children worked with the nuts, bolts and washers they had to concentrate hard to line up the objects with each other and then gently and carefully manipulate them to make them fit together, using the co-ordination of their first finger and thumb (known as the 'pincer grip').

Pre-literacy skills include having proficiency with hand-eye co-ordination, fine motor skills and pincer grip.

The children loved investigating and exploring these objects, figuring out the mechanics of how the nuts and bolts worked.

"Repetition, repetition and more repetition creates the necessary conditions for the beginning of experimentation and the desire to experiment keeps alive the sense of curiosity, as well as giving the child even more experience patterns." (The Comprehending Hand, 1979.)

As the morning went on we became aware that these simple, everyday household objects were also extending the children's 'conceptual thinking' as they transformed into rockets, spaceships, bullets and other imaginative ideas based on the childrens prior experiences or current thinking.

Making these connections allows children to think abstract thoughts that are based on what they already know. Engaging in play experiences that include these ideas helps children to relate to abstract concepts which ultimately aid their understanding of the subject.


(posted by Christine)