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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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

New homes!

To all our Whanau and tamariki, welcome back to term 2 - we are looking forward to an exciting and busy term.

We love getting new resources at Kindergarten and today the children helped to open up something very special; some new small wooden families and furniture.

The task of opening up the boxes to discover what was inside lead to some great team work and discussion.

It is our choice not to have an actual dolls house at Kindergarten, rather, as you can see from the photographs we have wooden walls, gates and stairs that can be transformed into anything a child's imagination desires. Sometimes these assist in being a castle, farm or zoo for the animals. Today however they became new homes for our two new families.

At Mairtown we frequently draw upon aspects of  the Waldorf Philosophy in our teaching and resources. This philosophy embraces the use of open ended resources (such as our wooden walls) and other 'less finished materials'. This allows these resources to be more suggestive to children and therefore of greater educational value as they capture and enliven the imaginative life of the child.

Providing opportunities for fantasy and imagination assists in stimulating children's play.

“Play is how children begin to understand and process their world,” (Angie Rupan, Child Development Centre,  San Francisco)

Today we set this play space up outdoors and soon discovered that it provided options for children to play in small groups, or take some time away from the other busy areas to engage in quiet, thoughtful and independent play .

Another thing we observed was the rich vocabulary the children used in their play with the dolls and furniture, often telling and acting out some wonderful dramatic stories.

When playing alongside other children or adults, vocabulary and language skills are fostered. "Playing with a dolls house or dolls allows children to re-enact what happens in their everyday life, using the words and phrases they hear. Often you are likely to hear words from family members come out of their mouths as they re-create events that have happened - perhaps with an outcome more suited to their liking!" (Traci Geiser, Education.com)

The children spent all morning arranging and re-arranging the furniture to their taste and style. I love how this room has been made even more beautiful with the clever addition of some flowers and petals - what great creative thinking.

Finally, I just had to add this picture as it makes me smile!


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Kapa Haka at Mairtown!

Today Kim collected some traditional Kapa haka costumes for us to borrow and use next term from the Northland Kindergarten association. The children however were immediately keen to explore, try them on and start dancing!

Don’t the girls look splendid in the traditional dresses and the boys awesome wearing their piupiu?
Kapa haka is unique to New Zealand and Maori culture in the fact that the performers must sing, dance, have expression as well as movement all combined into each item. Before beginning our own dancing we discussed with the children the tikanga that needs to be observed.

Kapa Haka can be seen as a form of sign language as each action has a meaning which ties in with the words.

“New Zealand is the home of Maori language and culture: Curriculum in early childhood should promote te reo and nga tikanga Maori, making them visible and affirming their value for children from all cultural backgrounds" 
(Te Whaariki, MOE, p.42)

Here are the children performing to the rest of the Kindergarten at group time.

"Experiencing and taking part in Kapa Haka allows children to experience Maori culture and protocols. It also develops their confidence and their ability to perform in front of an audience.”

One of the children’s favourite waiata (song) is Tutira mai nga iwi. We soon realised that we were not too familiar with the actions for this song however, so invited Roimata our Pou Whakarewa Tikanga Maori (Maori advisor) to come and help us all. How wonderful for us to draw upon Roimata's expertise as a resource which enables our children to experience and gain authentic Maori cultural knowledge.

Here is a little video of the children working with Roimata.

For those who my want to sing along at home, here are the words in Te Reo and the English translation.

Tūtira mai ngā iwi
Tātou tātou e

Tūtira mai ngā iwi
Tātou tātou e

Whai-a te marama-tanga
me te aroha - e ngā iwi!

Ki-a k'tapa-tahi, 

Ki-a ko-tahi rā.                                
Tātou tātou e.

Tā  - tou, tā - tou E!!  

Line up together, people

All of us, all of us.

Stand in rows, people

All of us, all of us.

Seek after knowledge

and love of others - everybody!

Think as one,

Act as one.

All of us, all of us.

All of us, all of us.
Sing it all a second