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, 29 October 2012

Nature programme 26th October

Last Friday we began our nature programme for term 4. I have written previously about this programme, but for a brief recap this is where we take our 10 eldest children into the bush for nature education once a week. On Friday we had three new children starting the programme, a very exciting time for them as they have been eagerly awaiting the day that they would get to go to the special places that they have heard about from their friends at Kindergarten.

Friday was a beautiful sunny day, spring was very much in the air as we headed down into the bush. One of our first encounters was with the flowers of the ‘onion weed’. This very beautiful spring flower gets its name as its edible and smells just like onions - the meadow on Friday was very fragrant – we all had turns of smelling the flowers  (even though we didn’t really need to get that close!).

For me the greatest pleasure of the nature programme is to watch one season turn into another as the rhythm of the year is played out before us. I love this quote by Charles Dickens as he sums up ‘seasons’ and the almost imperceptible change from one to another:

“Nature gives to every time and seasons some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress” 

A sense of wonderment

Experimenting and risk-taking 

We explored many areas of Mair Park on Friday, the children who have been on the programme for a little while – our experts – were keen to show their new friends all their favourite places. As the morning progressed we visited the bank, the magic tree, punga hill (where we slid down on our bottoms) and played ‘pooh sticks’ over the bridge. 

Mike (Ollie’s dad, one of our parent helpers for the day) took our ‘pooh sticks’ game very seriously!

“Nature introduces children to the idea – to the knowing – that they are not alone in the world, and that realities and dimensions exist alongside their own.” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods, 2008)

Thinking creatively

Socialising over lunch

Respecting the environment

Here is a small slide show from the rest of our morning...

A very big thank you to both Sharon and Mike - our parent helpers on Friday - support from our whanau is invaluable to us and is what keeps this programme running and so successful.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Exploring possibilities with wood

Thanks to some great organisation from Donna, this morning we received a wonderful gift from the team at Survey Supplies; new wood for the carpentry area.

Carpentry - Tārai Rākau -  provides children with opportunities to use tools and equipment whilst developing imagination and creativity as they transfer their thinking to the 'project'.

Looking into the first of the bags, the children immediately noticed all the different shapes and sizes, "Look this one is like the top of a castle" one child declared and "here is a square".

With so many different shapes and sizes to explore, our first focus with the new wood was to discover its many possibilities.
"I'm building a tall, tall house"

"I'm going to build an aeroplane"
"Here is a rocket"
Cut wood offers opportunities to explore balance, symmetry, weight and  height. As the children stack, sort and group the wood they develop their inquiry and research skills as independent thinkers.

 Lucas measures the work of a peer and then tests his findings against his own tower.

Wood blocks were stacked on their ends  as other children tested and then re-tested the concepts of balance and stability by attempting to build taller and taller towers.

Many times these towers toppled but the children displayed great persistence and problem solving, by immediately starting the process of building again.

Providing opportunities and time for children to explore possibilities with resources helps them to develop their investigation and questioning skills as they explore ideas from a range of perspectives.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Calendar art work

Welcome back to all our children and their families, we are going to have a great term 4! We also welcome lots of new tamariki to our Mairtown Whanau, and warmly welcome Zair back after maternity leave – nau mai haere mai.

This week we have begun our art work for the 2013 calendars. This is a fundraiser which we did for the first time last year and was a great success. All the children have the opportunity to produce a piece of art which will be sent off  and made into cards, calendars or diaries (they make fantastic Christmas presents – more details to come at a later date!).

Art is a strong focus in our curriculum, and children are presented with opportunities to experiment with a wide range of media and materials on a daily basis. It seemed only fitting then that any money from this fundraiser, along with those raised from our art auction scheduled for March next year, will go towards an up-grade of our Kindergarten art studio.

For this year’s calendar art we have decided to use Hundertwasser as our inspiration and provocation for the children’s work, using the media of black pen and dye. Both Hundertwasser’s work along with and pen and dye are materials that our children work with frequently and so are familiar and comfort with.
Before we began our work, each child was offered the opportunity to look through a book on Hundertwasser’s work and choose a piece of his art from which they would like to draw their inspiration when creating their own piece.

Hundertwasser's work is very distinctive with a rich and intense use of colour; this encouraged the children to engage in interesting and diverse conversations about what they each saw in the paintings.

“As children view works of art, they will naturally interpret what they see based on their personal experiences…when children construct their own knowledge and meanings about what they see they become active participants in the learning process, rather than passive ones” (Mulcahey, 2009)

After black pen and dye had been applied, some children observed how Hundertwasser often used gold or silver to emphasise certain elements of his work. Of course, after spotting this we got out our own silver pens for some of the children to highlight aspects of their art.

We had to dry our dye work first though – what better way than with a hairdryer!

“Art is seen as useful for enhancing children’s cognitive processes, involving children in problem-solving, thinking and using symbol systems to record their thoughts, ideas and feelings” (Wright, 2003).

Eve drew inspiration from Hundertwasser's painting titled 'Waiting houses'...

 ...whilst Katie focused in on a small corner of a Hundertwasser painting, one with a small but vibrant circular shape.

I am sure you’ll agree that the work produced so far is beautiful and the calendars will look spectacular; I can’t wait to see what all our other tamariki will produce over the next few weeks.

If you know any artists, or are an artist yourself who would like to donate a piece to be auctioned at our art auction next March please contact the Kindergarten directly – thank you.

“As the sun colours flowers, so does art colour life” John Lubbock


Monday, 15 October 2012

More Moreporks

Thank you Akke, for returning our beautiful Moreporks fired and complete. The glazed eyes and bodies look stunning after a session in the raku pit, warm coppers and metalic silvers bring the children's feather impressions to life whilst the yellow eyes give a definate feeling of being watched.

These little sculptures are currently on display in our 'Morepork exhibition' in the art studio, along with the childrens drawings and paintworks. Come and take a closer look!