We would like to warmly welcome back all the familiar faces of our families/Whanau and their tamariki along with several new families and children, it is great to see so many returning families - nau mai haere mai.
One of the first things that happened was that the hay bales - through the use of our children's imaginations - became great climbing equipment; enabling children to practise their balancing and jumping. This was in fact far trickier than it looked as the bales are soft underfoot making them extremely wobbly to walk on.
As Santos told me, "Be careful, it's wobbly...look at my big jump, I'm going to do this again...ooh its so so wobbly".
The children spent all morning jumping and climbing and repeating these experiences again and again.
Leah, "We're making a castle...how about we put the other pillow there so there is room for all of us, all of us fairies. I will get the blue pillows so we can lift our legs onto them".
Even the hay that escaped the bales has had a role in the children's work. Here April and Makenzie are making a birds nest. As I observed the girls I could see how they were negotiating, listening, sharing ideas and knowledge and learning to work alongside their peers effectively.
Here the nest had been placed high up in a tree by one of our parents. We will have to keep a careful watch to see if any birds like this new home!
Hay bales are what we would term 'loose parts' and enable open ended play at Kindergarten. The use of open ended materials and loose parts in our programme is very important to us. Other examples of loose parts you will see at Mairtown include sticks, rocks, sand, bark, ropes, shells, bunjeys the list is endless.
"Loose parts have infinite play possibilities, and their total lack of structure and script allows children to make of them whatever their imaginations desire...Through children's handling, manipulation and physical interaction with materials and the natural environment, they learn the rules and principles that make the world operate" (White & Stoecklin, 1998).
I wonder what new ideas the children will find for the bales over the next few days?