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, 29 May 2013

Art used as a first language

We were delighted with the article that was published in the Whangarei Leader this week, Wednesday 28th May.

Here is a copy - It explains all about our forthcoming art auction fundraiser as well as why we value the  visual arts so much at Mairtown Kindergarten.

Whangarei Leader May 28th 2013 by Christine Alford


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Art Auction Drawing Near…

In a few weeks on the 7th June 2013 we will be having our huge fundraising event for Kindergarten, our ‘ART AUCTION!’ We are using all funds raised to go towards the upgrade of our art studio area. As you well know art is a very important part of our curriculum at Mairtown and we see great value in all it has to offer our children and their families.

“Creating art expands a child's ability to interact with the world around them, and provides a new set of skills for self-expression and communication. Not only does art help to develop the right side of the brain, it also cultivates important skills that benefit a child's development. But art goes far beyond the tangible statistics measured by studies -- it can become a pivotal mode of uninhibited self-expression and amazement for a child. Art matters the same way language matters -- or the way breathing matters! It is a fundamental component of what makes us uniquely human.” (Kohl)

One of the components of our fundraiser is beautiful pieces of art that our children have been working on. Over the last couple of weeks the children have started to create a range of different masterpieces that will be on sale for their families to purchase at our auction.

A lot of time and thought from the children has gone into these art works. They have been inspired by artists like Hundertwasser, as well as by images of iconic Māori legends like the Taniwha. Some of the children have even used a piece of art that has been donated for the auction as inspiration.
Some of the children have been using black PVA paints on canvas. This type of paint creates a puffed, raised look when applied. Once this is dry the children have then used a range of beautifully coloured dyes to fill in all the white spaces. As you can see the effects of this art process are dramatic and stunning.

Other children have been working on paintings which require a lot of revisiting. They start off by painting with bold colours, creating strong shapes and patterns. Once dry they then go around these bold colours with Indian ink. Again, they wait till this is dry and then they use metallic pens to make patterns in the black lines. These pieces are also incredibly striking and look great in their frames ready to hang.



When some of our donated art works started to arrive at Kindergarten we shared them with our children. One piece in particular by the artist Kymiri sparked quite a lot of interest.  When a group of the children saw this they were inspired to create a similar painting. This work of art allowed the children to represent what they had observed in this painting through their own pieces of work. It also brought them copious amounts of joy as the re-enacted the upside down swinging technique that the girl in the painting is doing.

By providing children with examples of artists’ works we are inviting them to revisit and revise their own working theories of their world. This is an example of inquiry based learning, which opens up endless opportunities for self-expression and exploration. Being immersed in an environment that values art is beautiful and empowering. Art supports our children’s development in so many different ways.
“Children are eager explorers- explorers with an intense desire and will to make sense of their world. Some of the most effective means they have for explaining things to themselves are drawing and painting. While using them to make images, they explore feelings and ideas, and through their images they communicate thoughts to others as well as themselves.” (Kolbe, 2003)

It is so exciting watching these works of art come to life. The children are filled with anticipation and excitement about this event and can’t wait show off their art works to their families. They are so proud of what they have done, as are we. This event is getting closer and coming together wonderfully. Remember to put the 7th June in your diary and come along to this fantastic event.



Zair :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

PechaKucha Presentation

Here is a video clip of the PechaKucha presentation that Kim and I delivered at the Old Library, Whangarei on 1st May 2013.The PechaKucha presentation format is where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.

Kim and I talk about 'art as a medium for language' as well as our forthcoming art auction on 7th June 2013. We would love to know your feedback so please either post a comment or come and speak to one of the teachers - thanks.

For those that are wondering, PechaKucha was first developed in Tokyo in 2003, and means 'chitchat'.


Monday, 13 May 2013

Nature Programme Autumn 2013

                                                Last Friday we began our ‘Nature Programme’ for term 2. This is where we take our 10 eldest children into the bush for nature education once a week.
Friday was an exciting day; we welcomed 4 new children onto the programme as well farewelling Helena as she celebrated her 5th birthday.

One of the wonderful aspects of this programme is the fact that we encourage and provide opportunities for children to make their own decisions about the morning; which areas of Mair Park to visit, how long to spend in any area, where to next? A great way for developing negotiation and team working skills.

Being outdoors regardless of the weather – sun, cold, rain (and we did have some heavy rain!) – provides so many learning opportunities for children. For instance the physical benefits help keep children fit and healthy as well as building strong muscles and assisting with developing balance and coordination.

Cognitive and social/emotional abilities are also developed. When children play outside, without the use of structured toys, they are far more likely to invent their own games. And as they do so they are expressing themselves, thereby enhancing their communication and vocabulary. They also learn about the world in their own way, make decisions, use their organisational skills and invent rules – they are the ones in control.

Children find their own objects in play
Leah felt this root system looked like 'crinkled up fingers'

Children to learn to appreciate the outdoors, and their local community spaces.

Enhancing aesthetic awareness is another, less obvious, skill that is encouraged:
“Aesthetic awareness refers to a heightened sensitivity to the beauty around us. Because the natural world is filled with beautiful sights, sounds, and textures, it's the perfect resource for the development of aesthetics in young children” (Rae, 2008).

There were so many beautiful treasures to be found in the bush on Friday. There was an abundance of fungi – no doubt because of all our recent rain. Many of these were incredible, and so stunning; the one in this photo was new to all of us and looked like small crystals twinkling on a branch.

Children have amazing imaginations and a great sense of curiosity. We have noticed that they are able to find ways to connect with nature on their own, without to much assistance from their teachers – they explore worms, dirt and leaves, sticks, rocks and bugs. The endless wondrous classroom that is the outdoors.

Here is a little video clip from the morning.

A very big thank you to Moana - our parent helper on Friday - support from our whānau is invaluable to us and is what keeps this programme running and so successful.


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Our new door

Kia ora rā kōrua. Greetings to you all. We warmly welcome you to term two.
During the holidays we had our beautiful door installed into our family corner.

We were very excited to observe the children’s (and parents) reaction to this final instalment in our family corner up-grade.

Doorways invite exploration. Over the morning children stepped through, then back and through again.

We have also been interested to observe that even though there is an open space right next to the doorway. The children mostly choose to use the door to enter or leave the family corner.

Our early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki reminds us that ‘assessment should be a two way process and that children may also help to decide what should be included in the process of assessing the programme and the curriculum’. Whilst the up-grade was initiated by our teaching team, the children were very involved in the decision and design of the door (You may remember this documented in an earlier post titled ‘planning for possibilities’). Here is a re-cap of some of the children’s ideas:

It needs a window
The window should be green
It needs a handle. One that you hold on to
It needs wood on the window
We need a grown-up door

Our wheels-a-thon fundraising was also used to purchase the door, connecting a link from the children’s and families hard work to a tangible and so far hugely popular instalment into our play environment.

 “What a wonderful door. Love the arch and circles. This will create interesting play opportunities and experiences (colour, light etc)”
“I love the new family corner; it’s so beautiful and creative and will let the kids imaginations run wild. AWESOME JOB LADIES”
“Wow! How wonderful to have such an inviting and engaging space”
“Great door – not too girly. Could be a door to a house or a spaceship”
“looks fantastic – door will create many play options”
“Loving the new family corner! Great for the kids to see the wonderfully creative door that they fundraised so hard to help purchase”

Ko ō tātou tamariki, tō tātou oranga
Our children, our future