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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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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Coloured Sticks

When I see beautiful, interesting things in this world it makes my heart flutter. I feel happy, intrigued and excited. This feeling is something that drives myself and the other teachers at Mairtown Kindergarten to provide attractive, interesting environments for our children.
We find inspiration and ideas in our daily lives; for example getting out in the community, visiting art exhibitions, wandering through nature, going to events and also by searching the world wide web. The website Pinterest is one of the places that I turn to find ideas for provocations that I can bring to work and share with the children.  

Image of an inspiration from Pinterest
Recently I found this image of sticks wrapped in fabric. Simple, yet so very effective. After asking our families for donations of fabric scraps and receiving some branches from Donna, I was able to try out this idea.

The children selected different pieces of fabric, I tied them together and then we wrapped them tightly on to the branches. Many of the children questioned me, “What are you doing?.. What is that?.. What are you going to do with them?..” All very fair and relevant questions. I explained how I had seen a beautiful picture of something similar and that I thought that it would be fun to give it a go.

Role modelling, giving things a go, is a wonderful thing for children to witness adults doing. Sometimes it is a bit daunting trying things out as there is a small risk of things not working out the way you planned it. However, very often our expectations are often met and even succeeded which is incredibly satisfying and empowering.

While wrapping these sticks I asked the children what they thought they would do with them.
“I will make a beautiful house for everyone.” (Charlie)
“This would be my power wand for magic powers to change things.” (Nash)
“This is my magic stick wand and it has so much magic in it.” (Hezikiah)
“I would make a beautiful colourful hut.” (Sharlotte)
“You know it could just make a cool tent for my friends.” (Liam)

When our collaborative work was complete I decided to make a tee-pee structure.
“Wow! Look at this colourful house for us!” (Maria)

Some of the children sat inside it, some ran in, out and through it. Some children touched the branches and looked intently at the workmanship. 

A group of children decided to draw some pictures of the tee-pee.
“I like them because I like the red. I chose red and purple and black when I was making it with you. I want to draw it. I’m thinking I will use brown for the sticks. I like the purple and blue so I will make that on here.” (Korari)
“I like reading books in it. I like looking at the sticks because they are happy sticks. They are nice sticks.” (Sharlotte)
“I like the colourful tee-pee because it is a tent that I can build stuff in it like blocks. I love it because its got colours on it and I love colours and I want to have colours for ever and ever and ever.” (Tyler C.)
“You know my Mum thinks these sticks are just so beautiful.” (Nyla)

So many children had a hand in this creation and the lively, colourful sticks will be a source of delight for everyone at kindergarten. It was really a wonderful team effort of collaboration.
“Children’s development occurs through active participation in activities. Collaboration with adults and with other children plays a central role in this development. The programme should recognise, acknowledge, and build on each child’s special strengths and allow each to make a contribution or to “make his or her mark”, acknowledging that each child has the right to active and equitable participation in the community.” (Te Whariki)
It sits beautifully in the outdoor environment, adding pops of colour to our very natural play scape. Aesthetically it is wonderful and so pleasing to see the children enjoying it for a range of purposes. At Mairtown Kindergarten creating aesthetically pleasing play spaces is a key component within our teams teaching philosophy.
“Good aesthetics result not only in an overall sense of attractiveness and beauty within an early childhood centre, but also gives pleasure to those who work and play in the centre and to those who visit.” (Aesthetics-ECE Educate- NZ MoE)
Because I am constantly on the hunt for great inspirations and ideas to bring to work I am constantly being blown away with how many beautiful things are to be seen in this world (its almost delightfully overwhelming). In regards to this, one value that I wish to share with the children that I work with is for them to feel the same sense of delight and inspiration when they come across interesting things. And then to have the confidence to create and reinvent these inspirations for themselves.
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”
Camille Pissarro
I am excited to see how else the children decide to use the colourful sticks in their play. The children have helped create an open ended, loose parts resource for all to use. Let’s hope they bring much joy and colour to their play.
Hei konā mai,Zair


Treehouse Dwellers said...

I confess I came across your blog accidentally today - and am reminded again how valuable it is to read and share the learning taking place in our centres.... a term I used recently - "beautifully overwhelming" and rich with information and experience.

Joy b said...

This is amazing...buetiful and so child centred! The idea i have needed. Thank you for sharing.
We have lots of connector children in our centre and over the last six months have gone through huge amounts of masking tape!
While the owners are very genourous with this allowance it hasn't quiet sat right with being sustainable for me.
Now I have seen this idea we can cut up and reuse so many other things without stopping the children.
They are into making huts so I will now be on the look out for branches etc.
So glad to have found your blog.
Aroha from a fellow centre in Birkdale Northshore.
I will let you know how our children enjoy your children's idea!