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

Follow our blog by email

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My dream house

Lately I have noticed lots of different house structures being built around kindergarten. This then lead to lots of discussions around what some of the children’s homes are like. We reflected on what they look liked, colours, shapes, gardens etc.

With this in mind I had found some pictures of house drawings to extend on this emerging interest. One image featured a whole variety of different magical kinds of houses with details like cupcake doors, starry exteriors, button shaped windows and chimneys shooting out rainbows and hearts.

The children noticed these unusual details right away and from here we began to talk about if we could have any kind of house in the whole entire world what it would be.

Kayden; “I would have a cupcake door house. If you walk through the door it would taste like strawberries.”

"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge." -Tuli Kupferberg

The beautiful dialogue that the children shared with each other and myself was a great example of how free children’s ideas and thoughts can be. Their houses didn’t have to be like anything that had seen before, they could be the shape of flowers or smell like cupcakes. They could be coloured like a rainbow or in the shape of a flower.

Wyatt; “You could have anything like a rugby house, a cone house! A cone house would be so funny. Or a flower house. You would go in the stick and the petals would be the rooms.”

Khaia; “I am going to have an Elsa house. Elsa would live with me inside it. I might also have a Ninja Turtle house. That would be so awesome.”

"A child with a healthy imagination often views the world with a vivid and engaging viewpoint. This perspective can enable a youngster to experience a passionate childhood and grow up to be a creative and enterprising individual, able to solve problems and find success." (Amanda Hermes)
Some of the children decided to turn their creative thoughts into drawings. Using art to explore and express their ideas is a great way for children to extend on their ideas and language around the subject. In this case the more the children drew the more dialogue was shared about their housing desires. Their imaginations came to life the more they discussed their ideas, creating lots of joy for all involved.
"Imagination helps children grow up to be adults who are creative thinkers. Adults who were imaginative children often become problem solvers, innovators and creative thinkers."
(Jamie L. Herbert)
Payton; “My special house would have lots of stripes of colours. My background in my bedroom would be rainbow, and Ninja turtles and blue. When I see other houses I see no ones with lots of colours. My house at home is white with a black house.”

Nyla; “I would love a cupcake house. My house has spot windows because I’m not sure how to draw square ones but circle ones are interesting aye. The pink window is my bedroom and my room is pink.”
Peter; “I wish I had a car house like this one. I have wheels on it and a front door too. That’s my room. It’s bigger for my car bed. I’ve got a car balloon too.”

“Children are all different. Each child has unique qualities and a unique style. Some draw profusely, others infrequently, but all constantly seek to make sense of themselves and their world. And in this quest, it turns out that drawing is a powerful tool.” (Kolbe)
Wyatt, "You know I have decided I want to live in an ice-cream cone house. But it will have to be an up-side down cone with the ice-cream on the top. That would be the yummy bedrooms! Man, I would just love this to be my actual house right now."  

Charlie; “My house is a love heart house. In my love heart house is my love heart room with lots of love heart strawberries. My house is big as. I think I could maybe build this all by myself.”

Emma, "I am drawing a few flower houses because I want so many lovely flower houses. This one has a flower person body, with a door down the bottom and up the stairs. See these are the so many stairs in my flower person house."

Sharlotte; “I have a lollie-pop house with a leopard outside. The leopard has food. My roof would taste so good like lollie-pops.”

Some of the children extended their interest into creating 3D models of their houses. This then inspired other children to create their own masterpieces. It is always so lovely watching children discover how they can make their ideas come to life not only through 2D art but also by turning their thoughts in structures.
Sienna; “This is my button door house with a nest for baby birds to live in on the top. Look at my flowers and buttons in my garden. I don’t think those are in my garden at my house. I want to show this to my Mum and Dad.”

Tyler, "This is my rainbow chimney house with so many rainbow rooms. I have made it a garage which will have a diving board on top of it here and a car for the people who live here to drive. Its so big aye. It even has a drive way and a flower tree in the garden and another small house for friends to stay at. This has taken me so long to make, like days and days. My family will love it I think."

Emma; “My flower has me in my flower house. I am so big because I am an adult in my house. To get in my house first you go through the little door, you jump up on these lines and get to the windows. I sleep right up here. It smells really nice. This is like fairy world, do you want to live in fairy world? To get into my house you just walk up this beautiful path to the door.”

Ben, "You know that this house is going to be so tall with and ice block door. Yum, yum, yum. Would you like to come to my ice block house?"

Reese, “I just think that having a heart door on my house would be so nice. It would be a door with lots of love for people. My house is going to have so many treasurers hiding in it for my family and friends. You just have to go through this special side door.”

 Being able to work alongside children is such a treasure. Their openness to thinking creatively is refreshing and such a pleasure to be a part of. A little bit of nonsense and imagination is such a delightful thing. I wish that one day I can visit a house with a cupcake door that tasted sweet... the 
thought of that is just so joyful.

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities." -Theodore Geisel
Ngā mihi nui, Zair

Monday, 17 November 2014

Hundertwasser Inspired Art

Traditionally art is an important aspect of many early childhood programmes, and one we utilise a great deal at Mairtown. Historically, the father of kindergarten, Friedrich Froebel, believed that young children should be involved in both making their own art and enjoying the art of others…as this encouraged each child's "full and all-sided development" (Froebel, 1826). These are certainly wise words and a good reminder that children should have opportunities not only to create their own art, but also to enjoy viewing the skills and talents of other artists.

An artist the children at Mairtown are very familiar with is that of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Hundertwasser tends to appeal to children, he uses a lot of bright colours, often leaving no hint of the white paper he began with. He also represents many aspects of his work, in an almost child like manner (for instance his lollipop trees) and as the children of Mairtown know, Hundertwasser was not a believer in straight lines. These factors make him a natural choice to study and to use as a provocation for the children to create their own Hundertwasser inspired pieces.

Each year at Mairtown, as part of our fundraising, art created by the children is used to make calendars, cards, diaries and notebooks - and yes - our inspiration for this years work was Hundertwasser.

We began our work by using black vivid on white paper, adding colour with a selection of dyes. When this had dried the children highlighted aspects of their work with gold and silver pen, this layering process really adds a depth and vibrancy to the finished pieces.

What I really loved about supporting the children in their Hundertwasser inspired work was how I was able to work one-on-one with the children. I was able to share with them my interpretations, and listen to their opinions on Hundertwasser’s work. Many children told me stories about what they felt was happening in his pictures; I listened to some wonderfully imaginative almost fairy tale like stories and sometimes clearly stories based on the children’s own personal experiences, or past exposure to different artwork and artists.

‘Children’s interest in making art is increased if adults encourage them to talk about art and artists – who artists are and how they make things.’ (Douglas, Schwartz and Taylor, 1981)

Every child was able to look at a large selection of Hundertwasser’s work, and pick one that they were drawn towards – it was so interesting to view the art piece they choose through their eyes; how they noticed different aspects of the images and what these may be compared to my thinking, how they asked such interesting questions, and ultimately how at the end of completing their own work, all the children at Mairtown created pieces that are unique and so totally different from one another.

‘Art generates a Love of Learning and creativity; it develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. Art teaches risk taking, learning from one’s mistakes, and being open to other possibilities. Children who are creative are also curious and passionate about knowing more…art develops the whole brain’ (Drawing on earth)

As a teacher I like to provoke thinking amongst adults as well as children. One aspect of art that I am passionate about is that I believe art is not and should not be restrictive. I feel that children’s work has to demonstrate their individuality in order to be classed as art. For instance, if children all produce something that looks the same then surely this does nothing to foster their creativity or imagination. If children struggle to recognise their own work, then at the end of the day, I don’t feel that this is truly art or that I am fulfilling my role as a teacher.

Here is a selection of some of the children's stunning, and completely individualised work:

The young child doesn’t critique his work – he paints freely and with pleasure, enjoying the fine and gross motor experience of moving paint over paper and watching lines, shapes, and colours come to life. Art puts a child in the “driver’s seat” and provides freedom: the freedom of choice, thought, and feeling.

Art work in the form of calendars, diaries, notebooks and cards can be ordered from kindergarten up to Friday 21st November 2014.

Hei konā mai,