Welcome back to the first blog post of the year after our long 4-week summer break. This term is only just beginning and as always we know the children are going to be bringing in lots of ideas, passions and interests to kindergarten, which will guide our curriculum and the learning that takes place.
To all our Mairtown whānau, we hope you had a wonderful holiday and were able (despite the rain!) to enjoy lots of relaxing family time together, you may notice a few changes around Mairtown this term. To all our new families and children – welcome to Mairtown – we are so looking forward to getting to know you all and welcoming you into our special kindergarten.
As a little taster of what is to come this term, I thought I would share some photographs of Mairtown before the term began - a great deal of thinking (and re-thinking!) goes into setting up the environment so that it can nurture yet also challenge, provoke, engage and ultimately inspire the children to learn. This year the teachers met up the day before kindergarten, relaxed and refreshed, and began to put into action inside, all the thoughts that had been buzzing through their heads over the holidays.
We hope you agree Mairtown is looking beautiful (especially after it has been newly painted), and is it this beauty and consideration to aesthetics that encourages and supports the children’s learning. When we prepare the environment at Mairtown it is done with intent; the environment really is the main teacher. Who could possibly disagree with the words of Plato when he states,
The most effective kind of education is that a child should play among lovely things.
From looking at the photos you may get a few clues as to some of the interests the children expressed throughout last term, which we would like to support and foster further this coming term.
When preparing the environment one of our other aims is for it to be flexible and open-ended. Again when we do this, we need to be intentional and considerate of our children’s plans and ideas. Very often we observe how children play and invent games based around how they want to use certain resources and this is often very different to what we as the teachers may have envisioned such items being used for! It is the flexibility of the environment that supports all our learners. If we are too restrictive and rule based we immediately limit children’s engagement and any potential for valuable learning and creative thinking.
“When children are offered flexible furnishings and open-ended materials, they engage in the range of activities that foster their development and learning – moving, manipulating, investigating, building, representing, creating, communicating and problem-solving” (Curtis & Carter, 2003, p.57).
So once again, welcome back to a new and exciting year. Remember Mairtown is your place, a home away from home, always feel free to stay and enjoy this space with your children. We hope you can see how we aim to make the environment ‘speak’ to the children, to draw them in, to provoke their curiosity and wonder, to “combine both beauty and functionality” (Ministry of education, 2009).
Mā te wā,