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, 30 November 2016

Investigating bees – do they eat grass?

Recently our children have had a real fascination with bees.  This seemed to come about last term when some of our children shared their excitement when they received honey through their sibling’s school bee hives. 

This lead to some wonderful discussions about bees and honey, many of our children were real experts with wonderful existing knowledge about bees and more importantly honey.  What a lovely opportunity for our children to discuss and share their own ideas and thoughts about bees.  It was during these discussions that a couple of children decided that they wanted to draw while explaining their thoughts.  The purpose of drawing helped our children think with a scientific lens about what knowledge they had. While drawing they were asking each other, what a bee looks like or does a bee have wings or legs, how many?

Desired goals of science in the early childhood curriculum include what we hope children will attain or achieve.  Children’s body of knowledge develops and increases over time, and their desire to communicate and represent their knowledge should be acknowledged and supported.  (Ruth Wilson, 2007).

As more children become curious and interested I started to work with small groups to find out what was their existing knowledge was about bees.  While some other children weren’t quite as sure about their knowledge and were asking their friends many interesting questions such as “Do bees eat grass? Does the queen bee have a crown? Here are some of our children’s initial thoughts;

Isla W:  My bee has 10 legs and wings.  They eat honey.  They get honey from the flowers and mix it all up into honey.  They live in a bee hive.  I love honey.

Kalani:  If you annoy bees they will sting you.  They have stripes that tells you they are bees.  They make honey for you to eat on your toast.  They live in a hive.  I’ve got a bee hive at my farm house.  My Poppa gets the hive he has a special coat so the bees don’t get him.

Lali:  A bee has wings and a stinger and I know it has stripes.  They eat nectar from flowers and make honey.  Bees live under ground.

Finn:  They sting, bees have stripes across there and wings.  They eat resin dripping down from trees.  Sometimes they live in hives that’s where I think they live.  They fly around using their wings and they fly from flower to flower to get pollen.  I learned a lot about bees and stuff from my jungle book.  I know they make honey.  The bees drink honey and take it back to the hive, then put it in the little cave things to store it.   I like honey yum.

Tamsyn:  It has 1,2,3,4,5,6 legs, they fly with wings and eat nothing.  They live in a bee hive with windows and a door.  They make honey.

Alex:  I think bees live in trees, I don’t know much about bees I only know all about chainsaws.  Actually I have no idea.  I know they move around by flying and I know they make honey.  I saw one once on my chainsaw it looked like a little black dot.  But I really have no idea about bees I only have ideas about chainsaws.

Willa:  Bees eat honey, they have wings to fly.  They live in a bee hive, they have heaps of legs.  They have black stripes and on their body they are yellow.  They have some eyes two, them have a mouth like this.  They have a bumble thingee that stings.  I got one on my finger near the cattery, it doesn’t sting now it’s better.

Jack:  Bees have wings, a body, a stinger, eyes and a mouth.  They are yellow.  Bees live in a hive, they fly around the bee house and fly to get some honey.  They eat honey and they make honey for people.  The honey comes from flowers and then the bees make it into honey then the groceries man comes and get it and puts it in a box and then brings it to the grocery store then everybody buy it.

This term something pretty exciting happened we had a couple of local beekeepers, Karl and Nanette from Tahi honey visit kindergarten with a live display bee hive. Our children seemed pretty delighted and surprised when they arrived.  Having experts from our community with such vast knowledge visit our kindergarten created many opportunities for hands-on learning for the children to look, listen, touch, pick apart, compare, explore and even taste.

The display hive was very fascinating, there were so many bees to observe.  It was truly captivating to watch the bees and this seemed to spark the children’s curiosity and wonder.  There were some wonderful conversations, I felt extremely privileged to be part of and here is a snippet of one of many discussions:

“The bees are flying”.  “No they are buzzing.”  “What’s that noise?”  “I can hear them”.  “I can’t”.  “I can hear they are buzzing”.  “I can see the queen”.  “I can’t see the crown.”  “The queen bee has a dot on it not a crown”.  “I see they do have stripes”.  “They make honey, I like honey”.  “I like honey too”.  “I really like honey, you have to be careful when getting the honey, they might sting you”.

“Curiosity is a hunger to explore and a delight in discovery.  When we are curious, we approach the world with a child-like habit of poking and prodding and asking questions.  We are attracted to new experiences.  Rather than pursuing an agenda or a desired set of answers, we follow our questions where they lead.  We learn for the joy of learning”.  (Wisedom commons)

During our investigations we discovered some fascinating facts about bees, including that the display hive was full of mostly girl bees, they are queens or worker bees.  The boys are drones and are slightly bigger in size, they don’t forage or help with hive tasks.  The queen bee was in there laying eggs with capped brood (eggs), these will hatch as worker bees after 21 days.  The average life span of worker bees is generally eight weeks in summer and up to twelve in winter.  It takes eight worker bees their entire life to make one teaspoon of honey.  The queen bee doesn’t wear a crown, to see the queen easier in a busy hive they have a dot of a variety of colours put on the head or body. 

At the end of the visit we all had a special treat, we all got to taste real honey.  It certainly seemed to be a real highlight, after all who doesn’t like a little bit of honey.

“If everything is honey and I am what I eat, I must be made of honey…and life is very sweet”.  (Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne)

It was wonderful to watch our children displaying a sense of wonder and curiosity while learning about nature.  The bees were very captivating which seemed to lead our children to seek a deeper understanding and have a thirst for knowledge.  These are all great skills and characteristics to carry through life-long learning.
“The pursuit of knowledge is never-ending.  The day you stop seeking knowledge is the day you stop growing”.  (Brandon Travis Ciaccio)

Mā te wā, Susie

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

POOH STICKS 2016 - A special community event

This last Saturday we have just had our Annual Pooh Sticks fundraiser. The raising of extra funds for our kindergarten community is vital to its success. This event is always a massive community effort and there was months of planning involved to make it come together. There have been many parents out in our community asking for sponsorship for this event, which created a very exciting prize pool. We have also had parents spending many hours in kindergarten organising signage, sorting ticket sales and making sure everything is in place to make this a great event for all. Also having all our families get on board with selling tickets and being a part of the event at Mair Park was of great support. It was fantastic to have such wonderful helpers on our stalls, selling raffles and goods, as well as having helpers painting faces and nails. We are so fortunate and grateful for everyone at Mairtown as you are the most supportive and hard working group of families who come together, take charge and make Pooh Sticks what it is.

“Unity is strength… when there is team work and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” (Stepanek)

The strong and meaningful relationships that we have with our kindergarten whānau is something that we value immensely. It is what makes Mairtown Kindergarten so special and such a lovely community to be a part of. Without these meaningful connections we have with our families our annual fundraising event would not be as successful. So it is from the bottom of our hearts when we say thank you so much to everyone who was involved in making it an amazing success.

“A community is made up of intimate relationships among diversified types of individuals – a kinship group, a neighbourhood, a village, a large family.” (Quigley)

This was such a wonderful, fun filled, affordable day out for everyone. It was so lovely to see everyone catching up or making new connections, while listening to the lovely music. This has a flow on effect to the way Mairtown Kindergarten runs and how we love to celebrate connectedness within our community.

A huge thank you goes out to all the business who kindly donated prizes and sponsored this event.

 Also we are very grateful for the girls from Whangarei intermediate (WIS Recovered) and the girls from Kamo intermediate for performing for us.

With all the generous support from our local community and wonderful kindergarten whānau we were able to raise a grand total of $6090.

This money is going towards upgrading our outdoor dry space and kindergarten, in particular getting roll down blinds to shelter us from the wind and rain. We really appreciate everyone’s effort to make this become a reality for our community based, not for profit service.

Next year we would like to change our Pooh Sticks from November to a ‘beginning of the year’ event. So mark March 2018 in your diaries for our next Pooh Sticks race.

“Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.” (Rosso)

Once again, thank you so much for all your support.
Kindest regards