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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, 2 November 2017

What a surprise discovery on the nature programme


In Whangarei we have been experiencing typical spring weather, a little bit sunny, a little bit rainy and a lots of blustery gales.  It is the weather that makes our nature programme as we get to experience nature through different conditions year round, such as, squishy and muddy in winter to dry and hard in summer.

Last month when on our usual nature programme excursion we made a surprise discovery in an area that our children aptly name ‘The Meadow’, there was an enormous ti tree that had fallen and was lying on the grass.  We ran over for a closer inspection and it seemed even bigger, we all stood there staring at the tree, then wondered... what happen to the tree?  How did it fall down?  When did it happen?

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”.  John Muir

This initiated a group discussion about what may have happened to the tree.  It was wonderful how our children seemed to put such effort into thinking about the tree and developed some great ideas that they were willing to share with the group, including;

Dre:  Someone cut it down
Ryker:  Thunder broke it down
Carter:  Thunder smashed it down
Dre:  I think the wind broke it down
Ryker:  It was a big giant that pushed it down
Carter:  Maybe someone swinged on it
Lucas:  I think a life cut it down
Dre:  I think a tiger cut it down
Nika:  I think the wind blew it down
Mayson:  It split
Isla:  I think someone cut it down or a hammer
Archie:  A chainsaw
Mayson:  Someone pushed it over
Archie:  I think a giant pushed it over




I loved hearing all the children’s theories about what may have happened to the tree, it certainly was an interesting start to our nature programme.  When we had a closer look at the tree and its split trunk, we were still wondering how it ended up on the grass, however there was the added bonus of it becoming the best adventure playground that nature has to offer!  So we began our explorations of the tree, by climbing, balancing, hanging, crawling, bouncing, jumping, walking and sitting on it. 


Carter had a great idea of getting the saw and other real tools that we carry on the nature programme out of our gear bags.  This was a brilliant idea as the tree provided many sawing options as there were lots of different branches to choose from - thin to thick.  The children were awesome with taking turns and sharing the saw with each other and offering encouragement to keep sawing when needed.  We spent a considerable amount of time, in fact most of our morning discovering new ways to explore the tree.


The weeks after the initial discovery, our nature programme children were keen to keep revisiting the tree and would spend the majority of the morning exploring it and all the challenges that it may bring, finding different ways to incorporate it into their play and seemingly enjoying all it has to offer.  I loved how some of the children would report back to me that the ti tree, that had provided so much joy, was still there. 



Last week when it was my turn to lead the nature programme (also it was the first time for the new term) we arrived at ‘The Meadow’ our excitement quickly faded for a little while as we realised that the tree had now completely gone.  We will miss the fallen ti tree and all the wonderful learning opportunities and experiences it offered.  That’s the beauty of the nature programme no two weeks are the same.



The natural world is a playground and place of discovery for adults and children alike, it is a place for adventure, exploration and imagination as well as generating a deepening care and connectedness with our environment. (Department of Conservation, 2011)

I am passionate about our nature programme and feel privileged to be part of it.  It is even more special when we get a wonderful surprise, like the fallen ti tree. It wasn’t only the children who enjoyed the tree, I also loved climbing on it.  It brought back all my own special childhood memories of climbing trees.  There are just so many benefits for our children, when they connect with nature.  The Department of Conservation states that many studies show the positive links between direct experiences in nature and children’s mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being.  The studies show that regular direct access to nature can; increase self esteem and resilience against stress and adversity.  Improve concentration, learning, creativity, cognitive development, cooperation, flexibility and self-awareness. (Department of Conservation, 2011).

Mā te wā
Susie

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