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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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Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sharing Christmas joy with our community

Kindergarten has been filled with a lovely vibe and a sense of excitement has been building the closer we got to December.  For me personally December would have to be one of my favourite months at kindergarten, it is always a very special festive time which leads nicely to term break.  This week is the last of our calendar year at kindergarten before we all go on to enjoy a highly anticipated summer holiday.  

Term four is always one of the busiest at kindergarten with many festive rituals to look forward to, for example, making decorations, preparing our Christmas tree, singing lots of Christmas songs, our gratitude tree and opening our advent calendar.  Along with all our rituals we also have some special events that I like to think are keenly anticipated by all of us.  Every year we are invited to join the ‘Festival of Christmas Trees’ that is held at a nearby church, our enthusiasm levels were increased when we had a new exciting development to add to our festivities.  We were invited to sing Christmas songs at a local retirement home, I believe we all feel very fortunate to have these opportunities to participate and share Christmas joy with our community.

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.  (Coretta Scott King)

This year we were invited to Abbeyfield House which is a local retirement home to sing Christmas songs to their residents.  We had plenty of notice so this enabled us to get lots of practice, in fact we have been practicing pretty much every day since the 1st of November.  With limited space at Abbeyfield House it meant we could only take twenty of the most enthusiastic singing children.  We have learnt many new Christmas songs like, Oh Christmas tree, Ngā mihi aroha, When Santa got stuck up the chimney, He’s got a red red coat, and of course we sang our old favourites Jingle bells and We wish you a Merry Christmas. 

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.  (Anthony J. D’Angelo)

On the day of our performance it was wonderful to see all our children sing beautifully and show great confidence and courage to sing and talk to others who they are unfamiliar with as well as being somewhere new.  The Abbeyfield House residents looked joyful and seemed to really enjoy our singing and meeting us.  After our performance they kindly provided a refreshing drink and treats to eat.  It was a lovely opportunity to get out in our community and spread some Christmas joy. 

For somehow, not only at Christmas, but all the year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.  (John Greenleaf Whittier)

With our deadline looming to get our Christmas tree ready for the ‘Festival of Christmas Trees’ our tamariki started to design and create decorations for our tree to represent who we are and what we do at Mairtown Kindergarten.  In my opinion the most striking decorations would be the beautiful peg fairies, each were made with great thought and were all unique and individual just like our children.  I love how our children are wonderfully clever and just seem to adore opportunities to work with resources in creative and imaginative ways. 

With boxes of gorgeous decorations it was time for the teaching team to decorate our tree at the festival.  I feel so proud and privileged to hang the stunning decorations; each one is like an individual piece of art work.  Creating decorations provided plenty of enrichment to our children’s learning yet I believe the most important part of this opportunity is for our tamariki to share Christmas magic and wonderment with others in the community. The true joy of the Christmas season is the love and memories shared with our family and friends.


The greatest gift you can ever own is not found in the shops or under your Christmas tree.  It is found in the hearts of your loving family and true friends (healthythoughts).

After counting down on our kindergarten calendar the day finally arrived exactly one week after the walk to Abbeyfield House, however this time the entire kindergarten went for our walk to the church.  Luckily the weather was kind and we didn’t need our raincoats.  It was priceless to see our tamariki faces, they seemed delighted and almost surprised to see our tree and even their own decorations. 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

The best thing about this event is that there are plenty of other lovely trees to look at.  Reverend Bob read us a story, then our tamariki enthusiastically sung all the songs that we had been practicing to all the organisers.  All that singing is hard and thirsty work, in return they had some delicious homemade shortbread (thanks Raewyn!) and a drink.  It was such a lovely walk in our community and we had such a wonderful turn out of helpers with nearly 60 of us getting out and about. Mairtown Kindergarten loves being a part of community events like this and really appreciate that we were invited to participate.

Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.  Ben Carson.

I love how Christmas is a unique experience that is celebrated and enjoyed by all our children, each with their own stories to share, here is a snippet of their thoughts about Christmas;
Georgie:  I like Christmas because I can join together with friends and family and sing Christmas carols.
Senushi:  My dad does magic with his torch and makes it into Christmas lights.
Eli:  I eat dinner for Christmas.
Scarlett:  My Christmas tree is up at my house.
Adeline:  Mine is up too and it got decorations.
Freya:  We have our nana’s and poppa’s come and we give out presents to everyone.
Lucian:  I put up the Christmas tree with my mum and dad and I had pancakes.
Mana:  I had Christmas biscuits for dinner and I go to my church.
Lukas:  My dad sings “Jingle bells, Christmas smells”.
Nikos:  For Christmas I will give Grandma a chocolate bar (shh).
Liam:  My mums making a cake for Christmas.  It’s a strawberry chocolate cake with vanilla icing.  We go to the beach for Christmas and jump over the waves and we pretend that the end of the waves are sharks. 

Whatever you get up to over the Christmas and New Year holiday, enjoy, be kind to those around you, and sparkle those special moments with plenty of love and laughter.  On behalf of the Mairtown teaching team I would like to say a huge thank you to our lovely whānau at kindergarten and all that you do and bring to our community, you make it a beautiful place. Have a safe and happy summer break. For those how are heading off to school next year we wish you well on your next journey and for those who are returning, we look forward to seeing you refreshed in term 1 2018.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas.  (Peg Bracken)

Meri Kirihimete, Ngā mihi nui

Monday, 3 December 2018

Community Seed Library

Poipoia te kakano kia puawai Nurture the seed and it will blossom

This is the story of seeds, the sharing, the sowing and the blossoms. You see, at Mairtown Kindergarten we are fortunate to be in the presence of these “seeds” every day, as we journey with our precious tamariki.

Recently we were inspired to create a seed library with the children at Mairtown Kindergarten. Our vision for this seed library is that it will inspire more people to grow food and flowers, and also build relationships between the Kindergarten and the wider community.Opportunities such as this, for children to make meaningful contributions within the wider community, build on their feelings of empowerment and develop their vision of themselves as valued citizens.

The seed library itself was re-purposed from a small unused storage cupboard. We enlisted some of the talented artists at Mairtown to brighten it up a little, and it now hangs on the fence beside our kindergarten driveway on weekdays, between 8.30am and 2.30pm at 21 Princes Street, Kensington, Whangarei. If you have seeds to donate to the library but are unable to drop them off, they can be posted to us on this address and the children who are the kaitiaki of the library will be delighted to add them on your behalf. 

There are many treasures to be found within, and we would love you to come by for a look. You can take some seeds to grow, or you can leave some seeds of your own if you have some to gift.

Bella and her older sister Gracie arrived with seeds to share from their Nana's own garden

Here are some words shared by our children as we worked together to create the Community Seed Library:

Riley – “I grow seeds with my Nannie and Grandad. We could grow a beanstalk and go right up to the giant!”

Kaia – “I do gardening with my mummy and I put seeds in the holes.”

Matthew – “I’m growing sunflowers at home with my Mum and Julia. They’re out the front of my home.”

Taikura's family and Freya's family take some seeds home to sow in their gardens

Mairtown Kindergarten have been supported by the Northland Kindergarten Association and by our lovely facilitator Anna to join the Enviroschools programme. We have had these values and beliefs embedded in our philosophy for quite some time, but we are excited about strengthening these areas of our practice as we work towards our first reflection for the Bronze Enviroschool accreditation.

The children have been saving seeds from the Calendula in our Kindergarten garden to add to the seed library

Although the seed library is a visible and tangible part of our curriculum, we are also planting these “seeds” in the hearts and the minds of our children when we involve them in these experiences. We aim to foster a generation who are not only empowered to create a change towards sustainability, but who have the inclination and the drive to create real social change.

A kind hearted member of the public heard about our initiative and popped in to gift these bottle gourd seedlings to share with the community. They were very popular and so appreciated, ngā mihi nui kia koe! 

Please spread the word about this kaupapa and we hope to chat with many of you over the fence as you come and find some seed treasures to grow.