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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, 14 December 2014

Kua tae ki te wā Kirihimete – Christmas has arrived!

This week is the last of our calendar year at kindergarten before we all go on to enjoy a highly anticipated summer holiday. December is always a special time for us, there is an air of festivity and excitement in the children and lots of wide eyed stories to share.

 This year we have had the opportunity to widen our Christmas celebrations, through an invitation to participate in a community 'Festival of Christmas Trees', organised by the St John’s Golden church.

The church provided twenty trees to be decorated by a variety of community groups, and thanks to Taika’s nana Raewyn (one of the organisers), we were lucky enough to be asked to decorate one.

The purpose of the Christmas tree display is to showcase some of the community groups in Whangarei. When we were deciding what style to decorate our tree, we felt this would be a wonderful opportunity to create a Christmas display that highlighted the philosophy of our kindergarten.

“At Mairtown Kindergarten we believe in providing opportunities for children to learn to love and connect with nature. We feel this enables children to become motivated to care for and to develop respect for our community, our natural world and for all living things” (Alford, 2014).

The decorations on our tree were all created and designed by our tamariki, using a combination of  natural, recycled and up-cycled materials including, twig stars, sliced oranges (that are fed to hungry birds when taken down), sparkly ‘bomby knockers’, glitter dipped feathers and peg fairies. Our children are wonderfully clever and just love opportunities to work with resources in creative and imaginative ways.
“Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making of something out of it after it is found.” James Russell Lowell

When the decorations were complete Susie, Christine, Zair and my-self went down the road to dress our beautiful tree, it looks so stunning, and although there are 19 other attractively decorated trees in the church, we all agreed that our children’s work was truly the most wonderful!

On December 4th, our kindergarten whānau took a hikoi to view the Festival of Christmas trees. It was a beautiful sunny day to take a short stroll up Kamo Road with friends and family.

At St John’s Golden church we were welcomed in by Raewyn and Beryl and invited into view the display. The church looked wonderful with such an array of design, style, colour and lights. Raewyn had also prepared a delicious snack of shortbread for the tamariki, and in acknowledgement of their time and care the children gifted two beautifully sung Christmas carols in return.

One idea of community denotes ‘common unity’, or participating in a common purpose. Having the opportunity to contribute to the beautiful display in the St John’s Golden church has been a real treat for our tamariki and whānau. Creating decorations collaboratively has enriched our children’s learning; however I believe the most important feature of this story is the opportunity for our tamariki to share magic and wonderment with others in community. The true joy of the Christmas season is the love and memories shared with our family and friends.

Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

Meri Kirihimete ki a koe me te whānau – Merry Christmas to you and your family
Kim Townsend

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Our adventure to Kiwi North

After much enthusiasm and anticipation on Friday the 27th November 2014 we went on an adventure to Kiwi North and grounds.  The miserable forecast and weather didn’t dampen our spirits.  There was a buzz of excitement amongst the children, the wonderful part of going on excursions is getting out in the community as there is so much to see, explore, discover and experience.

Once we locked up kindergarten we all boarded the bus and had an enjoyable ride to Kiwi North.  Upon arriving it had thankfully stopped raining, so we had a picnic morning tea.  Some of the children found interesting places to eat including on the boulders.

“Excursions are valuable for everyone – children, educators and the community, for children to build a strong sense of themselves within the community and to make meaningful connections with the world outside the gate.”  Ingrid Maack, 2011

Shirley from Kiwi North gave us a guided tour around the kiwi house.  She gave lots of detailed information about our treasured icon bird, for example, we learnt how the kiwi’s nostrils are at the end of the beak.  Then it was time to go on an adventure into the darkness of the kiwi house, we were delighted to watch the kiwi running around and foraging for food.  What a special treat to be so close to the kiwi and watch their movements. 

“Everyone likes birds.  What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?  People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure.”  David Attenborough

Kevin introduced us to their tuatara called ‘Flash’, we learnt lots of interesting facts about New Zealand’s dinosaur including that Flash is only four years old, and they don’t know if Flash is a boy or girl, which they won’t find out until Flash is around ten years old.

Here is your country.  Cherish the natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children.”  Theodore Roosevelt

While adventuring we discovered a big hill which was fantastic fun to run or roll down.  We also discovered the miniature train tracks; these were particularly tricky to balance on.  Our excursion was a great educational experience which gave further opportunities to investigate and explore while extending our children’s interest with birds especially the kiwi.   

Back at kindergarten it was great to reflect with our children what their favourite part of our excursion was, here are some comments and drawings;

Emma:  I loved seeing the kiwi’s.  I saw one pecking at some food it had a very long, long, long, long, long, long, long beak; it pecked the food off the ground.  Seeing the kiwi was amazing.”
Peter:  Seeing kiwi and tuatara, I thought it was going to run away.”
Charlize:  “I saw one kiwi, it was looking for food in its cage, it ran away.”
Roman:  Lots of kiwi’s 1,2,3,4,5, its dark only a blue light on.”
Charlie:  “All the fun things, I saw two kiwi, a person fed the kiwi.”
Tyler:  “Going with my mummy and seeing the kiwi in the dark, one was by the tree.”
Mercia:  “I liked the bus ride with my Mum.”
Wyatt:  “I liked seeing that lizard thing what was it called?  Oh yeah it’s a tuatara its name is Flash and it was four."
Braeden:  “I liked seeing the skeleton dinosaur (tuatara).”
Max:  “Kiwi’s, they were eating their dinner, sometimes the kiwi ran away.”
Kayla:  “My favourite part was seeing the kiwi, it was dark, it was digging for some food.”
Sienna:  “Seeing the kiwi’s.”
Cameron:  “On the bus with Mum.  The kiwi.”
Tiaki:  “The bus, going past my house I saw it out the window.”
Payton:  “The kiwis they were running around and the tuatara was called Flash.”
Reese:  “I liked the bus ride and I liked the tuatara when we come out.  It was called Flash and its four like me, I loved it.  I really, really, really liked everything.”
Nyla:  Going on the bus with my Mummy, Reese and Max.  I liked seeing the kiwi.”

A very big thank you to all our helpers and whānau who were all so willing and able; without your support this excursion wouldn’t have been possible.  Also thank you to Robbie from Ritchies, he was our friendly bus driver.  This trip was made possible by all the fabulous fundraising efforts early in the year.

Ngā mihi nui