Saturday, March 18, 2017

Our gardens are laden with fruit!

It is exciting to see our trees fruiting, the worm farm so healthy (thanks to our families for bringing in their vegetable waste) and the vegetable gardens growing well.  Children experience what it means to care for our gardens, be sustainable, to recycle food waste and reuse our own paper waste to keep the worm farm healthy.
 The children are loving 'harvest time', picking the apples has been long awaited.

 It has taken us a couple of years to perfect the right conditions for our worms and it must be perfect right as it is alive with millions of the white baby worms and many big tiger worms too.

 We are caring for our grafted pear tree taken from our 75 year old pear tree below, which is presently laden in pears.  There has been the smell of pear pickle/chutney inside and outside as it cooks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We visit Birchwood School.

What a wonderful morning out we had at Birchwood School.  Ailia ably lead the way to her new school, taking us first into the office to sign in.  Then she showed us to her classroom where we were warmly welcomed by Mrs H, Miss Fitchett and the children. Everyone enjoyed listening to a story and then having time to explore and enjoy the learning spaces.  It was very exciting to discover an environment that was very like kindergarten.
Once we had our morning tea we headed back to kindergarten but not before stopping at Broadgreen gardens. It was fun checking out the gold fish, the stunning roses and the mystery secret tree.  And of course we had time to play our old time favourite game of “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
At Nayland Kindergarten we understand the changes that transition bring and so this is one of there reasons we plan excursions such as this.  A great way for the child heading off to school to share their new spaces and places with us and also a great way for teachers and friends to become more familiar with this child’s new place of learning. 

Te Whāriki  Goal 1 “Children and their families experience an environment where connecting links with the family and the wider world are affirmed and extended.”

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Preparing our playground for the 50th celebrations

Ka pai koutou mahi, great work everyone.  Bryce (Kyra's dad) kindly came into chop some branches down at kindergarten.  The tamariki showed us great perseverance and worked together to fill the Can Plan bin on the second day with all the branches and leaves on the ground from all that chopping and sawing.  The kaiako were very impressed with all your mahi (work) everybody, thank you.   The plants are in, and the trees are trimmed preparing for our 50th celebrations on the 9th March!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Nayland Kindergarten 50 years... the celebrations are in March!

It is always exciting to look back and look forward to really understand the history of our place.  Our beautiful pear tree has been here for over 75 years and it has welcomed every child and family during that time...if only it could tell us the stories.

Looking back...


We are very thankful to the wonderful teachers, families and children who had the insight to plant the grounds with beautiful trees which now give us natural shade and fun places to play.

Our gardens have been refreshed, watered and replanted... looking fabulous.

Our goal was to have a pickable plot this time and lots of edible flowers too.  

A mountain of a morning...

A glimpse of today... this morning a group of children walked to the summit of the centre of NZ, (Mt Everest actually). We couldn't organise snow so we had a flurry of bubbles (they were amazing and we entertained many tourists), Sir Ed planted his flag and the children all deposited their rocks (personally designed) around it to ensure it stood proudly and strong on the mountain.  
We were then ready to descend so we skyped kindergarten to show them our great efforts and with a last look at the view we ran all the way down the mountain, feeling very proud of our efforts. Great job everyone.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Spreading Christmas Cheer.

We were invited once again to take a group of children to the Stoke Senior Citizens Group to perform for their members.  Together we chose a selection of songs and practiced until we were ready.   On the day we stopped off at Livi's to eat our lunch and play on her trampoline and swing.  From there we headed to our performance.  The people gathered loved every moment of the children's singing , the applause was enthusiastic indeed.   On the way back to kindy we called into visit my parents so we could share our songs once more.  My Dad is turning 90 soon and he loved it when the children sung Happy Birthday to him too.  Both our audiences loved the singing and particularly were impressed with the children who were brave enough to stand and sing a solo.
Manaakitanga - is about caring for others so this was another way for children to practice giving and sharing to others.  Many thanks to the parents who were able to come along iwth us and to Margot , Steve and Livi for your hospitality.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Being the Kaitiaki of the environment just like Rongo and Tane

Children at Nayland Kindergarten are always active in the design of their environment and also the constructing and the care of it.
This includes the gardens, construction of the mud pit and things such as the carpentry house and bike track.
At Nayland kaiako believe in an evolving environment that responds to children's planning and teachers planning to extend learning for all.
Here are a few examples of this work over the past term.

Preparing our gardens for summer garden.



Children went on a hikoi to choose what plants we needed for our garden and then planted them out.

Harvesting our crops.

The broad beans are ready for picking and tasting of course!

The mud pit needs more mud!
The truck came and delivered four scoops of sand and soil over two days and children worked hard to transport it from the driveway into the pit. 


We are all ready for playing again!

“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.”
-David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An overview of our busy term.

There was a technical hitch with our blog this term but we are now back online and thought it would be good to summarise our busy term.

Our mudpit continues to be an engaging space for kaiako and tamariki to explore relationships and the wonderful properties of mud!  It would be fair to say that by the end of this fun day they were wallowing in it and it was a bit hard to tell who was who.  The laughter happening drew an interested crowd.

We continue to explore the history of Nayland Kindergarten as the kindergarten has its 50th year celebration next March and we have set up a Facebook page to find some of the children and families who attended from 1967 to now.  If you are one of those then hop online and look us up.

Our wonderful reliever Alison is heading off overseas with a suitcase full of knitted vests for children who are less fortunate and need warm clothing to keep them warm.  She talked to the children about her passion for helping children all around the world and showed them where she was travelling to.

We headed into town to visit one of our families art exhibitions and the children had an opportunity to create their own collaborative art piece.

Art takes on many forms and body art influenced by kapahaka and maori legends has been a huge interest this term.  The facial mokos and body tattooing with arm bands, leg bands and full body tattooing has seen a lot of our boys especially engaging in highly detailed artwork.

The children are very interested in planning and brainstorming their own learning, so the teachers have modelled some ideas and the children have taken them to the next level.  The diagram below shows the brain and all the thinking ideas coming out of it.   These plans are highly valued by teachers and children and are revisited with the children throughout the term to see how their plans are going.

Planning is made visible as children set goals for themselves on the monkey bars, climbing wall and swings using photos and numbers alongside to show progress so that children can monitor how their learning journeys are going.  This is collaborative learning as children choose to have their photo and learning displayed for others to see which takes courage and highlights that they see themselves as part of a learning community.

There has been a enormous interest in literacy this term with story writing, list writing for trips, recipes, book making, invitations, cards, artwork displays and storytelling and much more.  In response to one child's interest for a writing area the teachers created a space which has been well used throughout the term.  Of course literacy happens everywhere and the outside photo boards support children to find the names, words and photos they need for whatever purpose.

The teachers write the words the children ask for with the name of the letter and the phonological sounds.   Many children are writing now without asking for the words to be written and they are forming their own sentences and stories.

This has been enhanced with the use of My Story a storytelling app on the iPads where children have recorded their stories and their learning to share on story park and also at group times.

We have been talking about having a hop scotch out on the concrete for a term or two now which has now evolved into a map of NZ.  Being able to hop from place to place links whanau and grows our knowledge about this wonderful place we live in.
I shared my thinking with the children and they immediately took my idea and drew the two islands with amazing accuracy and detail.  Independently they added in the mountain ranges, the rivers and they talked about the North Island resembling the stingray.  We have been watching many of the legends about Aotearoa this term and this has taken on a life of its own as children act out the legends in their play. 

It is exciting to see children driving their own learning and setting up the environment to follow their own interests and passions.  Each day we see children setting up their own obstacle/running courses outside and being self motivated to design and test their ideas.

The teachers, children and families are always on the outlook for reusable, recyclable items that can be remodelled and reused in different ways.  Our sustainable thinking has guided us to seek out and value the materials at the local recycle centre and the many donations from families as our 'play materials'.  Our 'once upon a time thinking' of having to buy new materials and resources no longer exists and our 'loose parts' mindset cares for the environment and enhances children's play. 

We carried out a waste audit with Roger our Enviro Schools facilitator to explore the contents of our rubbish bins. We talked to the children about the type of rubbish and the amount of waste we were putting back into our beautiful Aotearoa and what part we can play in looking after Papatuanuku.

So many wonderful opportunities come our way and the NZ Army band was just one of them.  What a fabulous musical experience with every instrument and a range of singers to entertain us. 

As part of our enviro schools silver level we continue to explore opportunities to recycle and articulate water for use in our play.  The new mudpit area has captured its own water with all the rain and  has provided some opportunities for these discussions using the new barrels and water pump.  

This term has also been about getting our worm farm back up and running as during the summer months our worms disappeared.  It is now time to think about the bedding we put in for the worms and the position of the worm farm in the environment.   We have also bought a new compost bin to manage smaller amounts of compost at a time and one that children can help us to manage too.