Friday, August 14, 2009

Beads for the Bead Shop

Children are full of ideas and when I listened to two children's trip to the Bead Shop - I got excited too!
Beads can be made and we can learn different ways as to how we can make them.
So far, we have tried:
  • Fimo - coloured modelling clay
  • Egg carton pulp - whizzed and a bit of paste added
  • Salt ceramic dough
This form of visual art has many elements - children are engaged in small groups as they are involved with the preparation and making of the beads. I have noticed that children have no problems staying for 10-20 minutes at the table to make their beads - being curious and engaged is a wonderful way to discover something new.
Then, it is time to create with the beads - threading the different shaped and coloured beads involves decision making. We have just started making the bracelets and necklaces and as you can see - both boys and girls are involved!

Lee's session - July 20th - morning children

First day back into Term 3 and Lee's session got us moving.
This session involved ball play - the $2 shop prickle balls - not the small tennis ball ones but the soccer ball size.
But we started with medicine balls - talk about a flashback to Avondale College phys ed sessions! Anyway, children passed the balls from hand to hand in a circle and then, lifting the ball above their head they passed the ball to the child next to them.
The following skills were practiced:
  • fine motor - the prickle ball was held with 2 hands and each finger flicked the prickles on the ball
  • the prickle ball was rolled with a small amount of pressure on children's bodies as they moved from their head to their waist - roll the ball around the waist - co-ordinate hands in front and back to do this1
  • hands out straight with the ball - drop and catch the ball and then drop, clap your hands and catch the ball
  • sit down on the ground - 2 straight legs - make the core[where tummy button is] of body strong and put the ball between your feet - rock back with straight legs onto your back and catch the ball as you let the ball go with your feet
  • two children stand with one foot forward and one foot back - and the ball between them - then pull hard!
The hand-eye co-ordination, body awareness[as the ball rolls on children's body - body parts are identified] and the hands had many sensory messages - weight - heavy balls, flicking the prickle ball, gripping a ball, patting a ball..

Children listen to the instructions to develop their memory of two and three step instructions - that is, "hold the ball with your hands on the side, flick the ball with your thumbs and continue with each finger having a turn." Children see the actions as they listen and they join in - children become engaged in their learning.
Children are actively engaged in persevering and continuing their involvement with Lee's session as they have fun and practice their physically active play and learning.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Water water everywhere

13th August 2009

If you ever suggest that it is too cold for water the children just look at you in disbelief and who cares that it is winter time, kids and water just go together.
One child had arrived at kindergarten with a plan and the moment the sandpit was open he was in, he set about constructing his pipeline, spending some time choosing his pipes and the route that they would take. This gathered the interest of a number of children who gathered around to watch and before long, they too were in construction mode. The sandpit was very full of equipment, which I think added to the busyness, but it also added an element of design as the pipeline had to snake around it. Another child had engaged in making a river and then the two ideas came together as the pipeline was laid in the river. Vehicles, diggers entered the play to build volcanoes, pushing sand up into mounds to create them alongside the river. "We need water" was the plea.
The negotiations began as the children problem solved how they would transport their water, which at first was by bigger bucket, then to conserve some water I reduced the size of the water container and they had to problem solve their bigger buckets into a smaller container. There was lots of discussion about whose turn it was next, and how much water they could have, which river it was going into. By now there were arms of the river reaching out in all directions and the discussions and debates about vehicles and people exploring the rivers was a hot topic.
The opportunity for numeracy, literacy, and science exploration was alive and well in the sandpit as this play continued for over 1 hour, when a child called out "can we one of those red exploding volcanoes now?. He told me I had to go inside to get the coloured stuff I needed and then he instructed me on the science of making it bubble over.
Oh well, lots of wet clothes and wet people, but what a rich learning experience.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


11th August 2009

This afternoon a group of boys were busy digging away in the sandpit. One of them had the idea to make a volcano just like he had in his own sandpit. So there was lots of hard work with the spades and words of encouragement from me to keep digging to make the volcano higher. And we got there, in spite of the fact that one child was intent on trying to knock the volcano down! So into the kitchen we went to find the ingredients we needed to create the larva. There was much excitement as the red, frothy liquid poured down the sides of the volcano. "It' s blood!" was the cry from one child. Of course they could not resist putting their hands into the mixture which did leave them very red and bloody looking! The children smelt the ingredients to try and discover what the brown liquid was. "Vinegar!" They thought the white powder was sugar. Don't think it would taste too sweet! They took turns at adding the baking soda to the mix and the squeals of excitement would repeat with each explosion of froth. A great active exploration experience for these younger children.

The Fire Engine Visits

At the end of term 2 we had two visits from the Stoke Volunteer Fire Service, the first visit to an afternoon session and the second to a morning session. This was particularly exciting for two of our afternoon children as there were several family members amongst the crew including their granddad and their father. The children all had the opportunity to explore the fire engine, sitting up there in the front at teh steering wheel or in the back with their friends. Then it was into a mat time where the children sang the 'Fire Truck" song to our guests. Then Peter talked to the children about fire safety, using the big book, "Get Out, Stay Out!" One of the crew also demonstrated the breathing apparatus, while emphasising that although he may look and sound scary he is your friend and there to help you if you need rescuing from a fire. Then it was time to practise our fire safety, carrying out a fire drill under the watchful eye of the experts. When it was time to go the engine did a drive past the Kindergarten with its lights flashing and siren blaring. All very exciting and we are very grateful to the Stoke Fire Service for coming in and talking to the children about fire safety.
After these visits fire fighting play has been a feature amongst some of the children, the boys in particular, at both morning and afternoon sessions. These visits were in recognition of children's genuine interests while connecting links with the community and family and a valuable learning experience for all.

Off to the cross country

There are always opportunities to see what our friends at Nayland Primary are up to, and we heard a whisper that the cross country was on at Nayland College. Margie was pretty keen to go and watch her son Joseph running and it was a great opportunity for our children to see their brothers, sisters, peers and friends running too and of course to cheer them on. So that is just what we did, as we luckily had a couple of extra hands on deck and we had enough adults to meet ratio. So off we went................ practicing our walking safely, crossing the road safely and walking holding hands with a friend.
The teachers relish these opportunities and it certainly was fun seeing our friends and family trying their very best in the running races, and we clapped and cheered and called out their names as they ran past us. It was so much fun that maybe we might set up some running races and get fit and healthy too.

Our visiting friends and neighbours

We are very fortunate to be part of such a supportive community and we always welcome visits from our surrounding schools and neighbours. Some Broadgreen students came over with their teacher to read and play with the kindergarten children, remembering of course that some of these are ex kindergarten kids themselves. You are never too old and that was certainly the case as they played in the band, did one or two tricky puzzles, and read books with the children.

A beautiful taonga

We would like to thank one of our wonderful mum's Natasha, for her beautiful native bird paintings that now proudly adorn our wall up above the profile books and communication books. The birds depict our 4 groups, the kiwi, penguin, owl and kakapo birds which children and families really connect with when they first start kindergarten.
The paintings are a treasure (taonga) that will hold a special place
on our walls at kindergarten for all to see and enjoy.
So thanks Natasha and family, we love the personalities you have given the birds I think they reflect the many different personalities of us all. We will enjoy these for a long time to come.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Museum Trips

28th & 30th July
Our trips to the Nelson Provincial Museum to participate in a programme that celebrated Maori language and culture could not have been timed better as they took place during Maori Language Week, Te Wiki o te Reo Maori. For some children it may have been a first time visit to the museum and how special it was to be invited in by the powerful karanga from the educators on site at the museum. Lynne and I took our groups on the Tuesday and it was Cindy who welcomed us with a very powerful and emotive karanga. The children were very respectful of this formality and observed the necessary protocol that was explained to them prior to entering the lower level of the museum. Once in there they heard Cindy's mihi and a waiata, again a new experience for many, both children and some of our parents present. It seemed appropriate towards the end of our visit to be able to reciprocate and show our appreciation by singing our own waiata to Cindy. During the course of the session we learnt about the structure of the whare and the significance of this to Maori culture, we listened to two legends that Cindy related so very well, learnt some waiata and then made a little wheke, octopus, from pipe cleaners. Teachers all thought that this visit was a wonderful experience for children and adults alike and we have since received some great feedback from some of the parents that went on this excursion. And the significant learning for children has been very evident in their recall of the legends and some of their play.