Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our annual wheelathon- whatever your wheels

At the end of every year our wonderful committee organise the wheelathon, so that children can learn about bike safety and families can come along for a social event and family fundraiser.  It is always loads of fun and the children really try hard to ride as many laps as they can on their preferred form of wheels.  It was exciting to have so many families along in support and thank you to all those families that made sure their children's bikes and helmets met the safety rules.  

This year we had 50 children riding and they did an amazing job with only a couple of crashes, which were quickly patched up and away they went again.  
Thanks to the parents who helped out in the middle of the track and to the family who cheered them along.  There was a prize giving at the end to give out certificates and prizes and a bag of lollies for the great effort.


Great effort to all the decorated bikes and children.

Great effort for safe riding and having lots of fun doing it. 

Thanks for all your fundraising efforts, we will purchase 2 bikes for kindergarten for next year. 

Levity visited Kindergarten

If you hadn't heard of Levity Beet before I am sure you would never forget him after his
visit to afternoon kindergarten.  What an amazing performer, creating music from recycled materials and showing stunning innovation and fun.  The children were captivated for 45 minutes and adults were spellbound as he worked his magic with his instruments.  We will enjoy his music next year as we purchased two of his CD's to add to our collection.

The big red bus

It was time for an afternoon excursion and a red double decker bus trip around Nelson was our families first choice, so we did it. We had two hours of fun, it was hot, hot, hot upstairs and there was lots of chatter as the children (and parents) saw Nelson from a much higher perspective.  It was rather funny to pass by the traffic lights and be level with the red, green and orange circles.  
Our trip took us out to Richmond, along the deviation, down to Tahunanui, along Rocks Road, around the boat marina, out to Founders park and up to the Centre of New Zealand Park for afternoon tea (and a lolly scramble).  Then back on the bus and back to kindergarten just in time for school to get out.  The time raced by but it was a great way to have a kindergarten session with a difference and an outing into our beautiful community.

What fabulous parents we have!

Today Kirstin (Luca's mum) came along to tell the children a special story about the caterpillar who wanted to fly.  It was even more special as she had made all her own props which were beautifully hand made.  We are hoping that we can have a workshop at kindergarten to learn this skill and what a brilliant way of using recycled resources and sharing our skills together as a community.
Kirstin had a captive audience who asked her to retell it several times.

We enjoyed Kirstin's storytelling so much that she came back a few weeks later to share a christmas story with the afternoon children.  This time Kirstin and Lara (India's Mum) did a puppet show which was magical and funny.  We love your story telling ladies, we want you to come back and share some more stories with us.  Some music too Lara, and we will enrol Lily for you.
 Now we want to know how to make those puppets Kirstin, lets set a date and maybe our families would like to come to a workshop too.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Did we let a little (lot) of Rain spoil our fun

Certainly not.
After 2 months without a rainy day we were feeling confident that our Christmas picnic party would be held under bright blue skies.
The ballon lady, face painters, Lions train and Father Christmas were booked and the children and teachers walked to Isel Park to meet afternoon children and parents who were to join us there.
On arrival, we enjoyed our morning tea and the fun began with children choosing their balloons and lining up to have their faces painted. A few spots of rain turned into a downpour as we bundled bags under tarpaulins then we took shelter under the verandah of Isel house to continue.
The train arrived and trips taken around the gardens. Children chased bubbles in the rain and then Father Christmas arrived to organise a lolly scramble.
The rain had well and truly set in to stay as children and parents headed home to dry off and warm up.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tahunanui Community Centre Preschool

On Monday 8th November we took a group of 10 excited afternoon children to visit the Tahunanui Community Centre Preschool in Muritai Street. We have a number of children who attend this preschool or used to attend prior to starting at Nayland Kindergarten as well as some children at the preschool who will start attending Nayland Kindergarten next year. I saw this is an opportunity to foster links between these two EC settings. We were warmly welcomed when we arrived and I was surprised at just how readily the children started to explore the place, both indoors and out. There were so many new experiences and equipment on offer and the children did not waste a minute. My plan was for the children to have kai time there but they were far too busy for that! However we did join in with their mat time before we got back into our cars and returned to Nayland. What fun we had all had!

I think if I was to come up with one highlight for the children it would have to be the abundance of pets at the preschool.....frogs, fish, birds and the most favourite of all, (although not for me personally!), the two rats that belonged to one of the teachers and were there that day. It was exciting to watch the delight and sometimes, the uncertainty, on the children’s faces as they had hands on experience with these animals. The range of bikes, ride-ons and cars were also very popular for many and provided new challenges and risks as the children zoomed around the bike track.

This excursion was an example of children experiencing an environment where connections with the wider community are affirmed and extended. It is about children coping with change to the usual routines and how they respond to such change. I noticed that all the children, with the knowledge of having their friends alongside for support, showed courage and took risks as they explored all that was available to them. They were fully engaged and having fun. They were showing just how confident and competent they are and how ready they are to engage in active exploration, even in an environment not necessarily familiar. They were open to new learning experiences and approached these with wonderment and excitement. I found this just so exciting myself!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Visit to Nelson South kIndergarten.

Last week we took a group of children to visit Nelson South Kindergarten.We have some connections here already as this is where I taught before I came to Nayland and also a group of Nelson South Kindergarten children came to us after the fire earlier in the year.The children from Nayland were amazing. They quickly got on with the job of exploring a new environment and made full use of just about everything.
We couldn't have done this trip without the support of the Nelson South team and also the parents who came with us. Thanks so much to you all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sarah Langi comes to visit.

This week Sarah Langi (Nelson Environment Centre) came to catch up with us at kindergarten. The children were keen to show her our worm farm and we were delighted to hear her say "This is very healthy indeed". I was excited because sometimes I had not really known what I was doing at all. We then emptied the bottom layer of the farm and collected the worm wees or liquid gold as people in the know call it. We diluted this down and then used it as fertiliser on our own Mt Wharepapa iti ( where we have recently planted grasses on the mound behind the slide).
At mat time Sarah brought her own worm farm to teach us more about caring for ours. We certainly learned some fascinating facts about worms, for instance they have no eyes, and baby worms grow in a cocoon which caused a bit of confusion for some children.
Sarah then handed out trays of worms for all the children to look at . The looks of fascination on the childrens faces was brilliant to watch. If you want to know more about worm farming ,feel free to come and ask and also ask your child to show you ours.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A magic place

We often talk about Nelson as a beautiful place to live and a recent newspaper survey has shown that Stoke is a very popular place to live too.  You no sooner walk out your door and you can be cycling the hills, walking the beach or exploring the arts and cafes.
We sometimes forget to look even closer still at the beautiful things around us, and that is just what we did at kindergarten this week.  Check out our beautiful flowers and trees, have you noticed them inside the kindergarten grounds?

The children are always very keen to help us look after the gardens, to water and plant.  They now have a magical playground, which is very natural and beautiful to play in everyday.  The plants are now attracting birds back into the playground and different smells happen as the children explore the many special places.
Rolling down the tunnel and off into the flaxes, travelling down the yellow slide and passing under the flax leaves.  Pushing through the plant forest beside the tunnel and out onto the stone pit, creates lots of different smells and textures brushing over your skin.

Climbing Mt Wharepapa Iti and looking into the distance to see Mt Wharepapa (Mt Arthur stands regally over the Nelson Area).  We are thinking about writing a legend about how our little mountain arrived here and the children are now showing an interest after planting their grasses on the mountain.

When summertime comes we are blessed with a natural shade canopy to protect us all from the sun.  The trees growing in our playground have been here for generations before us, especially the pear tree which is now 50+ years old.

We no longer climb the pear tree as we want it to stand strong for a long time to come.
The children are allowed to nestle in the natural alcove that the branches form at the bottom of the tree.

Sarah from Nelson City Council visited today to checkout our worm farm and bokashi and she thinks our environment should be an "Enviro School" right now.

Take the time to enjoy the natural playground, and remember adults have permission to play in it too.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reduce Reuse Recycle

At kindergarten our committment to sustainable practices can be seen as we compost our food and garden waste, feed our garden with the goodness produced by our worm farm and the bokashi bins. We reuse some of our un named paintings by over painting them and using them as backgrounds for screenprinting and drawing. We encourage no waste lunch boxes and are experts in using all kinds of recycled materials for construction and other play.
Our recent excursion to the recycling centre was an opportunity to get a bigger picture of what happens to the rubbish we generate in our homes each day.
It was also an opportunity for children to connect with the wider world of work as we met Noahs Dad and Uncle who work at the recycling centre. We saw the shop where items are sorted for resale and reuse and then the shed which is filled with plastic, glass, card paper and tins to be sorted and sent off to plants around NZ to be remade into other products such as buckets, rulers,egg cartons and roading material. We saw the hopper where items destined for the landfill are crushed in preparation. Coming back to kindergarten with items from the reuse shop we were full of ideas for possible uses. Will there be a robot or a pirate ship at kindergarten soon ? We will see.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A morning in a magic place

We were off to visit a family's farm for the morning, 10 morning children and 7 adults were off on a farm adventure with their backpacks on their backs and morning tea for the adults and the animals.
A short drive out past Brightwater, around a few windy roads and a step drive and we had arrived to a magic place.
The animals were there to greet us, the sheep, lambs, calf, cow, pigs, dogs, chooks, and birds were awaiting our arrival.

It was so peaceful, the sun was shining and we made a decision
that this could have been a week long excursion.  We were in heaven sitting up there looking down the valley.
Morning tea over we set off into the forest, heading up to the top of the hill after the very energetic children, who were excited by their new surroundings.  Reaching the top we had to call out and tell them to stop, as they were ready to go on much further.  "Where are we?" I asked.  "In the North Island" was their reply.  Not letting on of course, some of us felt like we had tramped that far too.

We thought walking up hill was hard work, well we were in for a treat as the boys decided to take the quick way down.
This is one of those moments when you wished you had worn the right shoes, all those pin needles start to move at speed and so do you.  Lots of fun and it didn't take us long.  The children had not run out of energy or steam they were ready to go again. Now it was time to check out the treehouse, what a great place to play and it would be fun to sleep up here too. Wow, you can even slide out of it, slow and slippery but lots of fun.  A climbing wall was attached and ladders to go up to the hut ontop.

How did time pass so quickly, it was time to go home and time to say goodbye to the animals and the wonderful family that had invited us. 
Thanks to N's family for the wonderful morning and thanks to all our helpers, I know that you didn't want to leave either.