Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's happening here.

I just love the purposeful buzz that happens during the morning as you look around the mat and see children engaged in small clusters busily working away at their chosen task.
The blocks were well in use today.
Some clusters were focused on the problems presented by the building activity in itself.
As they built they were involved in design, pattern, size, balance and stability. Problem solving and selecting the right materials for the job. There was negotiation of roles, and ideas, listening and responding appropriately.

For others the building was a prop for dramatic imaginary story telling with dinosaurs, animals and insects.

Another exploration was around size, height, balance, comparison,with all of the careful thoughtfulness and anticipation that goes into building a tower. Would this be the block that makes the tower tumble? Observers were drawn in to offer advice and make comparisons. It was great to see the children respectful of each others ideas and guiding their own and contributing to the group learning.

A trip to the theatre.

Tanya Batts, story teller extraordinaire was visiting Nelson as a participant in the Nelson Arts Festival. We are familiar with her story of the magic playdough at kindergarten, a mat time favourite with the children. A visit to the theatre royal was arranged for our kindergarten morning session to hear Tanya's story telling.
She held a theatre full of 4 years olds spell bound for an hour as she told the story of the little duck, the gingerbread man, then Grandmothers bed.

In the evening Tanya held a workshop at kindergarten for teachers from our association and others about story telling. We will be using her material during sessions as the weeks go by.

Why tell stories?
Tanya would say " to make sense of the world, and a develop a sense of self.
To engage and empathise with other perspectives, build and strengthen relationships and encourage problem solving skills.
Story telling develops language and narrative, and exercises an alternate way of knowing.(From The story sack. Tanya Batt)

Booster Rooster.

This week Jo from Plunket came to talk with us about car safety. She brought along her friend Booster Rooster who reminded us of car seat safety and the importance of using booster seats until you are 148cm tall. Each child was measured against Booster Roosters height chart, and then given a certificate with this information. The reason for needing booster seats is that car seat belts are designed for adults and therefore children are more than likely to be damaged by the seat belt in an accident. Using a booster until they are tall enough keeps them safer, as it keeps the belt firmly on the shoulders and hips. Another important safety tip is that the back seat is the safest place to be. Cayden did a fantastic job of helping his Mum share this information with the children and we could tell that this is something he knows well.Thanks Jo and Cayden for taking the time to share this with us.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ephemeral Art

This term children have been experimenting with 'ephemeral' art using a range of natural resources.
Lisa Terreni is a lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington College of Education and also a practicing artist. In one of her papers she talks about “creating environmentally friendly ‘ephemeral’ art”. ‘Ephemeral’ means that the work is temporary and will last for a short time. She goes on to say that “ephemeral art is often made with materials that are at hand and left in the environment where the work was created”. She suggests that “giving young children an organised selection of natural materials for ephemeral art-making is one very successful way to get children to re-use materials. This type of art-making involves design and patterning, creates maths opportunities such as grouping and sorting. Most importantly they can be used to deepen children's learning about the aesthetic qualities of materials, enhance an appreciation of the inherent beauty in the materials, and deepen their respect for these taonga.”
As this type of art work can not be taken home by the children photographs may be used as a means to capture the creations and provide opportunity for children to revisit their work.

So next time you are at the beach maybe you could have a hunt around with your children for some shells, driftwood, feathers, stones etc and create your own piece of ephemeral art. And any collections of natural materials will certainly be enjoyed by the children at Kindergarten and used to create stunning creations.
Watch our art wall for our next mini expo!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

That's how we roll at Nayland Kindergarten.

This week when Lee came he focused on rolling. First children had to lie on a Swiss boll while an adult rolled them back and forward, while they had lift their upper body. Then they had a turn to sit on the Swiss ball and find their own balance.Outside Lee encouraged the children to practice long pencil rolls and forward rolls. I asked Lee how to teach children to do forward rolls and this is what he had to say "bend down, hands down, head down and roll". Rolling is good for your child's brains and something you can do easily and simply at home.Have fun.