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.


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