Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Labour of Love: Mother's Day, May 2014

At our kindergarten, we weave literacy into our programme in meaningful and functional ways. Mothers' Day, provides a wonderful opportunity to write a message to mum, to express love and appreciation.We had pink handmade paper available for the children to draw on. We also had coloured pens, stickers, sparkles and gem stones.We wrote some messages on strips of paper so that the children could write a message to mum.

The joy of writing: "I can do an "H" and I can buckle my safety belt", said Henry.

Rixon made several cards for mum, returning to the art table again and again over the week. He especially enjoyed giving children stickers to embellish their cards-a self chosen role...

Ruby, with her distinctive, detailed drawings. Chrissy's coffee, gone cold as usual...

Some early cards, drying and waiting for a written message.
Emily, using the stickers in a creative way...

Seraiah, Giani and Amani
 Abigail, made a card for mum and ouma: "My grandma lives in the bush. She's called ouma"
Grace, an indendent worker. "I know how to do that", she said. 
By encouraging children to use literacy purposefully,we believe they will see themselves as "writers" who can use the symbols of print to convey a message and communicate meaningfully.
Reece, very switched on to literacy at the moment.He made three cards over three days. A print rich environment enables children to tap into a variety of resources.
Ellie happy to watch while Lila writes her message. Isabella putting the finishing touches on the packet for mum's card.

Juani: picked up a purple felt pen to write his message but put it back. "Purple is a girl colour", he said. I reminded him that mum was a girl. "Ok, it can be a girl colour...", he said.

Liam draws a rainbow for mum. 
Ruby, on her second card. Annabelle in the process of creating her elaborate card for mum.
Isobel with one of many cards and gifts for mum.
Hayley and Ciara in the process of writing their messages.
 Mitchell getting started on his message. Writing involves multiple processes: finding a place to start, forming shapes, following a sequence, working from left to right, leaving spaces between words... We scaffold children's efforts by talking them through the process and using the same terminology that will be used by the primary school.
Grace,Ruby,Isobel,Lila, Mitchell, Tayla

 Lucia and Mason

 "That's my number", said Reece.

Molly: "I can do it. I can..."

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Posted by Chrissy.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Victoria visits us for Deaf Awareness Week

Wow, what an inspirational lady Victoria Lessing is!  She is totally deaf but conversed with us perfectly even though we didn’t hear her speak.  Ellie commented, “I want to hear what she sounds like”.
She introduced herself...


Victoria’s family came with her and she was very keen to introduce her husband, Adrian, also deaf and 2 year old son who could hear but was able to communicate with Mum and Dad by signing. He could also speak Russian and English!  And lastly, Victoria’s delight in her wee baby girl was very evident by her expressions.

Chrissy had taught us to say, "It's nice to meet you" in signing, which we greeted Victoria with - she was impressed and showed her appreciation with many smiles and much animation.

She arrived with a popular story, ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ and told it using signing and expression. 

We quickly learned signing for 'bear', 'beautiful day' and so many more.

We’re going on a bear hunt

We’re going to catch a big one

What a beautiful day


We’re not scared.


Thick oozy mud

We can’t go over it

We can’t go under it


We’ve got to go through it

Squelch, squerch



Children and teachers alike were captivated and fully engaged.  It was wonderful!

Next, she showed popular colours and demonstrated the signs for them.

All in all, it was a very positive experience, the whole encounter gave us a new appreciation for our hearing and we are highly motivated to continue our sign language journey because ‘Signing’ is recognised as an Official Language of Aotearoa.
Documented by Karen.       12th May 2014

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Hedgehog Hullabaloo

It is just the first week back in Term 2 and we have had such a busy week at Kindergarten already!

Everyone has arrived to see our kindy refreshed with some of our areas moved around and new Ortex installed on the walls which has given our interior a lovely fresh look... and of course the teachers  rested and rearing to go.

We had an unexpected visitor to our kindergarten - the children discovered a little baby hedgehog gnawing on a bone on the grass just outside the fence.  We all agreed it was so unusual to see hedgehogs out during the day and we wondered why he was there. Some of the children had  ideas about why he came to kindergarten ...  "Maybe he's lost"... "he's hungry"... "he cant find his mum"... were some of the suggestions.  
The children thought we should offer him some silver beet, but he was more interested in gnawing on the bone.

Later after the children had all gone home, the little hedgehog reappeared to visit with Flekkie, our guinea pig and he seemed very interested in the guinea pig food.  So we put a little food and water out to see if he would like it.  He closed his eyes when we came close, then he sniffed the food and trotted off to investigate the sandpit while the children weren't there. Maybe he will come back again later.

Its amazing the little creatures we find visiting us in our environment and it adds to some wonderful potential for conversations with children and perhaps some further investigations. 
We will keep you posted as we find our more about what children know about hedgehogs, and why they think he came out during the day?!
Further investigations to our Hedgehog Howdee do...
We have had lots of discussion during morning meeting about hedgehogs and it seems almost everyone has had an encounter with one at some stage.
Isabella - I have seen one at my Grandma's house
Juani - I found one too! (very excitedly)
Erin - A hedgehog came to my house and Nathan saw it and it was digging a hole.
Hayley - I saw one, it was sleeping and it was a really big one!
Chrissy explained that it came to visit again after all the children had gone home and when we took a photo the hedgehog closed is eyes.  Why did it do this?
Mitchell - Maybe it was sleeping.
The teachers introduce the word 'Hibernation' to support the idea of hedgehogs sleeping. 
Juani continued the discussion by suggesting that hedgehogs maybe they dig holes to live in. Many children think they use their claws.
Are hedgehogs claws big enough to dig holes?
Mitchell adds "Maybe they have to find a hole first and then they use the hole and then they still have to dig a little bit."
Juani says "Another hedgehog helps to dig. Hedgehogs dig holes like a spade and go underneath."

The children were invited to draw their ideas about hedgehogs, and the ideas keep on flowing...
Finley - They go in a ball when they sleep.
Tiana - Its like a guinea pig but they live in a cage and hedgehogs live in a hole in the grass.
Henry - He has little ears. He can hear music when its really loud.
Elijah - I saw some hedgehogs in the wild area. Lets go look!
 So off we ventured on our hedge hog hunt!
We took a little walk outside the fence and looked around the garden on the outside of the kindergarten

Baron calls out - "Hedging Hog!  Where are you Hedging Hog!!"

We were very lucky to actually find one of our old concrete garden ornament hedgehogs - what luck!!
(amongst other things...)

The search continues inside the kindergarten wild area... under the sandpit shed
along the path way...

and under the bridge

Later in the morning we decided to search on the Ipad for more information about hedgehogs.
We looked on Youtube and typed in 'hedgehog facts for children' and up popped the Nature Series of Hedgehog facts, a short little video of easy to understand information.  Try it out at home.
The children are continuing their active exploration of hedgehogs with daily hedgehog hunting expeditions, drawing and in our morning discussions.  They are developing their own theories and understanding about the life, habits and habitats of hedgehogs. They are using a variety of ways to find out their information, but I have a feeling this is only the beginning of this investigation.  Every day somebody arrives at kindergarten with a new tale to tell about seeing a hedgehog in their garden.
I cant wait to see what will happen next!