Thursday, 28 April 2011

Salt painting

I introduced a new textile experience to the children this morning. I set the activity up with which coloured salt with powder paint mixed in. The main primary colours were in plastic bags. This activity required children to pour the salt out of holes in the plastic bags onto glued paper. Within this fun activity, children are exploring with a new sensory texture that provides them with an understanding of the nature and properties of salt (Te Whaariki, Exploration).

Ann, April

It's a rainbow shining rainbow

Noah has a REAL love for music and movement. Lexi had asked for the 'Rainbow' song, at this time Noah was busy doing something else with the blocks, all of a sudden their was Noah, as soon as he heard the music he joined in by getting himself a hand of ribbons that have all the colours of the rainbo. Noah has heard this song quite a few times before so was aware of what the lady on the C.D was singing. She sings, "take a little bit red (echo), take a bit of orange (echo), then a strip of yellow, and a strip of green, and a little bit of blue and bit of indigo, don't forget the violet (echo), it's a rainbow, it's a rainbow a wonderful, wonderful, colourful, colourful, shining rainbow, shining rainbow. Noah confidently did the actions to the song grabbbing the piece of ribbon of the colour he heard the lady singin. Noah showed great listening skills and shook his hips as he danced, it's great to see you so confident with movement Noah, through music you are showing the ability to listen to actions, developing your gross motor skills and your balance as well as co-ordination. Keep up the great dancing skills Noah, ka pai to mahi!


Luke doing a marbling picture

When Luke is at KIDSPACE he loves to get involved in the creative arts. Yesterday there was a whole table of children some under two's and some over two's. Luke waited patiently for a turn to do a marbling picture. Luke asked me for a piece of paper so I got him one, I then asked "would you like to write your own name", he nodded. I passed the vivid to Luke and he wrote L, U and a few other symbols. Luke is showing that he understands that symbols and letters convey meaning. When Luke was producing his marbling picture he carefully choose the colours he wanted, then dropped the colours onto the white dot. Once he had chosen his colours Luke then used the paint brush to swirl the colours into different patterns, he then placed his paper on top, then lifted it up and his picture was done. I could see that Luke was proud of his finished picture. I then hung it up to dry. Through this experience Luke is able to be self-expressive and make choices, he's also learning a different technique. Luke was very observant and carefully watched what the other children did, so by the time it came to his turn to create the picture he was very confident at following the steps.


Making Morning Tea

This morning Lexi was my little helper with morning tea. Lexi was a great help with putting the cheese onto our ham toast. Within this fun activity Lexi is learning self help skills in food preparation together with contributing to the regular routines within the KIDSPACE environment, Thanks Lexi.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Happy 4th birthday Tarquin

ECE Funding Cuts and YOU

How are you getting on with filling your sheet for the petition about the early childhood education funding cuts? Each sheet only has 10 lines, so yourself and 9 others! There are more sheets pinned to the noticeboard for you to take if you can get more than 10 signatures. You have until the 18 May (so that they can be in Wellington by 20 May). The goal is to get 70,000 signatures nationwide - prior to the rally in Hastings I heard that there were only 22,000 signatures so still quite a way to go!

There is a huge amount of research that clearly shows that quality early childhood education makes an enormous difference for children's success later in life. It has been estimated that $1 of government funding spent on quality early childhood education saves between $11 and $20 spent on health, welfare and justice. One of the indicators of quality early childhood education is qualified teachers, however the government has said that 80% of registered teachers is all that is now required and has pegged the funding back to this level. Would you accept 80% registered teachers in schools? Yet by the time your child gets to school 90% of their brain is already formed.

We are doing all we can to absorb these funding cuts without raising fees. We are trimmed to the bone and any further cuts would be critical. If the government gets the idea (or already has the idea) that we, teachers and parents, have accepted the cuts, then we can be sure there will be more to come - or other more insidious moves such as the changes due to take effect from 1 July to increase the maximum permitted license size from 50 to 150 children and from 25 to 75 under 2s (with no requirement that these children be split into smaller groups). Also for under 2s there only has to be one 'person responsible' (registered teacher) for 50 children - the rest could be school leavers on the minimum wage. Does this sound like putting the best interests of the child first - I don't think so!

New Zealand has led the world with early childhood research and our curriculum, Te Whariki. Please don't let us lead the world with these backward fiscal measures.


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Rionagh climbs

Rionagh loves to do all sorts of things while she is in dress-up clothes. She dangled herself on the monkey bars. Rionagh continues to grow her confidence in climbing the green boxes and walking across the planks. I helped scaffold her along, sometimes Rionagh thinks she can't walk along the planks but she is capable, it's just a matter of growing her confidence. Over time I have encouraged her from holding my hand to holding my shoulder, this way Rionagh is still able to feel confident that someone is there to catch her, at the same time it is stretching Rionagh's capabilities and encouraging her to practice her climbing skills, as she likes to repeatedly go backwards and forwards along the planks. At times Rionagh would put her arms out either side of her, I encouraged her to do this and I told her it helps her body to balance as she walks along the plank. Keep up the great climbing skills Rionagh you are doing very well.


Spending time outside

I aim to give Poesy plenty of time outside as well as inside so she can experience nature, feeling the grass, watching the leaves feeling the wind and seeing that beautiful sunshine, (although I don't know where that Hawkes Bay sun is today). Poesy is very observant and enjoys touching the grass and watching the wind blow the leaves. Poesy is very much loved at KIDSPACE, the young children and older children love to talk to Poesy and give her things to play with. Cleo shows a real interest in Poesy calling out, "bubba, bubba". On this occasion Cleo was very interested in Poesy talking to her and trying to touch the ball - she was very gentle. Someone else was trying to tickle Poesy with the long stemmed plant but she didn't appreciate this, as you can tell by the photo, and let this be known to the children. Poesy is great at communicating her feelings through non-verbal cues and using her voice with other children. Poesy is a very social being and loves having the older children around talking to her.

Poesy is developing a sense of who she is in the wider world of relationships, and the ways in which these are valued; for instance will these children listen to my voice and respect that I don't like this plant on me? I can say that the majority of the children listen to Poesy and notice when she doesn't like something, if not a teacher is close by to gently remind the children.


Hannah helps Rie

Click to enlarge


Dye dropper

I had set up an art experience in the art room, Zoe was busy with box construction then a little bit later she came over and asked what I was doing, I replied, "I'm just getting the dye pots out". "I wanna do one", she said. So I got a piece of paper for Zoe, at first she was a little unsure how to use the squirt droppers so I showed her how it was done. Zoe then had a turn, it took a few tries then she got the hang of the technique. Zoe became very concentrated on what she was doing carefully choosing her colours then skirting them onto different areas of her paper. I could see that Zoe really enjoyed this creative experience, part way through her picture she said, "Look at my picture", showing how impressed she was with her work.

This art experience allows Zoe to be self expressive, she is developing her fine motor skills by grasping the dropper then squeezing it to get the dye onto her picture. She was able to communicate to me that she was unsure how to use the dropper showing problem solving skills, then I was able to teach her how to use them.

Her picture is in her profile book if you would like to see it.


Monday, 25 April 2011

Mohanan on Practicum

Hi Everyone,
I will be in Marewa Kindergarten from May 2 to May 27 as part of my second field practice placement. The 3 weeks placement in our centre would be completed on April 26. What I experienced at KIDSPACE during my first placement is unforgettable in my professional life. I was glad to see our tamariki acquiring more social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills in the mixed age group through interactions, explorations and imaginations. Teachers were also trying to develop children's inner self by promoting love and empathy (spirituality). We had a lot of fun with science and numbers too!
Regards, Mohanan

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Happy Birthday Aimee

Happy 2nd Birthday Aimee
Ra Whaanau koa Aimee

Jude made Aimee a cake that just sums up Aimee a lover of the arts and anything messy. We sung her Happy Birthday at morning tea and the children enjoyed eating the chocolate cake and fresh fruit that Aimee brought in to share with her friends.

We hope you had a wonderful birthday Aimee


Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles

Libby made a wee discovery when she had filled up a little tea cup with the water from the water trough which also had dishwashing detergent in it. She found a VERY long straw from the art room and popped it into the little cup then proceeded to blow. Libby blew and blew and out came all these spectacular bubbles all stuck to each other.

I had been watching what Libby was doing then she came up to me and said, "Hey, Tamara watch me do this". I replied, "Wow look at all those bubbles stuck together, oh now look they are all overflowing the sides of the cup". Libby was being an active explorer in her learning, making her own discoveries and science concept such as, cause and effect and sharing her findings with me. I could see that Libby was really enjoying exploring bubbles and their capabilities.


Swinging Mad

As a lot of us are aware, Taneesha is very passionate about the swing in the sandpit. At almost any opportunity she can get she is on that swing. She has mastered the skill of getting herself onto the swing and taking off with a hiss and a roar. She has no limits to the height she likes to go (as high as possible). Taneesha has very developed upper body strength. She can hold herself up on the swing for a very long time, swinging herself backwards and forwards. Not only is she strengthening her muscles and gross motor skills, but she is also learning about social concepts such as sharing and turn taking. Over time I have noticed Taneesha is more happy to share the swing with other children as she is now more aware she will get another turn soon.

Tino pai rawa Taneesha!


Experiencing the properties of paint

Scarlett had noticed the paints at the easel, at first she put the paintbrushes to paper. Then she decided to bend over and start painting her feet, she stroked the brush backwards and forwards, she then decided she would paint the little black doormat outside the art room door. She ran through this routine a few times going from the paper, to her feet, to the mat and then she decided she would try the taste test. Scarlett put the paintbrush into her mouth and around her lips. Scarlett was actively exploring the paints and having such a fun time, she stayed stationary and engaged for at least twenty mintues. It's great when toddlers get an opportunity to actively explore with all their sense this is how their learning is happening, hows does this feel on my toes, what will it taste like, how will it feel in my mouth. Scarlett keep being the curious girl that you are and explore to your hearts content.


Happy Birthday Ainslee

Feijoas Fabulous Feigoas

Thank you for the many donations of seasonal fruit and vegetables - these are very much appreciated.

We have made this yummy, quick and easy feijoa loaf for the children's morning tea:
Place 1 cup peeled, chopped feijoas, 1 cup boiling water, 1 cup sugar and 50 gram butter in a pot. Simmer for 5 minutes, cool slightly, then beat in 1 egg, 2 cups self raising flour and 1 level teaspoon baking soda (don't overdo the soda). Pour into loaf tin (or other container) and bake at 180 degrees for 40-50 minutes. ENJOY!
You can also use any banana cake recipe and replace with feijoas. We have found that just using the fleshy middle part of the feijoa makes the loaf lovely and moist and less gritty as the slightly gritty texture can put some children off eating it.
Did you know feijoas are a native plant of Brazil and are named after a Portuguese botanist?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Hui at Pukemokimoki Marae

On Thursday 7th of April, Irene, Mohanan, Ann, Yvonne and myself attended a hui at Pukemokimoki Marae in Riverbend Road. The topic of the 3 hour workshop was about 'cultural identity' in relation to the new licensing criteria. The afternoon ran in line with Maaori tikanga and kawa (protocols and customs). The group of 40 plus people were welcomed onto the marae with a powhiri, including waiata, hongi and shared kai.

Followed by that, we watched a powerpoint presentation by Christine Taare from the Ministry of Education and Parpara Wano from Camberly Kindergarten. They discussed the Ministry of Education publications, Te Whatu Pokeka and Ka Hika Tia. Other presenters shared stories and exemplars from their own early childhood centres , including teachers becoming learners and children becoming teachers (the concept of ako).

We have all reflected on what we learnt from this workshop and have reported back to the rest of the team at our staff meeting. One of our team goals this year is to deepen our understanding of bicultural practice so it was helpful to us hear from other centres and to become more familiar with these MOE publications.


Baby baby

Jaz just loves babies, dolls and anything to do with them. Wherever she is playing at KIDSPACE, her baby is sure to follow. This particular morning, Jaz was very tired and wanted to go to bed. She had been playing with her babies since she had arrived (giving them bottles and putting them to bed). When I popped Jaz into bed, she took her baby with her. When I was tucking Jaz in, she made sure that her baby was under the blanket too, and she also had her arm around her to keep her warm. It's lovely to see Jaz showing empathy and care, and role-modelling attending to her care routines.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Playing in the sandpit

I was observing Akasha and Ahlyna in the sandpit, they were very busy
tipping, sieving and patting the sand in little containers. There was a little bit of communication between them but most of the time they were playing next to each other. At one point a problem did arise, Ahlyna wanted the sieve that Akasha had and tried to take it away, Akasha was very quick to communicate and say, "no, mine" and looked to me for reassurance this was a good way for the girls to learn how to resolve conflict through communication. Once they sorted the little problem out, they continued playing next to each other enjoying the company of the other, especially as they were the only two in the sandpit. I thought a little video would be a great way to capture them at play. They enjoyed exploring the properties of sand, seeing how it could be moulded and shaped which provides learning for early science while at the same time developing an understanding of nature.


Monday, 18 April 2011

Passionate about Wheels

Since Cian has been attending KIDSPACE, I have noticed his strong interest and passion for anything with wheels, whether it be trains, trucks, or motorbikes.

Last week I brought in some books with large pictures of big rigs, and a motorbike magazine that I knew he would like. Immediately they were spotted by Cian, and every day since, he has spent lengthy periods studying them with me.

Through this experience, Cian is learning matematical concepts such as size, shape counting the wheels, and building on communication skills by using rich language. Cian is developing an understanding that symbols can be "read" by others and that thoughts, experiences and ideas can be represented through words, pictures, print, numbers, sounds, shapes, models, and photographs, as well as the ability to identify and uses information from a range of sources, including using books for reference.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Let us entertain you

Lyrique loves to participate in socio-dramatic play, dancing and singing any opportunity she gets. The staff and children were treated to an impromptu concert, organised and choreograped by Lyrique. This demonstrates Lyrique's understanding that words, gestures and movement can be used to entertain others. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Surfer dude!

Over the last few weeks Tarquin and Donnagh have had a big interest in surf boards and surfing. Every opportunity they get, they are making surf boards with anything they can find, mainly blocks and drift wood.

Today I captured photos of Tarquin 'surfing' on his board. "Surfs up mate" he said to Donnagh as he balanced on his board. Donnagh and Tarquin then went on to tell me that they have put a motor on their surf board to make it go reeeeeallly fast!! They were so excited to show me. When I asked Tarquin about his interest in surfing, he said that he gets his surfing from Justin because he goes to the beach with him.

Tarquin is taking responsibility for his own learning and has fun finding new ways to surf and be creative. I can see that Tarquin really enjoys the activities he does outside of KIDSPACE, and has found a way to bring his interests in to the centre.

Tarquin is developing skills in being creative and expressive through pretend play, drama and imagintive play. Tarquin has always developed great confidence in moving in space, gaining control over his body and choosing his own play materials/challenges (Te Whariki).


Settled routines

After Cleo drifted off to sleep yesterday, I took this little photo of her, fast asleep. Since Cleo first started at KIDSPACE, she has become much more settled, particulary during her sleeping routine. She snuggled down to have her bottle and was then content to lye in her warm bed and drift off to sleep. Even if Cleo only has a short sleep, she still wakes up happy; generally standing in her cot and knocking on the window to the children and teachers :)

"Children experience an envrionment where their emotional well-being is nurtured" (Well-being, Te Whariki).


Sensory exploring

Today I observed Aimee playing in the sandpit, but thats no suprise, as she loves being outdoors and getting her hands dirty! Someone had put sand on the table and Aimee decided to explore this. Instead of grabbing a handful or using her palm to pick it up, she slid her hand through the sand and picked it up on top of her hand. Ruby came along and started playing with it too. Aimee looked over at Ruby while still balancing the sand on her hand.

Aimee loves to use her hands and fingers to explore and learn. When she moved on to digging with the spade, she would still need to use her hands to put the sand in the bucket instead of just using the spade. Aimee is very aware of her physical body and what it can do, and uses it as a tool for her learning. Whether she is in the sandpit, painting, messy play or climbing, she is confident to use all her senses to explore with.


Happy birthday Kerry


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Teacher Registration Criteria

Recently I attended a workshop about the new Registered Teacher Criteria which became mandatory this year. This was organised by the NZ Teachers Council for senior teachers in secondary, primary and early childhood. The same criteria apply for all teachers. It was satisfying to discover that at KIDSPACE we are already well ahead of many educational institutions in implementing these new criteria.

Over the past two years Tamara has trialled the new criteria while completing her provisional teacher registration. We have also updated our job descriptions and appraisal process in line with this criteria. As part of our centre professional development day and subsequent performance appraisals, we have used the new criteria to review our practice and set goals for the year ahead.


Squeezy has really settled in at KIDSPACE and loves running around his cage and squeezing through his tunnel. The children are really enjoying taking care of him and giving him lots of cuddles. Here you can see Ruby sharing her carrot with Squeezy. Squeezy is enjoying being handled and will soon be tame enough to run around the garden.
Ann, April 2011

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Green Fingers


Making a boat

Over the last few days, Jack has been quite interested in attaching, wrapping and threading, mainly outside. Whether it's skipping ropes, blankets, string or rope. Today he found this long pink tape. I'm not sure whether he asked someone to tie the bucket onto it earlier, but when I observed Jack's play this afternoon the bucket was attached to one end.

Jack began by threading the loose end through the small hole in the green climbing box, then out the big arch. He pulled it over to the little tree and wrapped it around a few times. I was standing close, observing Jack's play as well as helping some children across the planks. 'Look Ainslee, look', Jack yelled out to me. 'Cool Jack', I said, 'what are you making?'. 'Making a boat Ainslee', Jack replied.

He continued on, revisiting where he had looped the tape through to see how much he had left. Jack even tried to wrap himself in the tape, and onto the tree, but he changed his mind when he started to run out of spare tape. He kept tugging on it, close to the green box. As he did this, it pulled the tied bucket further up the green box. It could only go so far, because the hole wasn't big enough to let the bucket through. Jack kept tugging for a while, trying to figure out why it wouldn't work. He looked at me, as if I might be able to make it go through. 'The bucket is too big to fit in the hole Jack', I said. Jack looked at it again and agreed. He then went back to the tree and continued to wrap what tape he had left around anything he could see.

Children develop the ability to make decision, choose their own materials and set their own problems (Exploration, Te Whariki).

Children develop a perception of themselves as 'explorers' - competent, confident learners who ask questions and make discoveries'.