Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Working Bee

Last Sunday we had a great turn out at our working bee. Parents, children and teachers alike worked hard to clear the weeds around our saplings, plant trees to replace the ones that had died, and get a bit of mulching done. We also got our Nature Discovery Shed nice and organised for the coming winter.
The following are some photos of everyone hard at work on Sunday, taken by Tracey Corby.
Thank you everyone for giving up a couple of hours of your Sunday to help us. The trees and area surrounding them look fantastic thanks to you.

Mud and leaves

We had a very fun morning last Wednesday at Nature Discovery. Our first mission was to help Archie plant his 'last day tree.' We loaded up the wagon full of the tools we needed and Archie insisted on pulling it all the way to the planting area.
As Archie and his mum worked on digging the hole, the other children found an enticing puddle on the other side of the path. Soon they were all wading in the knee high, freezing water and having lots of fun.
Most just enjoyed the experience of stomping up and down in the large puddle, but a few were very intrigued with the mud. Nova spent ages collecting mud in her (gloved) hands, exploring how it slopped from her hands back into the puddle.
Mud is a great sensory experience for children.  There is something about exploring the properties of  mud; feeling the textures of it oozing through their fingers,  that encourages our children to  keep on squelching through the puddles and manipulating it with their fingers.
After getting warmed up and changing into dry clothes, we went to the top of Roly Poly Hill and made a huge pile of autumn leaves. The tamariki then took turns leaping into the pile. As you can tell by the smiles in the following photographs, this was heaps of fun.
After jumping in all those leaves, we were hungry, so we went to Pine Cone World, set up the swing and got morning tea on the go. We spent the rest of the morning relaxing at Pine Cone World: playing on the swing, in the hut and climbing trees. There was even an impromptu game of tug-of-war.


We finished the session with some delicious fresh pancakes, brought along by Archie to celebrate his tree planting ceremony. Thanks to Katie and our Japanese visitor Yokako for all their help today.


 Written by Tash














Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fun in the rain

It was a wet Monday at Nature Discovery last week. After all of the rain in the weekend and the rain in the morning, everything was drenched and flooded.
The tamariki had lots of fun exploring the changes to the environment caused by the rain.
Thankfully, it wasn't too wet to plant Karmen's tree for her last Nature Discovery ceremony.
John had the great idea of putting some dish-washing detergent in the puddles the children had lots of fun playing with the bubbles.
Some of the puddles were so deep (chest height) that we could go swimming in them!
Tracey went to take a running leap into a puddle, made a perfect landing, but the mud was so slippery, she fell. This was cause for a lot of amusement, and soon some of the children thought it would be a good idea to join her in the mud.
To warm us up, after all of that splashing, John made some gingerbread balls. Unfortunately they ended up getting burnt, but they smelt delicious. We ended up eating piklets instead. It was a wonderful wet Monday!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fiordland Kindergarten: planting our kowhai trees

Over the past two years at Fiordland Kindergarten, we have been working on a propagation project. We have collected the seeds dropped from our Kowhai tree and planted them.

The original children collecting the seeds in 2014
This project began in June 2014; where the children collected the original seedlings to propagate. In February of 2015 we re-potted the 250 seedlings to give them space to grow. Later in the term more seeds were collected and planted.

Re-potting and planting new seeds 2015

Now, finally, in May 2016, some of our first seedlings have grown large enough to be planted up at Ivon Wilson park.
Today Mrs Shaw's Wednesday group brought the tallest seedlings up to Nature Discovery. They were carefully planted and watered and given the best start possible in their new home. Hopefully in many years to come they will provide shelter and enjoyment for the future generations of children using the park.

Children planting the kowhai seedlings Wednesday March 11
Planting is the act of putting down roots and contributing to the future. The simple act of planting a tree helps the environment in many ways:
* It filters pollution from the air
* Helps to recycle water
* Prevents soil loss
* Creates shade
*Gives shelter from the wind and rain
* Provides a home for animals
* Makes food for humans and wildlife
* Provides an interesting, soothing learning environment for people

Propagating seedlings introduces children to the nature of science, the living world and environmental education. Seed germination is a great way to introduce concepts; such as plant life cycles, flowering, pollination, reproduction, dispersal, growth, biological diversity and interaction with each other and with the non-living environment.
The children have learned that it is not a process which happens quickly, but something that can take many years; some of the children's younger siblings, who were babies when this job began, are now taking part in this project themselves.

Mo taatou te Taiao ko te Atawhai
Mo taatou te Taiao ko te Oranga
It is for us to care for the environment
to ensure it's well being
In doing so we ensure our own wellbeing
and that of future generations.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fiordland Kindergarten: Researching worms and fun in the leaves

Bug hunting has always been a cause of fascination for our tamariki. Every rock in our Kindergarten has been over-turned at least once in the search for insects. Often the hunt for bugs results in discussion and research as we try to find out exactly what type of bug we have caught, what they eat and how they live.
This year already we have investigated at length; monarch butterflies, stick insects, cicadas, wasps and baby snails.

On Monday's Nature Discovery it was the day of the worm! Our skilled bug hunters spotted a long, pink worm crawling amongst the pine needles. 
It was in a fair bit of danger, being in the middle of an area with many pairs of running feet, so it was decided that a rescue operation would be in order.
There was a bit of interest about the worm and what it was up to. So much interest that when we got back to Kindergarten, John offered to bring us a library book; which he knew had some interesting information about worms.
Charli, Sienna and Karmen researched what worms eat, which turned out to be more than the expected 'dirt.'
We found out that worms  eat decaying roots and leaves and also the remains of animals.
Being able to research like this is a great way to inspire the children's curiosity in the world around them and the more they learn, the more they appreciate the small creatures that share our space.

Even the dog is curious

At Kindergarten recently the tamariki have been having lots of fun playing in the thick carpet of red, yellow, brown and orange leaves that have fallen in our playground.
There has been lots of play centred around this including: raking the leaves up into piles and transporting them around the playground, burying themselves and each other in the leaves, throwing them up in the air and watching them fall, exploring how the leaves have changed the colour of the water in our trough, and  creating pictures by gluing dried leaves onto paper.
It is great to see the children delighting in the change of season.

This interest continued on Monday's session at Nature Discovery. Judy's group had a great time burying John in the leaves. They discovered that with such a wide variety of trees at Ivon Wilson Park there was also naturally a wider variety of leaves. It was decided to bring some of these different specimens back to Kindergarten for all of the children to appreciate.

Post written by Tash

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fiordland Kindergarten tamariki: Making links between Nature Discovery and Kindergarten

The children have had a glorious imaginative time over the last weeks playing with the autumn leaves, but now they are starting to break down and it is time to put them in the compost. 
Mrs Shaw raked up the leaves into piles for the children to collect. The gardening gloves and tools came out, ready for work. Oscar and Fergus devised a very interesting way to collect the leaves – using the sandpit rakes like salad servers to pick up the leaves in big scoops to put them in the collecting bins. 
There was great team work by the children:
 Delta sheltered Zoe as it was raining when she was picking up the leaves, and it required more team work to carry and empty the leaves into the compost bin. 

Some of the children prepared the bin by taking out some of the already made compost to make room for the new leaves. The children have become very knowledgeable about the compost cycle, relating the benefits of making our own soil to use with our propagation project at Ivon Wilson Park. 
Some of the children then went on to study what was happening in the worm farm.
Fergus: "I was scooping them up and putting them in the rubbish bin. The leaves came form the tree up there I put them in the compost bin they are going to turn into dirt for stuff and making the garden."

Keeley: "I put the leaves in the rubbish bin with my hand and with my gloves. The leaves came form that tree because its autumn and they all fall off, me and Tayne put them in the compost bin to compost. We get dirt for the garden – in the garden at kindy– or at nature discovery for the plants and trees-  it makes them grow."

Post written by Mrs Shaw