Monday, April 11, 2016

Fiordland Kids Making cubbies

The original cubbie in 2015
Most children have the desire to find themselves small child-sized spaces to hide in, a place to retreat to ,be with friends, snuggle down and  share secrets and tell jokes.

This desire and children’s survival instinct in nature comes to the fore as our children automatically make cubbies, where nature provides all the building materials, the fallen branches the sheets of bark the pine needles. The children work co-operatively together and build upon these structures week after week. 

Today was no exception; one of our cubbies that the children have used over the last three years in “pine cone world” had come to the end of its life.  Jenny discussed with the children what to do about it and upon looking at the structure discovered that many of the branches were becoming rotten and unsafe. The structure was taken down carefully and it was decided to make a new one nearby.

Mrs Shaw Archie, Finn, Oscar and Freija went to the jumping horses and got some of the smaller macrocarpa logs that had been felled.  Then she discovered a manuka tree with a big brushy head that had been felled to make way for the new cycle track, which would be great for the walls so armed with saws, Archie, Finn, Ben, Oscar and Charles sawed through the trunk and dragged them back to the building site. 

All the children collected pine needles to make the new floor nice and soft. We had a discussion and everyone thought that we could weave bark and cabbage tree leaves through the existing fence at the back of the cubbie.  But alas we ran out of time ……..

The Wednesday group hope that the Friday and Monday groups will add more so that we have a warm place to play in the winter.
(By Mrs Shaw April 6th)


Cubby Started on April 6th
This week the Wednesday group worked hard and finished the cubby with Mrs Shaw. They used handfuls of pine needles to insulate the roof. It was great to see what all of their hard work and innovation created. Now we have a nice warm cubby to shelter in over winter.

Cubby finished April 11th


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fiordland The New Friday Group

Fiordland Kindergarten is very lucky to have been able to start a third Nature Discovery on a Friday. Over the past two weeks a group of ten new children have been able to be introduced to our Nature Discovery programme. We don't usually have ten new children start at once, but they all took to it really well.
Tracey said that when she took the group for the first time, they were just happy to be outside, to have the freedom of running around in the open space. A lot of that first session was about learning the routines of Nature Discovery and to begin to explore the wide expanse of the park.
Judy took the group on their second session, the following week. During their time at the park they began to learn how to keep themselves safe in the outdoor environment. They went down to the platform where they learned that the teacher has to go first and that they needed to get down on their bellies if they wanted a closer look at the water. Judy said that some of the children really enjoyed looking at their reflections and some even pretended to be fishing. It is a whole different atmosphere being out of the four walls of the Kindergarten and into the vast open space of Ivon Wilson park.
The children have had a great time settling into the Nature Discovery programme.
Thank you to our parent helpers Nigel, Katie, Kiri and Sommer. (Also thank you to  Kiri for the beautiful photographs.)

Post written by Tash

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Noticing the small things

Today at the park our attention drifted to the small things. We are in the cusp between seasons, no longer Summer and not yet Autumn and there are so many small things happening. An oak seedling emerging from it's pod, green acorns scattered on the ground. The green leaves dappled with the first tinges of pink and yellow, red berries, toadstools of various colours and creepy crawlies. All this before we even made our way up to The Shed!

Leaves beginning to transition
Jenny shows the tamariki some berries

A baby oak tree

A collection of some of the interesting things we found

The plan for today was to investigate The Pines. A lot of the other groups had been to this area recently already and today's group wanted to see the changes to the area since the storm.
As they say, sometimes the journey is just as exciting as the destination and this was the case for our tamariki today. Some of them found a chair, carved from a fallen log, to sit on for a rest.

Our sharp eyed explorer's discovered a nursery spider guarding her web. She sat there on alert as our tamariki observed her web making talent and marvelled at the size of her. She was there waiting for us on the way back as well, possibly regretting her decision to spin her web so close to the path.

The Nursery spider which captured our attention.

After encountering our spider the tamariki became interested in the various other webs that we found along the path. The one in the photo above was interesting because of the way the dew clung to it, making it sparkle.
Once we got to The Pines we all went into explore mode. Our tamariki were anxious to get into the fallen trees and practice their climbing skills. We spent some time teaching them how to test the safety of a tree before climbing onto it, looking for weak and slippery spots and sharp sticks jutting out. Tash went over to the trees to be the spotter and the children challenged themselves balancing and climbing on the branches on the mission to find caves.

After a break for morning tea, the group embarked on a new mission: collecting pinecones. We split into two groups, one group went pinecone hunting with Jenny whist Tash's group stayed behind and practiced sawing the pinecones of the branches. The pinecones were still held very tightly by the branches so it took a great deal of work to sever them. Jenny's group found some interesting stumps and roots as well as a whole trolley load of pinecones.

Teamwork was the goal for the rest of the session. The group and the teachers took turns to push the trolley, heavy with pinecones, all the way back up the hill to The Shed. Our tamariki were so keen to help that we had to work on our turn taking skills on the way up. What a great way to learn about how to communicate with a group while trying to get a job done. Apart from strengthening our teamwork skills we also strengthened our muscles. That trolley was heavy and the terrain at times steep and bumpy, but we still made it to the top.

At the shed we encountered a friendly dog walker who let us pet her dog. One of our children had carefully selected a walking stick and the playful pup decided that he wanted to play tug of war. The dog won and made off with his prize, much to the dismay of the child.

We had a great morning at The Pines today. Thank you to Jenny, Tash and Karl.

Post written by Tash