Hunter Park Kindergarten

Welcome to our Blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Counter up

Finally got the counter and visitor map up on Friday, I will change it to NZ time when I get a chance. Hopefully it will give us a good idea of the use people are making of our blog.
Putting the map on was easy, the counter took a bit more effort and figuring out, (we had to sign up to bravenet and then set up the counter, find the right place on layout and copy and paste a script, but is easy once you master it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Visit to Lindsay Bush-Celebrating 80 years

Today we celebrated 80 years of Heretaunga Kindergarten Association by visiting Lindsay Bush.
Being able to see things like a Kahikatia tree we meet in songs like "E tu Kahikatia" just helps make the knowledge more real and puts it in context. The forest had many different trees, serving many different roles we talked about as we explored. To be able to stare up the trunk of nga rakau roa ki roto i te ngahere and wonder were the top is.The vines reminded one boy of the rigging he's been putting on the masts of his pirate ship he's been making over the last two weeks.We could hear te tangi o nga manu in the trees, and sometimes see their nests (kohanga) and the birds them selves.As well as giants the forest had ferns and moss. "he whakapai uruora" we go towards goodness through the help of those around us.One particular favourite was the spider webs, as we passed them our parents were prompted by the sights to start sharing stories, our community of learners sharing their knowledge.Some trees were just so big you had to see what was on the other side.
You couldn't help wonder, could you climb them?Small caves drew us in to find who lived in them.
And some trees just had all of us adults and children exploring our disposition to ask questions and enquire.
Moss, grubs, beetles.
Families in the forest
To help celebrate we dressed up. You never know who you might see in the woods. We invited local story teller Mary and her husband Peter to come share stories and songs with us. She tucked a horse into bed with the help of one strong boy.
We counted 39, whoops 38 monkeys in a tree.
We pulled up the most enormous turnip and much much more.
Learning in Early Childhood is learning in context, hands on, real life.
It is holistic, each piece taken together as part of a broader picture.
It is formed by communities interacting with everything around them giving us all a sense of belonging.
It is exploring, curiousity, imagination. It is the sights, sounds, touch, taste and feel of our own and other cultures.
It is safe and at the sametime challenging and wonderful.
It is driven by the contributions of everyone to the baskets of knowledge, the quests to explore, children and adults.
It is about a rich web of language and communication on which the knowledge is hung.
It fosters the dispositions that will drive learning all through life.
It gives love and recieves it.
It is for the past, the future and the present
It is for every person, every age, every thing.
For us, 80 years on, it is still growing, guided by all around us.
E tu kahikatia
he whakapai uruora
awhi mai, awhi atu
tatau tatau e.
kia ora e hoa ma, kia ora te whanau, kia ora te ao.

Blast from the past-Shark

I got a chance today to add in one of the stories we missed posting earlier in the year. Jo caught this dogfish/shark over the Easter break and knowing the children's interest in the sea following our rocky shore trip explored it with the children. One child shared his knowledge of how sharks swim by showing the others in the water trough we set up. The texture of it's skin was fascinating as was the firm and soft spots of it's body. Guided by photos from the internet and the fish book we got from the aquarium Jo then opened up the shark in response to the children's interest to see inside it. It was challenging to identify the fresh parts compared to the perserved specimen in the photo's but I drew on my zoology back ground to help Jo and explain about the different parts relating them back to the children's bodies. I also tried my best to give the names in Te Reo Māori, such as te whane ate, te puku, te niho, also tying in our favourite waiata "Mako."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Curriculum Presentation and PD

On the 4.11.08 we re-presented our workshop out lining how we assess, our curriculum, the community of learners and our links to the school curriculum to an interested group of new entrants teachers and principals. This went down very well despite conflicting with Melbourne cup day (I'm sure we booked in first.)

We did it again in summary form to our association on the 12.11.08 at a full staff meeting (thanks for the supportive emails guys) before Jo and I raced off to Ongaonga for "Science fiction is real" put on by the CHB Principals association. There we had a lot of fun learning about digital storybooks, robots, and a variety of cameras.
We finally made it home about 9:30pm, tired after a week of late nights getting our presentations ready, but full of great new ideas.

Remember the Christmas party is now on the 11th of december.
Lindsey Bush trip next week on the 18th.
Special lunch on the 18th of December with the children cooking.
I'll be away on the 24th of November on the kidsmart computer training day, we'd hoped we all could attend but due to the timing we can't.
Thanks to the team for swapping non contact times so I can go.

Dam Builders

Building on Monica's splitting the hose into two, last week I added a third split this week.
One of the fun things that resulted was the children asking for wood for the dam slots. I cleaned them out with them and fitted new wood, soon we had some great dams.
We found the new rollers float.

One boy called me to show me he'd made the hose into a two laser, he went on to make it into a three laser, a five laser and a spread. He described how one path was high pressure and another low and then how after he'd adjusted it they were the same pressure, explaining his reasoning by describing how the high pressure water squirted up higher and farther than the low pressure.

He and his friends wanted to know what would happen if we pulled out the dam, I asked them for their hypothoses and then we tried it to experiment and observe. But the wood had swollen in the slots and was now firmly wedged in. A new experiment began as they tried different ideas to remove the dams, drawing from a range of sources and knowledge bases including at one stage sharpening a saw to help it cut by hitting it with a hammer as seen on Sponge Bob. This lead to a demonstration of how to sharpen a chisel.
I found the vibration effects on the water from the saw fascinating. David

Jo's Volcano Art

Jo's introduced some amazing art ideas outside this week, using a range of media including cornflour past, shaving gel, whipped up gloop and decorating it with dye to form volcanoes from which the children have made a number of prints.

Pipettes, sticks and other creative materials have all been used to create the designs and meanwhile Jo's taken the oppertunity to share books about volcanoes alongside the artists.


Skyping Lucknow re geckos

Our friends at Lucknow were keen to contact us about our Geckos having seen them on the blog. We couldn't get the drivers we downloaded, for the one Pam from Arataki gave us, to work so rather than wait to get her disks we picked up a $25 web cam in town. Then we found the software didn't work for that, but after we downloaded new drivers for it, and found the folder it couldn't find by itself, we finally got it going and set up.
An initial trial with the teachers and then a few of our children showed speakers rather than headphones were needed so we unplugged the heaphones and on went the speakers.The next day we called Lucknow, waiting on line for them through out the morning but all we got was away from keyboard and no reply. Instead we practised looking at ourselves in the web cam, which was very entertaining as it behaves differently to a mirror. With a new date and a specific time before 11 am (after they tried to Skype us during our children's lunch) sorted out we got connected on Monday 10.11.08. Their children asked our gecko experts and our teacher David about Geckos and then our children chatted to their teachers getting used to the idea of a video link while they had group time.
Skype tips:
The default for Skype is to turn on when you turn on your computer. Go to options and you can change this to only turn on when you want it. Set who's allowed to call you and to see if you have video at the same time.
Have the web cam plugged in when you turn on the computer.
Arrange a specific date and time for calls. (Very important)
But the time you get lots of plugs, a mouse, a web cam, speakers set up a laptop will lose mobility. While a web cam can be moved around a laptop with all these built in would be good.
Ear phones are great for one on one but not groups.
If linking to t.v./ monitor as well as the laptop, video will play on one or other, go to control panel , display, settings, advanced options, display and push the button to select the one you want to watch video through. Not sure if this is true for skype but it works for movies.
Once set up skyping itself is easy. You select you contact, you push a button, you talk.
It takes practise to feel confident talking to someone you can see, and moving and gesturing on screen.
It would be great to leave it going for the kids to talk to each other I think, so as to see where they take it.

Old Office, New Science Room

Ben and Mike got busy on Friday tha 7th and again on the 8th converting the old office into our new science rooms. Just a bit more to go this weekend and we'll be ready to move in and add the second story to the frog house and make a new cricket breeding tank.Out came the window and the wall.
Off came the door, to be turned into a wall. Up went the shelves.
Mike's going to be replacing the eyebolts on our swings for us as well.
Thanks guys for the great work.