Hunter Park Kindergarten

Welcome to our Blog.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Kids are great to learn from.

art sourced from clip art
A teacher teaches
an educator inspires
a kaiako learns and is inspired, while teaching and inspiring.

David Mudford shared this Great video he found with us.It inspired my clip art creation so I thought I'd pass on the inspiration.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Hard Hats on.

Last term (24.3.2010) we were getting to many big blocks up high, so I showed everyone how to build a tower with big blocks on the bottom and small ones at the top (and how it let you get really high.) As always my rule is "Hard hats on if it's over your head." So I had to wear mine as well.
Building a tower is a great analog of a child's education and indeed for building a countries future. If you invest in a solid base you can reach the sky, pull away the blocks at the bottom and anything you build is wobbly no matter how much glue you buy to make repairs at the top.
I remember a bit over ten years ago when working as the only trained teacher in a centre of 8 staff comparing the difference to a centre I had worked at with 5 out of 5 trained staff. Both got the same funding, but boy was their a difference in the result, despite all the love and efforts of my untrained colleagues.
I ended up retraining as a secondary teacher because wages even for trained teachers in early childhood were so low you couldn't support a family, luckily soon after pay parity across the teaching profession was finally recognised and I could stay in the field I love, a field where I know I've made a difference for many children.
In my career I've seen the blossoming of Quality Early Childhood across the country, especially in the last 6 years, as all centres have been required to have 50% trained staff, a goal that was meant to progress to 100% by 2012. I've been proud to help train those teachers both as an associate and as a lecturer, my students have made me proud in what they've gone on to do for children, armed with their new knowledge and skills.
Sadly I noticed last month the untrained teachers rate having to be raised again last to bring them back up to the minimum wage, that's where we were 25 years ago, having pay rises to help us keep up with the minimum wage, I pay my babysitter more than that.
The exponential growth in budget early childhood from minimum wage to a professional wage has been an investment that has attracted some brilliant teachers to and back to the profession, giving a solid foundation to our education tower, I look forward to the last needed blocks being put in place in the next year or so.

Some more highland form the end of last term

Please excuse the crying in the background, a sad sibling who was visiting with mum.

I found the different interpretations fascinating.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Red and Orange Horses

I have always thought this was an interesting reading about a young child's creativity. I am not sure who wrote this...I will try and find out.
Comment your thoughts.
David's thoughts:Hi Sharon I'll just edit this in, here's a picture of a horse drawn by someone who's lived with and loved horses, but never seen a colouring book.

New Zealand Handwriting Font

We had a NZ handwriting font shared with us by Dave Mudford, made by David Spraggs.
Unfortunately if is missing many of the ,?(! etc. I've been playing around with Typelight, a free download that lets you create and edit fonts to add the missing pieces, but I haven't got around to finish getting it done.
Meanwhile I managed to find a reference to another font that works with New Zealand handwriting on Google, which lead me to Jarman just download the PC truetype fonts (click the link, save it were you can find it), open the zip and copy and paste the Jarman font into My documents, then open your control panel, open fonts and drag and drop (not copy and paste) the jarman font from my documents onto your open fonts folder, it should say installing fonts if you did it right.
Still seeing if I like it but it seems fine, my thanks to a learning Odyssey for the tip.

We feel it is important (not essential, after all they read books etc in differing fonts) learning stories are written in a font that reinforces the handwriting style children will be expected to use.

Your Name Here!

Sarah on our committee has set up a website where you can buy personalised art work with procedes towards the kindergarten. She deserves a big thankyou, check out her site.
She also has samples on the kindergarten wall.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Virtues for Term 2

After some thought we've picked two virtues for term two.
The first is Truthfulness.
"Truthfulness is the foundationof all the virtues...When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also be realised." 'Abdu'l-Baha
"We tell the truth kindly. Our words and actions are trustworthy. Our promise is our bond.We do not allow others to have an undue influence on our perceptions. We investigate the truth with our own eyes."- The virtues project.

For our second Virtue we decided we wanted something that tied in with Easter, Matariki and ANZAC day and choose remembrance. Then we discovered the virtues project had no such virtue in its' cards. So we came up with our own card.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Colouring Books - No!

I was given this reading as a student and have kept it because it is a valuable piece of learning...for teachers and parents. (Sorry it's not that clear).

Bicycles at Kindergarten


More Gymnastics


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Apple Crumble


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter 2010

Why Celebrate Easter at Kindergarten and how should we celebrate?

We celebrate Easter at Hunter Park because the “...happenings around the home....should be a feature of all Early childhood learning contexts.” “Links between home and Early Childhood Education programmes are important.” (page 18 NZ Early childhood Curriculum)

But how do we celebrate?

Every home is different some secular some not, do we ignore the religious aspects of Easter and just have an Easter Bunny turn up, do an Easter egg hunt, eat some HCB’s and lots of chocolate or do we include religious aspects?

The curriculum goes on to say “that programmes and resources are sensitive and responsive to the different cultures and heritages among the families of the children attending” the service and further requires that we actively contribute to countering prejudice, (Page 18 NZ Early Childhood Curriculum,) which the human rights act would indicate includes religious intolerance.
Also goal 3 of Strand four of the curriculum specifically states “Children experience and environment where they experience the stories and symbols of their own and other cultures.”

To us this means that as well as more secular traditions and symbols, the religious symbols and stories of families attending the kindergarten (including Christian ones) are encountered, in ways the families owning those traditions feel are appropriate, and that they do have a place within the experience we provide. So yes we do include some religious aspects of celebrations like Easter and Christmas as well as things like our regular grace/karakia before meals in our programme. (See also goals 1 and 2 of strand 2, all the goals of strand 3, and goal 4 of strand 5, along with the Principles, relationships, family and community and empowerment.)

Easter also has great relevance to our virtues programme.
The key messages of the Christian Easter tradition tie in very well with our virtues programme.

One of the key messages of the Christian Easter tradition is recognising our own failings. We all fall short of the mark at times (literally sin), knowingly and unknowingly. Easter is a traditional time to remember and reflect on our failings and then to move on and do better, both forgiving others and ourselves as we strive to be the best person our conscience tells us we can be.

Easter is also a time to remember the message that service and sacrifice for others leads to a better world for all, just as hurting others hurts ourselves.

Finally Easter is a time of renewal and rebirth reminding us that even when all seems lost the light of hope remains and it is our turn to pass on and receive the spiritual flame, the fire within us to overcome barriers and build communities, of love, hope, caring and kindness.

Easter Happenings
This Easter we made baskets, decorated eggs, made bunny masks and held an egg hunt where the object was to work together and children were taught, not to grab as many eggs for themselves as they could but to share with everyone. If a child did try to grab all the eggs for themselves, we forgave them and gently helped them to be a little less fearful of missing out, a little less egocentric and learn instead that it was our expectation that they think of and help others as well as themselves. Some of the children also shared with us about their choices of what they gave up for lent.

We also were lucky enough to be able to welcome two of our parents from the St Andrew's Mainly Music team. So a big thank you to Sarah-Jane and Miriam for their courage as they shared songs with us, and a puppet show that presented some of the Christian meanings they saw behind the various Easter Symbols old and new, such as the shiny paper, the hollow egg, the chick, the bunny, the Hot Cross Buns and of course CHOCOLATE!