Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Children's Carpentry

This is some of the fantastic Carpentry the children created on monday. Amoungst them were a car, a boat, and some tools to help people.
The children really enjoy construction and really enjoy sharing their work with us at mat times.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Coming to the end of the year

As we approach our last week of kindergarten for the year, we have been engaging in some festive activities, the christmas tree is up and the kindergarten decorated. The children have been creating some wonderful peices of art work and gifts for family and santa, we have been making some special treats, enjoying christmas music, and as popular as ever the children have been enjoying the warmer weather - getting wet! swimming, using the sprinkler and enjoying water in the sand pit!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jo's Observation Day

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go and observe other education providers at work. I was specifically interested in observing how other teachers are developing children's critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills are vital to enabling our children to be able to make reasonable, sensible choices and judgements. This involves being able to see the facts, decide what is good/bad (evaluate), thinking about new ways to do things (innovation and creativity), discussing, cooperating, collaborating and negotiating (social and communication skills required as part of community) as well as many other skills. Coupled with this are the attitudes and values children display that support their ability to continue to learn and manage themselves independently and as part of the communities they live in.

I visited Leamington Kindergarten in Cambridge in the morning. I was able to look at their documentation that used language associated with 'The Habits of the Mind' (see curriculum links). We are already using this language in our learning stories and tracking these Habits of Mind but it was really affirming to see others also taking this pathway in their documentation. I had a lovely morning and it was inspiring to see another learning environment (with lots of beautiful space!!! Sigh!).

In the afternoon I visited the Transition (new entrant class) at Hukanui School. I approached Hukanui School because they have a very strong focus on developing children's critical thinking skills. They use De Bono's six thinking hats predominantly but employ a wonderful range of other strategies that require children to apply deep thinking that goes beyond brushing the surface of the obvious or superficial (see archives). Hukanui are also very proactive about using ICT tools to support learning and teaching which is an obvious interest of ours at Grasslands Kindergarten. Although I did not see this utilized on this particular occasion I was able to video the class in action and photograph them and provide them with a CD to play back at a later date.
I was treated to a wonderful afternoon of Oobleck making (I suggest you google's very cool!)

The use of De Bono's hats to engage children's thinking was extremely effective. I was reminded that our children are very capable innovative thinkers (well I did know that but it was inspiring to watch another practitioner in action drawing out the children's ideas and valuing their contributions like we do here). I can see merit in using the thinking hats at kindergarten as it helps children identify the thinking that is required to gather information, process it, use and evaluate it. I was pleased to see that we are well on our way to developing critical thinkers at Grasslands.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our link sites- Let your fingers do the clicking!

Have you visited our other sites? Down the right-hand side of this blog you will find other Curriculum sites you can click on and visit

  • Transition to School
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Blogging Know How
  • Habits of the Mind
These sites also have some web links to useful and informative web sites for you to browse.

Please Note:
I have recently discovered why most of you have not been able to access these weren't given permission to do so. If you get invites to our sites in your email box please accept these and add these sites to your favourites/bookmarks on your top bar.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Collaboration in Face Painting

A georgous event occured at the end of term three and was recently discovered in a tidy up of photos I have taken. This was a precious moment that captulated collaboration, team work and persistance. Great face painting Arama. Ally

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Dog

The children are passionate about cats and dogs with the discovery of the animal dressups. This book and CD with it is very popular and well known as demonstrated by our friend Elizabeth.

A precious moment to share!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

St John's Ambulance Visit with Graham North

The children have had a growing interest in doctor's and nurse's and caring for one another's injuries. From the children's growing interest we decided to invited the St John's Ambulance along for a visit to show us all the tools and instruments they use to help people. Thank you to Graham North from St John's for taking the time to come along to kindergarten today.


Thursday, October 23, 2008


We have been learning the haka and we have been watching this video to learn the words, the moves and get the mood. This is a favourite as is the gingerbread man haka!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Music Visit from Rob Gale

This morning we had Rob Gale visit us from The Funkeys and demonstrate a part of their CD with the tamariki. It was fun and our children were amazing with their listening, thinking and manners.... we can be so very proud of them ......they rock.

We have purchased the CD's to add some variety to the music we have. What we have heard so far is very good. The children have been engaged in the music he shared this morning throughout the session upon their initiation which is a great indication of what they think of it!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mother Hen's Visit

What an occasion!! Houdini visited kindergarten today and recieved lots of hugs and cuddles from the children and staff today. She is the aunty to the two chicks that also visited.... Thank you to Ra, Jahrome's mum for bringing them in to share with us. What an awesome experience for the tamariki as we don't all get to have chickens in our back yard!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nana's chickens!

Jahrome arrived with his nana very excited about the baby pepe she had at home. We sent him home with the camera to take photos to bring back to share with us and this is the result. Great work Jahrome. They are so cute.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Double click on this notice to read about

staffs visit to Christchurch and see their photos.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Axolotl Eggs

Click to play The Axolotl Eggs
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The other morning we arrived at kindergarten to discover the Axolotl tank full of axolotl eggs.
Our two axolotls had been very busy! An axolotl can lay anywhere from 300 to 1100 eggs in one spawning! They are coated in a gelatinous coat which sticks to the surfaces inside the tank, and is absolutely revolting to touch! However the children were very intrigued. We had to clean the tank out because they were everywhere. Hatching and growing baby axolotls requires time and attention and is not suitable at this time of year because we are heading towards the christmas holiday break, it is something we will consider in the new year. In the mean time we have taken away their light in order to keep the water tempurature down to reduce the chance they will try again!

We had them muddled up too! Our female is the dark one and our male is the light/white one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our Fish

The children have been very active this week using the kindergarten camera's around our enviornment and at home. This is a photo Cameron took of our blackmore fish at kindy this morning. It was such a great shot i had to share it with you all.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aragorn's Kitten Shreke


On Tuesday afternoon we were lucky enough to have Aragorn and his mum bring in Aragorn's cat Shreke. She was beautiful, the children had an opportunity to pat her while Aragorn's mum explained where she came from, how she likes to be held, and how much she loves children.
The Tamariki really enjoyed meeting her. Thank you so much to Aragorn's mum, Aragorn and Shreke for coming to visit us at kindergarten and sharing your family pet.

Renee's animal family

Renee was very excited to share her photos this morning on bring your pet to kindergarten day!
Great phots that she shared with the children at mat time of Kiwi her grey cat,Joe the dog who went hunting with her and Larry her white cat. Renee even documented her own photograhy of the photos to share on the blog with everyone (on the Right)"I'll take my own photos". Sally our reliever had seen Renee's blog with her nana who works at another kindergarten very cool!!!!! Thanks for bringing them in to share Renee.

Tyne's Cool Cat and Gelayahs Octopus

Tyne created a cat for bring a pet to kindergarten day. It was awesome.

Mum helped me make it. I painted the face on it and helped ti stick its face on.

We loved the fur on Tynes cat it felt so soft just like our zebra blanket! Thanks for making the effort guys we appreciate it.

Gelayah aslo contributed by making an octopus at home with her family and sharing it with the tamariki at mat time today awesome work Gelayah.

Hannah's Cat

Make your own pet and bring it to kindergarten Day.
Today Hannah shared her pet at mat time to the children. She described the butterflies as the cats ears - butterfly ears! The whiskers and tail were the same materials.
My mummy put some spots on it and my dad put the ears in , the whiskers in and the legs in and my daddy put the tail in too. He put all the hard things in for me.
I painted it. There was two eyes, a nose and a mouth. I got the box from my gagarge for my mail and my cat to rest in.
Hannah made a beautiful picture on paper of two cats sealed in an envelope for us to open.
Great working together as a family to achieve a special sharing momnet for Hannah. Thanks guys!!!
The picture at the top was taken by Jahrome a friend of Hannah's exploring the camera and its uses LOL

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rhode Street School Visit

Here are just a few photo's from our visit to Rhode Street School on wednesday. We had a great time exploring Miss Ryan's classroom and all the fun things she had for us to do, along with playing on the school playground. We visited the new library and Miss Ryan read us a story. We made it back to kindergarten just in time to beat the weather!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hi Kodi!

Hi Kodi we thought this would be a great way for us all to say hello to you. We hope your leg is feeling better and we will see you soon because we miss you! Take care and enjoy the video just for you. Ally

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Room 9 and Miss Ryan from Rhode Street School

We are so lucky to have a great relationship with Miss Ryan at Rhode Street School. She makes time to regularly vist the tamariki at Grasslands Kindergarten building relationships in preparation for school. It is an fantastic opportunity for her children to revisit their time and friends at kindergarten when she brings children with her and great for our children to catch up and find out about school from their friends. Next week on the 10th September we have a recriprocal visit to Rhode Street School by the Grasslands Kindergarten children.

We are developing a transition to school video for you with the help of Miss Ryan and her children who have been busy videoing all the things that they think is important for our children to know about this space!!!!!


A few weeks ago we had Anita with us and I recently discovered some videos that I meant to put up but hadn't got around to it so here they are.

A great learning moment for everyone and lots of fun! Ally

Ngaikiha Jam Tin Walking!!!!

Ngaikiha what an achievement. You had been practising earlier on the jam stilts walking and balancing. When you headed for the steps I thought oh no but I didn't stop you because I figured if you thought you could do it you would. My heart was in my mouth following you up the steps with one hand out ready to catch you!!!! What a risk taker you have become at kindergarten. Your confidence in yourself and exploring the environment has grown immensly. We are very proud of you. Ally

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome to our new Friends Bill and Ben AXOLOTLES Mexican Walking Fish

Our new friends Bill and Ben have arrived at Grasslands Kindergarten. Abby's mum has had them at her kindergarten in Tokoroa and sent the boys to be with us....thankfully Abby is a great mum to them and will keep a close eye on them. They will become more active in the warmer monthe in the water and are a treat to watch feed. They don't have very good manners and snatch their food quite quickly!!!!! We have a book by them if you are interested in finding out more.

This was really exciting to observe the children exploring the blog through their own initiation. They have the knowledge and the skills to move the mouse around and make choices on what they are wanting to watch, revisiting their learning and cementing the knowledge. Awesome!!!!As you can see the Ruben visit was a great success and really enjoyable for the children. Ally

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Click to play Mad Hatter's Tea Party
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Sunday, August 31, 2008


Even the big boys love being at kindergarten.

Sometimes as parents we need to have our children with us at kindergarten. As part of my team philosophy as working mums it is a way of supporting each other and gives everyone in the kindergarten environment an opportunity to get to know the teachers families. As big as our children are they still love the freedom of creativity, exploration and learning that our environment offers. They are great role models for the children and build strong relationships with our children.

Cameron had just had his leg in plaster and was spending a quiet day at kindergarten with me and the kindergarten children. I snapped him enjoying some time with Aragorn on the ukeleles. I watch this as his mum and feel so proud of him and of his caring interactions with the children and helpful manner with the staff and get warm fuzzies. This must be how you all feel seeing videos of your children and their play, learning and fun on the blogg. Appreciating this and my sons reaction to seeing himself encourages me and excites me to continue to keep going with the blog knowing that you will all get it as you contunue to look and explore it. You will know what it is when you get it!!!!!!

Watch this space too for the bigger boys who visit kindergarten ie Fluffy the Truck Driver with the 'toot toot' for the children and Brendon who loves working at the carpentry table!!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goat Visit

On Tuesday we had a special little surprise visitor brought in by one of our grandparents and her mokopuna, Galaeya.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just popping down for a visit!

Our unexpected visitors!

Double click on the story to enlarge then use your back arrow to return to the blog site.

Have you noticed the other links?

Have you noticed the other sites that we have built for you? We have a:

Blogging information site

Literacy site

Numeracy site

Transition to School site

These can be acessed by clicking on top of the words. There is lots of useful information for you and also links to educational sites.

Please take time to have a look and make comments on things you would like us to add or you would like to know more about. Also if you have any useful tips post these under comments. We love hearing from you.

Our new rat


This morning we introduced the tamariki to our new male rat. He is 5-6 weeks old and rather a wee cutie. We discovered when Miss Ryan (Rhode Street School) and some of the new entrants were visiting that our boy can move really fast and is a good hider! He was dropped in the outside playground and went under the decking by the big tyre. We eventually got him to pop his head out and as he turned I managed to grab his tail. Whew! We are have named him Ratbag. Miss Ryan suggested he was a bit of a ratbag and we agreed!

He is a new rat to replace our darling wee girl Pinky who we had to sadly have put down a week ago.

Miss Pinky


Friday, August 15, 2008

Learning independently

Ngaikiha uses the hoops in a way that is different from the other ways hoops usually get used in the environment. She is thinking carefully about what she wants to make happen and sets about testing ways to do this. She persists until she succeeds then goes on to try another way of balancing the hoops using more hoops. She is extending her own learning by challenging herself beyond what she has just achieved. This is the way we all learn. We build to our knowledge and skills by using what we know to go that little step further.

Tino pai to mahi, Ngaikiha. Great work, Ngaikiha!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hula Hooping

On Monday we managed to have some fine weather, the girls and I were demonstrating our hula hoop skills and abilities. There is certainly a great deal of skill and co ordination involved to keep going as long as Elizabeth did!
There is also skill involved in videoing as i have just discovered. You can't video portrait style!
So i apologise for the stiff necks everybody. One of the many things we learn along our ICT journey.

Pics from Ruben's Visit

Ruben Rocks!

This was a fantastic experience about road safety for the tamariki . It was fun and the children loved Rubens dance to the song. We have videos avaliable for you to borrow on the sign in table to share at home should you wish to and if you still have a video player in your possession!!!!! Ally

Rubens Arrival

There was great excitement when Ruben the Road Safety Bears car arrived. His two special helpers came with him Whetu and Sarah.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tainui Te Waka

We are learning the waiata Tainui te waka with the tamariki currently as a part of our committment to Maori language week. This is the tamariki's first attempt. We are going to video it again when we are great to share with you our this Blog!!! Bronya, Jo's daughter has been sharing her expertise and knowledge with this waiata... instrumental in leading the waiata too as you will see. She shares this knowledge gained from her previous kindergarten Bellmont. Fantastic!!!

We are very fortunate to have whaia Aneta Timu with us. She provides maori language and resource support throughout the kindergarten association and will be with us 23 and 24th July, 30 and 31st July and 6 and 7th August, supporting and encouraging staff in their professional development and the tamariki. We are sooooo lucky!!!

Cool Cats

This was fantastic to observe the children initiating their own cool cats activity. They were monitoring each others participation, turntaking, problem solving with the turntaking!, making choices about their actions and working together as a team. Everything we work with them about positive respectful relationships was happening!!! Your children rock. They are so clever and are great friends and take responsibility for each other and the environment they are in. Together the children, yourselves and the teaching team are achieving great things!!!

Cool Cats

Cool Cats at mat time is one of the favourite songs of the tamariki. They get to take turns at sharing their cool and sometimes tricky moves that everyone has to copy. For some of our children this is a huge experience particulary at having to perform infront of their peers. As their confidence grows so does their participation. It is lots of fun!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Striving to reach our goals and Sharing Success

Today I was in a rather wet Whakatane watching my son, Marek compete in the BOP/Waikato Cross Country Champs. He ran a fantastic race and finished third. He informed Jason and I that he could hear us down the home straight...hard to restrain yourself as a parent sometimes. LOL!

The reason I am sharing this piece of news with you, aside from being a very proud parent, is that during the holidays Abby, Ally and I attended an interesting course on learning dispositions. It outlined 16 critical learning habits that children need to develop in order to thrive as successful life time learners. These 'Habits of the Mind' (developed by Art Costa) are skills that help our children continue to adapt, access and acquire new learning and ways of thinking in a world of constant and accelerating change.

Seeing Marek run today reminded me of this because I know that he has shown incredible persistence, determination, and flexibility. He has also taken risks, problem solved and used gathered information to find ways to improve his performances. Karen Boyes, our presenter, referred to these attributes as she recalled to us a conversation she had had with Corey Hutchins about what attributes he had needed to become such a successful athlete.

If you are interested in learning more about 'The Habits of Mind' ask the staff or see the web link listed on the side bar. Go to Foster the Habits of Mind in Your Children link. The article link has a fuller description for anyone wanting further reading.

Friday, July 4, 2008

End Of Term 2 Newsletter

Another busy term we have had, looking forward to a bit of a break.
A big thank you to our families for all your support this term. Have a safe and happy term break and we will see you all again on Monday 21st July.

Ally, Jo, Abby and Helen.

Friday, June 6, 2008

K9 Sense: Dog Visit

Steph and her friends from K9 Sense came to visit us at Kindy on Thursday. She brought her dogs Skye the lab, Zea the Retriever and two guide dogs Nelson the black puppy and Yadon an older puppy, unfortunatly their policy does not allow us to show you the guide pups. The children really enjoyed the dogs and learnt a few simple steps to be safe with and around dogs, hopefully they will be back to visit us again soon.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trapeeze Work

Chrysler has been practising her circus act for a while now. Here is a video of her skills and abilities in action!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Kindergarten Newsletter Term 2: No 2.

To make the newsletter readable click on the image and it will open up.
Have a good weekend and we will see you all next week.
Ally, Jo, Abby and Helen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our little circus stars

Over the past week or so a couple of our young ladies have taken a strong interest in the swing bar. They have been practising their circus acts and have become quite skilled in what they do. Through their trapeeze work the girls are developing their balance and climbing skills, enhancing their muscle development and gross motor skills while working together to make decisions, create challenges and manage risk promoting their self management skills and independence.

Plus its loads of fun and neat to watch!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Holidays

Hi everyon we have had great holidays relaxing, catching up with friends and family, enjoying the spa. We had a great time down on the farm with the boys loving feeding out and even more fun riding Uncle Grants bike and the bike Uncle John got for them. We went to Kaupokanui beach where I used to spend my summers as a child and the weather was fantastic. The kids spent over an hour swimming in the river..heaps of fun for them..I was happy to watch not warm enough for me!!!!Me I enjoyed pottering and collecting native plants for home from the native bush patch on the farm and seeing friends I haven't seen in ages. The time has just flown and Term Two is about to begin. I'm looking forward to hearing about your holidays see you on Monday!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Henny and Penny come to visit

Henny and Penny are 4 week old chicks, that have spent a few days with us on a visit from Arohanui Kindergarten in Tokoroa. The children have really enjoyed cuddling and holding them and there has been lots of concern amongst the children about where their real mother is, since the chicks' surrogate mother is a puppet hen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The ways we learn

The children enjoy a variety of different activities. We ensure that our environment has changes to it while maintaning some of the favourite activities. Our tamariki really enjoy group play and are very supportive of each other. Independent activity is also supported and encouraged. Staff facilitate learning through providing additional resources to support and sustain play, working alongside children, being involved in the children's play and by allowing children time to explore and make their own discoveries and links. We use lots of opportunities to extend the children's ideas, knowledge and skills within the daily routines and rituals of the kindergarten. The children at Grasslands are learning that LEARNING IS FUN!