Bream Bay Kindergarten Video

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Loose Parts and Patterns

A favourite way to explore mathematics at our kindergarten is through pattern-making with loose parts. As children create their patterns they explore concepts of space, shape, colour, repetition, and number.

"Throughout the early years of life, children notice and explore mathematical dimensions of their world. They compare quantities, find patterns, navigate in space, and grapple with real problems such as balancing a tall block building or sharing a bowl of crackers fairly with a playmate. Mathematics helps children make sense of their world" (NAEYC, 2002).

Creating and exploring patterns is often a quiet and time-consuming experience.

Children engaging in pattern making are more likely to work individually or in small groups. More often than not, children create more than one pattern. They make pattern after pattern, exploring new ideas, variations of past patterns, or creating patterns similar to those that their peers create.

As the children engage with the loose parts, they become mindful of their creation. They think about what piece they need to add to their pattern and where they are going to place it. And as the creators of their own patterns, only the children know when their pattern is complete.

Knowing that someone is interested in their patterns encourages children to talk about what they are doing and thinking.

"Guess what I'm making?
 ... it's a pattern" said Maia.

"This one is shiny and this one is shiny and this one is not? Wait... this one is really sparkle!" said Abbie.


"I'm doing the raindrops at my house...
Now I'm making a different pattern...
Now it's a sunflower" said Harper.

"Pattern is about seeing connections and making links" (Early Childhood Ireland, 2012).

"For young children identifying and creating patterns is just the beginning of the mastery of life-long mathematical skills" (Early Childhood Ireland, 2012). 



Monday, March 12, 2018

Developing ideas together

The tamariki were very excited last week when a centipede appeared, found at someone’s house! Eek!

This was fantastic timing as the current cricket invasion had been holding a lot of interest for the tamariki. They were excited and interested to move their attention to the centipede. 

A great deal of discussion and ideas flew as we watched and observed the centipede.

“He bites and growls and jumps up and he wants to have the alone time. He doesn't like people he runs away” 

“He doesn't growl, where’s his mouth?”

“Where’s his eyes”

“He doesn't have eyes”

“He’s not angry, he’s sad, he wants his Mum and Dad”

“Is it a caterpillar?”

“I don’t think a caterpillar has a lots of legs, that has a lots of legs”

“I think it’s a crayfish because it looks like one”

“It’s a centilpedil. I saw one at my house”

“No it’s a cipeda”

“My Mum called it a centipede”

Collaborative learning in small groups aids the exchange of ideas, increases interest among the participants and also promotes critical thinking (Gokhale, 1995).

“He has sharp nails that he walks on”

“Even they can turn their head around and even turn onto their back”

“To turn around?”

“No to see what’s coming behind them”

“I have an idea. He might eat crickets. He might eat the cricket and he might get big”

“Working theories represent the ways children think about, inquire into and make meaning about their worlds as they attempt to make connections between prior and new experiences and understandings” (Hedges).

The tamariki shared ideas, offered new knowledge and possibilities into the conversation. Speaking so excitedly, they drew new friends in. The children genuinely deliberated ideas as they were offered, developing working theories and ideas around what they know and also growing those working theories as they listened to other ideas. A truly ideal opportunity for the children to share, test and explore ideas.   

Claxton (1990) states that “children create minitheories from the knowledge they have so far, and use this to interpret new information and to refine their previous understandings. Learning can be seen as a gradual process of editing and improving these minitheories so that they become more useful and effective, more comprehensive and appropriate, and more connected together”.

"Learning at its most general is the business of improving our theories, elaborating and tuning them so that they keep track of the changes in the world and come to serve us ever more successfully" (Claxton, 1990).

Friday, March 2, 2018

Lunch box revolution

At Bream Bay Kindergarten we're passionate about setting children up for success.  This is why we were excited to jump on board with an initiative called Under 5 Energize.  

This is a project that "works alongside early childhood centres in Te Tai Tokerau to improve eating and increase the quality and quantity of physical activity, both planned and spontaneous" (Sport Waikato, 2018).

This week we began our journey with a Parent Workshop focusing on healthy kai for under 5's.  We were very fortunate to have the expertise of Alana Pere and John Wikitera from Under 5 Energize, to guide our understanding and teach us about what food children under 5 need to eat every day to help them "Go, Grow and Glow!"  They talked about the four food groups; what they are, why we should eat them and how much a child under 5 needs.  They also talked about junk food verses real food and what these foods provide the body.

We learnt...
Children's stomachs are the size of their fist so portion sizes need to be small.  For children under 5, a serving size is only the size of two dried apricots.

Alana and John created a display that provoked our thinking.  It was interesting to visually see the sugar content in some common lunch box foods...

and the sugar in these popular drinks...

Developing whānau knowledge and awareness of healthy and nutritious food is important.  A big thank you to Alana and John, who provided some interesting and valuable information to us so that we can make informed decisions on healthy kai for our children...when we know better, we do better (Maya Angelou).

Lunch box revolution

Me mahi tahi tātou mō te oranga o te katoa, we should work together for the well-being of everyone

Mana atua (well-being) is an important foundation for our tamariki and as such is recognized as the first strand within Te Whariki for good reason. Good health and well-being set a strong foundation for success.

We are very lucky in our community that others understand the value of well-being too and were willing and able to help us create an environment that fosters healthy choices...

A generous offer by health conscious and caring whānau to gift lunch boxes for every child and promote healthy eating habits was tremendous and a lovely surprise for our tamariki and whānau!   

The biggest thank you to Adam and Nikki of Cadenshae, for their generosity and manaakitanga (care) through this initiative.  We have already seen huge changes in the types of healthy kai being offered to children and are excited by our lunch box revolution.  The amazing effort parents have put in to create healthy options for their tamariki has been outstanding!  

As one parent said "This lunch box gift is amazing, the compartments just make you think more about what you can put in their lunches.  I've never thought to give cut up vegetables like this before and it's great that all of the children have them because they are more likely to try different foods if this is what their friends are doing too.  I just love it, thank you so much."

Tamariki are loving the lunch boxes too!  Conversation on 'Glow Food' is a daily occurrence during kai time now which is wonderful to hear.

"I've got glow food, I've got kiwi fruit" said Zoey.
"Glow food makes your hair glow" said Maia.
"We have to be healthy" said Noah.
"So we can get big and strong" Maia.
"Look at how strong I am" said Lincoln.

"I've got two strong muscles.  My Dad cuts tomatoes for tea" said Jacob.

"You get strong muscles when you eat glow food.  Glow food is apples, pears, grapes, banana" said Asher.  "You get strong muscles and grow like a T-Rex.  Roarrrrr" said Asher.


Children are becoming more adventurous and are enjoying trying a variety of fruits and vegetables alongside their friends.

A key part of learning about and adopting healthy lifestyles involves children seeing these modelled positively and enthusiastically by the important people in their lives, including their peers, families, communities and early childhood educators. Learning about healthy lifestyles often occurs most effectively when educators identify and use the learning opportunities in everyday experiences...(Angela Owens, 2012)

"I love hapsicum" said Asher.
"Do you mean capsicum?" asked Tania.
"Yeah hapsicum, I love hapsicum" replied Asher.

"That thingy that's in my hand tastes like yummy" said Max about the gherkin he was eating. 
"Carrot is my favourite to eat" said Nat.
"Oranges are my favourite thing" said Hunter.

 Tips and tricks that whānau have shared with us...

Frozen peas, popcorn, celery with peanut butter, mini muffins can be frozen and put in lunch box each day, dinner left overs such as potato, meat, cooked pasta etc...mousetraps, wraps, club sandwiches, sushi, boiled eggs, sticks of cheese, frozen berries, nuts, carrot sticks, capsicum sticks, hummus, broccoli, tinned fruit, cherry tomatoes

 "Strawberries are my favourite food" said Larnie.
"Grapes are my favourite" said Waituhi.  "Grapes is glow food, it makes you grow."

Learning about how to live in a healthy way, and being able to take increasing responsibility for making good health choices and caring for themselves, enables children to experience wellbeing in their present lives, and lays the foundation for a healthy lifestyle in the future. (Angela Owens, 2012)

Our final words go to Adam and Nikki, 
with heartfelt thanks... 
When asked..."What would you say to the people who gave you the lunch box?"  Sophia replied...

"I would say thank you for giving that lunch box to me because I like it.  I like the colours of the lunch box.  Pink and purple are my favourite colours and I get to eat the healthy food like carrots and tomotoes and some lettuce.  Lettuce is healthy food.  It's good to be healthy.  Thank you."

Ngā mihi nui