Bream Bay Kindergarten Video

Friday, June 23, 2017

A sense of community

"A community is more than just a location, or a collection of individuals who happen to live or work in the same place. When we talk about a 'sense of community' we usually mean the quality of the relationships and connections that bind people together, rather than just the fact that they see each other regularly" (Connor, 2012).

This week we held a coffee morning as part of our Matariki celebrations. It was an opportunity for whanau to come in, relax, talk and share with us and others. An opportunity to build and develop new relationships, reaffirm old relationships and create shared connections. 

A large part of discussions revolved around sharing strategies, creating consistency between kindergarten and home, sharing ideas around emotional literacy and the skills required to support these ideas. It was a beneficial opportunity for parents to collaborate and share the challenges of our parenting roles. Alongside the coffee we offered a grazing table, a pamper table and a swap and shop table. 

It takes a village to raise a child and we see the importance of ensuring that our tamariki grow up as a part of a community. "For children, a sense of community plays an important role in the development of their feelings of belonging and security" (Connor, 2012).  In early childhood, creating a sense of community is an important part of what we do. Relationships, Belonging and Family and Community are integral parts of our curriculum and our day.  

An environment that creates mutually supportive and caring relationships creates an ideal atmosphere for children to thrive. It creates an opportunity for our tamariki to recognise their role within a community, that all contributions are valued and it allows them to develop a sense of service. That we can be a part of helping others, supporting others and it is the small acts and time spent together that create this sense of community (Hunt, 2009).

Indeed, "as children grow and develop, connections to the outside world help them to find their place in the world, to develop understandings of how society works, and to recognise and understand the shared values that underpin our society" (Connor, 2012).

While the children didn't participate in the coffee morning as such they did participate in the pampering of their loved ones and each other, the sharing table and the swap and shop!

And what the parents couldn't finish off the sharing table...the kids did!!

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Friday, June 16, 2017

Matariki Breakfast

Matariki is the Maori name for the cluster of stars known as Pleiades. It signals the beginning of the Maori New Year. It is a time for remembering our past and looking forward to what the future brings. 

At Bream Bay Kindergarten we celebrate Matariki with several events, culminating with our hangi.

We started our Matariki celebrations this week with a scrumptuious cooked breakfast of bacon and egg muffins. Thank you to the whanau who were able to celebrate Matariki breakfast with us. It was wonderful to have whanau stay to share kai with the tamariki and teachers.

We started with waiata and mihi mo te kai.

Time to eat!!

Our next Matariki event is a whanau coffee morning on Wednesday 21st June at 8:15am. This is another opportunity to connect with other whanau, tamariki, and teachers. We'd love to see you there.

Matariki is also a time of giving and thinking of others. If you have any clothing that you no longer need, please consider gifting it to the sharing table for our other children or families to take. You in turn may find something there of use to you and your family. It's about creating a community of sharers. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We don't do grumpy...we talk about it.

When you've got a problem, talk about it.  
This is a treasured rule here at Bream Bay Kindergarten.  And children have got so good at using the framework of this rule to work through a variety of issues within our learning environment, it's amazing!

Our problem solving framework includes...

What's the problem?
Brainstorm possible solutions (at least 3)
Choose a solution

(As children get older there are other steps to consider such as 'How did that solution work for me' etc, however for three and four year old children these first three steps are a good start for problem solving.)

You know that positive messages are getting through when you hear a child state... 

"We don't do grumpy...we talk about it!" (Olivia).

And the conversation continued...

"We ignore them and walk away when people are being mean and they don't know the rules.  New people don't know the rules so we have to help them do things and learn the rules" said Ayla.

"Keep your hands and feet to yourself" said Olivia.

"Cause they'll cry when people hit them.  You have to keep your hands and feet to yourself so that no one gets hurt" said Kendall Lee.

"I had a problem and I talked about it.  I said stop it I don't like it."

"What are some more solutions?" I asked.

"You can say stop it I don't like it" said Olivia.

"You can walk away" said Nat.

"Play with someone else" said Noah.

"You can talk about it" said Lachlan.

"Find a different friend" said Allani.

"We can play with a kind friend" said Harper.

"What is a kind friend?" I asked.

"By helping people and being nice" said Ayla.

"They help each other, like everything, like on the swings" said Jericho.

"When they say that looks like a good game, can I play too, and they say yes.  That would be kind" said Kendall Lee.

"They look small and cute.  I know kind people" said Jericho.

"When they play with each other" said Kendall Lee.

"They let us play" said Harper.

"They hold hands" said Kendall Lee.

"They help each other when they need help" said Jericho.

Taking it to a deeper level...
using art to extend understanding

The first part of our problem solving strategy is recognizing that there is a problem.  

I wanted to help children recognize when they have a problem by coaching them to pay attention to their feelings.  For example, if they are feeling uncomfortable, sad or angry or fearful, this would indicate that there is a problem to solve.  Being able to label the bodily sensations involved is an important first step because it provides a clue or trigger that problem solving is needed.

Questions to get children thinking included...

 How do you know when you've got a problem?
What does your face look like?  What are your eyes doing...your mouth...your eyebrows? 
What are your hands doing when you've got a problem?

"Feeling angry, talk about it" said Terence.

Exploring ideas using CLAY

"This person is sad cause someone hitted her" 
said Kendall Lee.

 Clay offers a tactile experience for children to explore ideas in a new and challenging way.  Our intention is to offer this activity again so that children are able to further develop the knowledge and skills that allow them to use clay with confidence and ease.  Watch this space...our work with clay has only just begun and we're excited to see where our journey takes us!

"A sad person crying" said Olivia.

Problem solving is such an integral part of the work we do everyday with children.  If you have any questions or would like to hear more on our problem solving strategies, don't hesitate to ask, we are more than happy to share. 

Learning the skills to be a capable and confident problem solver is a skill for life.  Through play such as this, our aim is to develop children's awareness of feelings, the perspectives of others and to gain skills to become awesome negotiators who focus on peaceful win win solutions for all involved.

A huge thank you to the children who shared their thoughts and talents with us this week, as usual, it's the children who make coming to 'work' a joy!

Out of the mouths of babes...don't do grumpy, talk about it!  Great advice I'd say!

Ka kite ano, kia pai to ra