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Newsletter: Feb-2015

Chinese New Year: The year of the Sheep

Once again we had a very successful dumpling making day at the Pre-School to mark Chinese New Year. We would like to thank the following parents and grandparents for their help:

Antonio’s mum Natasha; Emily’s Grandma, Geoffrey’s parents Sean and Vivian; Imogen and Kate’s mum Lucy: Sienna’s mum Katrina; Sophia’s mum Laura; Angel’s Grandad; Teruma’s mum Akiko; Waide’s mum Megan; Xahkyrus‘s mum Roberta, and of course Yi, Liwen, Grace, Oliva, and Hannah. Please accept my apologies if I left anyone out.

What impresses me the most about this dumpling day is the enthusiasm shown from the children who have done this before. You would think that they would be a bit ho-hum (ma ma hu hu) about it, but if anything they are more excited than the first timers. This tells us that this activity has all the factors of a ‘cool’ learning experience. It is fun, skilful, meaningful and achievable. Children (like adults) are motivated to do things we value as worthwhile.

Grace talked to the Children about it being the year of the sheep and placed a wee artist impression of a sheep next to the art easel where she had placed some black and white paint. Do have a look at the children’s resulting masterpieces on the wall. They are a wonderful example of children being motivated by the model but being able to paint their own impression of a sheep because the model has not been too prescriptive. Some even decided that black and white was too limited! Children’s drawings and paintings tell us so much about their knowledge, understanding and skill levels which is why it is so important that we don’t make or model for them. When a teacher draws for children they risk having children accept their drawing as the ‘right’ way to draw that object and often discount their own knowledge. When you look at the children’s paintings you will see that they are all wonderfully different and insightful with little details added that are important to them.


Painting by a Royal Oak Childcare kidAs Picasso once said:

“It took me 70 years to draw like a child”

Crown Street Day Spa:

I was visiting with the Toddlers a couple of weeks back and I must say it was a very relaxing experience:

I sat in the sandpit where Jenny and I had set the water up so it was just trickling through the hose. When we put a pot under the trickle we got that lovely running water sound that you get from the water features in (usually very expensive) day spas. Jasmine came to the sandpit, and after complaining that the water was “too little” collected some in one of the stainless steel bowls and sitting on the stump placed her feet in the bowl of water, completing for me the image of an expensive day spa. The morning sunlight was filtering through the tree, and for a short time we just sat there listening to the water and the cicadas in the tree. It was bliss!

It got me thinking of how lucky we are to have that magnificent old Horse Chestnut tree in the toddler’s playground. It not only provides valuable shade in summer, but cloaks everything in a gorgeous shade of green. It attracts bird and insect life and the children learn about the seasons as they play underneath it. Everyone needs a magic place to retreat to where they can withdraw and watch the world go by, which is what we have tried to achieve in the formation of our playgrounds, and we would encourage our parents to consider this when designing their gardens. I often see little ones squatting under the fairy bamboo where they take on an almost trance like state, or crouching behind the feijoa tree examining a leaf or an insect they have found. Children instinctively know that these special places in nature restore their soul, but somewhere along the way most of us get caught up in our lives so that we forget the natural healing effect of sitting with our feet in cool running water under the canopy of trees and so have to resort to paying for expensive day spas. We warmly welcome you to enjoy the ‘Crown Street Day Spa’ at the end of a hectic day. I can thoroughly recommend it and it’s free!


Comings and Goings:

We would like to wish Chloe, Kane, Meigan, Monty M, Stephanie all the best for their next learning journey at primary school, and would like to extend a warm welcome to the following children and their families: Arietty, Esther, Mila, Lydia, Nolan, Henry, Lydia, Eva-Lucia, and Summer.

We look forward to getting to know you and making your time with us a memorable one.