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In celebrating all that is unique about being a Kiwi kindergarten, many of our centres have been taking a look at New Zealands beautiful native birds. Discussing what makes these birds special to us takes children on fantastic journeys of discovery and exploration into their own backyards and beyond.

 

 

SOME OF OUR STORIES.

 

 

 

Kidsfirst Hoon Hay have a game called ‘The Great New Zealand Native Hunt’ which has been a real hit with the children.

 

 

ABOVE: The pukeko hiding in the gardent at Kidsfirst Hoon Hay.

 

Head Teacher Chris Gibbens hides cut-out, laminated pictures of birds and insects like the kiwi, weka, tūī, pāpā (gecko) and wētā around the garden. Children then head out in pairs with clipboards and markers to try and find all of them, learning about the creatures’ natural habitats in the process.

 

Chris says the game teaches taking turns and perseverance, with children encouraging each other and working their way through the list. It’s a great way of fostering teamwork, communication skills and leadership at a young age.

 

 

ABOVE: Helping each other out with The Great New Zealand Native Hunt.

 

Because Kidsfirst Redwood borders a park (like many of our kindergartens), there’s a lot of birdlife around. Children made bird feeders out of recycled materials, which were placed amongst the harakeke to attract local wildlife to the kindergarten’s spacious playground. It’s a fabulous learning opportunity for the children to see the birds up close. They learn that, if they just sit quietly, all sorts of different birds will come to enjoy the tasty snacks on offer.

 

ABOVE: Kidfirst Redwood's homemade birdseed feeders.

 

"The pīwakawaka (fantails) are particularly friendly. Every day now, children eagerly ask to ‘feed the birds’, because they enjoy it so much,” says teacher Jenn Corner.

 

At Kidsfirst Lady May, Steph Olliver and her teaching team have been focusing on the wax eyes and sparrows who frequent their gardens quite often. "It doesn’t take long before the hungry birds come to have a feed from the tasty bird-feeders the children had made. Every few days we have to replenish the food, adding more peanut butter and bird seed. The birds will also eat our leftover bread crusts and apples, and the wax-eyes especially love over-ripe bananas!"

 

lady may birds within

 

lady may birds within1

ABOVE: The native birds at Kidsfirst Riccarton

 

Just down the road, Kidsfirst Riccarton made bird feeders out of recycled bottles, pine cones and wooden spoons - “all good things you’d find at the Eco Store!” jokes Head Teacher Kim Belliss. They combined flax seeds, wild bird feed and lard to draw the birds into the kindergarten garden.

 

 

To help inspire the children further, the kindergarten took a trip to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve to learn about their unique identity as people living in New Zealand. Children and teachers saw many native birds at the nature park, as well as tuatara. The teachers say that it’s a great way of exposing the children to exciting new things and encouraging creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUICK READ

 

Native New Zealand birds have played an important role in the learning that is happening at these Kidsfirst Kindergartens.

 

WHAT THE CHILDREN LEARN...

 

Jenn Corner, from Kidsfirst Redwood, says that “by providing the birds with a natural place to shelter and find kai, we are able to make connections with nature. This is an example of us fostering wairuatanga (spiritual beliefs and practices), understanding our spiritual existence, and making intimate connections with our environment living in New Zealand."

 

They saw many native birds at the nature park, as well as tuatara. Jenn says that it’s a great way of exposing the children to exciting new things and encouraging creativity.

 

"We have extended on these interests by providing resources such as bird seed, creating quiet ‘watching spaces’, getting books from the library for further investigation, and giving children the opportunity to take birdfeeders home.”

 
KIDSFIRST KINDERGARTENS ARE A NOT FOR PROFIT ASSOCIATION THAT HAS DEVELOPED AND MAINTAINED KINDERGARTENS IN CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY AND ON THE WEST COAST FOR OVER 100 YEARS - AS THE PLACE LOCAL KIDS COME TO LEARN, PLAY AND HAVE FUN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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