From the very top of the Port Hills our keen young Kidsfirst Shirley explorers saw where the river meets the sea and tried to imagine what the landscape might have looked like years before settlement began…
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Inspired by their kindergarten mihi, Kidsfirst Shirley wanted to learn more about the history of this beautiful place we call home including our winding Ōtākaro/Avon river and the distant, rolling Port Hills on the skyline.
Children discussed the ‘olden days’ and were intrigued to learn that, sixty years ago, Kidsfirst Shirley used to be part of Rowe farm (a piggery). When the estate was sold and developed, a section of land was donated to build the kindergarten.
To help children visualize what their community looked like many years ago, before homes and businesses were built, they visited Horseshoe Lake/Waikakariki in Burwood.
“It was fantastic for our tamariki to explore first-hand just how important our Ōtākaro/Avon river was to Maori, as a popular spot for gathering kai, especially tangaroa/eel and ika/fish,” says Head Teacher, Janette Bowen.
To combine all of their discussions and experiences and to make connections between the river and the Port Hills, they embarked on their next and most exciting adventure - to the Heathcote Gondola.
After an exhilarating ride to the top the adventurers had a bird’s eye view of Lyttelton Port, the surrounding community and were able to picture where the early settlers would have arrived.
They could also imagine how Lyttelton harbour formed a long ago, after a massive eruption caused the side of the volcano to collapse and the crater to fill with sea water.
Janette describes how, “the tamariki were wide-eyed to see for themselves the hills, the harbor, where the river meets the sea, and the expansive countryside stretching to mountains.”
Next up, it was time to jump on board the Time Tunnel train - a big highlight for most and the favourite for many!
“The ride gave us a visual journey that cemented all of that wonderful learning about our history and how the very land we stand on was so spectacularly formed,” explains Janette.
“What a fabulous voyage of discovery and investigation and of teaching and learning, not only for the children but also for the parents and whānau who joined our amazing excursions.”
Kidsfirst Shirley's kindergarten mihi:
Ko Aoraki te maunga
(Mount Cook is the mountain)
Ko nga Tihio Kahukura te maunga
(The Port Hills are our mountains)
Ko Otakaro te awa
(The Avon is our river)
Ko Oraka taku Kindergarten (Shirley is our Kindergarten)
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.