|An elated Kidsfirst Greymouth kindergarten community were welcomed back to their newly refurbished kindergarten home, with beautiful words from local iwi Kaumatua/elder, Joe Mason...|
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“The Māori blessing was a such wonderfully, bi-culturally significant way to reconnect our community back to our place,” says Kidsfirst Greymouth Head Teacher, Tracy Jennings.
Tamariki, whānau, Kaiako and the builders - took part in the blessing, part of which involved a walk through where everyone reached out to touch and trail the walls with their fingertips, “to place our energy back into the building,” says Tracy.
Kaumatua/elder, Joe Mason explained that the cultural significance of this protocol is, “to let the building know we are back and connected to our place again.”
It was a very emotional and moving experience for all, invoking a strong sense of reconnection with the new look fifty-five year old kindergarten building.
The December 16th occasion was a real West Coast community affair, with the blessing assisted by Michelle Gibson, (a teacher from the Māori immersion class at Grey Main School) who called the group on to the kindergarten grounds.
Greymouth Baptist Church Pastor, Shaun, was also in attendance with his daughter (a current kindy kid). “We’re so very grateful to him for giving us a home at the church hall while our kindergarten building project took place,” says Tracy.
On the day the excitement built as, together, the group walked the route from the church to the kindergarten. Local community police officer “Jos” was there to help everyone across the busy main road – ably assisted by kindy kid Bernard (looking the part in his prized police officer dress up).
The blessing was followed by shared kai prepared by the kindergarten. “It was a lovely time to chat, look around and explore our new environment,” says Tracy. “We all love the new space, it’s fantastic…just brilliant…the children are excited to be back and we’ve had such positive feedback from parents.”
Tracy and the teaching team; Maureen Ching, Charis Sweeny, Amber Gibbs and Josephine Wood are, “hugely appreciative to Kidsfirst for providing such an excellent, high-quality new learning environment for their West Coast community."
"Thank you, we love it!”
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.