Busy hands leave tamariki legacy
The children of Kidsfirst MacFarlane Park have left a lasting legacy at kindergarten, sharing their kindy story through the walls of their whare.
Since the whare was installed late last year, the team at Kidsfirst MacFarlane Park have been putting plans in motion to decorate the inside walls with tukutuku panels, a Maori art form that tells the community's story.
The project involved months of work for the children; from measuring the whare walls, to understanding patterns and how their own story could be incorporated into the panels. And at every step of the process, learning has been the focus.
Jane Barnes, Teacher at Kidsfirst Kindergartens MacFarlane Park, says that it had been a wonderful hands-on project which unfolded as the children's interest and experience grew.
She said that when they started to design patterns the teachers asked themselves whether the children actually knew what a pattern was? ...and so they went through the steps of making a pattern and developing them. It incorporated a lot of mathematical concepts.
Jane says, the project has also been intrinsically linked with tikanga Maori.
“We wanted the children to see their own kindergarten journey in the panels, so the intricate patterns represent a story about growth and development and shining through hard times."
The green koru in the design represents the growth of the children as they learn at kindergarten, the whetū or white stars represent the shining strength of the community as they overcome adversity and the large butterfly or purerehua in the centre, is about the development of the children as they learn to fly.
Not only does the story resonate with all the children, but every child at MacFarlane Park was directly involved in the panels' sewing.
The project called on support from the whole community and so a huge turnout gathered for the panel hanging ceremony at the kindy early in April.
17 of the 20 parents were in attendance as well as children from Shirley Primary School who having just graduated from MacFarlane Park Kindergarten were also involved in creating of the panels. Education Service Manager Robyn Leckie brought along a handful of other Kidsfirst teachers impressed at the project's size and collaboration, and members from the Community Centre next door also popped in for a visit.
“It’s been a tremendous morning” says Fiona Neale, Head Teacher at Kidsfirst Kindergartens MacFarlane Park.
“We’ve had so many people from around our community attend and I think what that shows is that kindy is a place of community. It was great to see people joining in and being connected. It’s a place where everyone feels they can have a sense of belonging and be apart of something bigger.”
"The children really embraced this project and all were involved, making this wonderful kindergarten community achievement. These panels will be something that both children and whānau, in the years to come will learn about, be proud of and add to."
Kidsfirst MacFarlane Park performing their 'Tuku Haka.'
The 'smiling' whare, proudly displaying its new tukutuku panels.
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.
Kidsfirst Macfarlane Park hung their very own tukutuku panels inside their whare.
It took months of work from children, teachers and whānau to complete the panels.
The whole community turned out to celebrate the finished product.
The panels represent the journey of the children as they learn and grow at kindy.
Making a tukutuku panel is easy!
To make your own tukutuku panels at home you'll need:
- a piece of hard board. Preferably peg board with spaced holes already cut out.
- a base paint to cover the board before you begin sewing.
- different coloured string for sewing on the pattern.
After painting the board-base, plan out your pattern so you know how the panel will look.
Once you've made a plan (grid paper can help make this easier) begin sewing through the holes, doubling back to make a strong, bold pattern.
For more information and ideas check out details from the Christchurch City Library here.
The photos below show how MacFarlane Park made their tukutuku panels, with the children's involvement.
"I think one of the most exciting things about kindergarten is that we're always doing something different and exciting.
It's a very stimulating environment, which is geared up to fostering the development of young minds."