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Many visits, many celebrations
Children from Kidsfirst Hoon Hay have been strengthening their links with people in their community lately – spending time with elderly folk at a local rest home, and celebrating with families and whānau the many different cultures of the kindergarten.
The drive for these connections came after Head Teacher Abina Loader attended an Education for Sustainability workshop, where she heard the theory that for children to learn to protect their environment, they need to know who is in their environment, and their place in it.
So when a new rest home called wanting to establish a relationship with the kindergarten they jumped at the chance. The children have caught the local bus to the rest home, where they’ve sung pirate songs and Christmas carols, danced and shared baking.
“The children have got to know this group within the community, and it’s lovely seeing the smiles on the faces of the residents when they hear a familiar song and they can join in,” Abina says.
And the children have also loved the amazing cultural experiences they’ve had with families and whānau from all around the world. Maori families, along with families from Afghanistan, Samoa, Fiji , Tokolau and Tonga have all shared their customs, food, dress and songs with the children.
“The children get to celebrate our diversity, and learn that their culture is something to be proud of. Their faces light up with pride when they see someone from their family performing a song that’s important to them,” Abina says.
These cultural celebrations have also seen an increase in people coming on kindy trips as parent helpers, as they gain confidence in being part of the kindergarten family.
“It’s wonderful to see people feel more comfortable within the kindergarten after coming and sharing their culture. For the children, and their families and whānau, it’s helped build a sense of belonging, a sense of identity and a feeling of pride in their local community.”
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 Hoon Hay's new link with a local rest home has been beneficial for the children and elderly alike.
Knowing your environment and your place in it, teaches children to protect their environment and celebrate their diversity.