There’s always artwork and lots to see at kindy. Just take a look around our Kidsfirst Kindergartens and you’ll find artwork on the walls, sculptures and mosaics and all kinds of interesting ideas come to life in different, creative ways.
SOME OF OUR STORIES
That’s because we really believe in fostering this type of expression, and encourage the children to get involved. Creativity is an integral part of not only childhood, but our whole lives. Children are encouraged at Kidsfirst Kindergartens to immerse themselves in games, songs, imaginary play and artwork. Many teachers comment on how children can take an idea, story or concept, and keep pursuing that interest in so many different ways.
Kidsfirst Trengrove started with a blank brick wall, and thanks to the ingenuity of the teachers and the interest of their children, they created beautiful mosaics. It started when some damaged shrubs were removed from Kidsfirst Trengrove’s garden, and they decided to brighten things up.
ABOVE: Kidsfirst Trengrove's Head Teacher Trish Studholme, mosaicking with children.
Fresh with inspiration from the Akaroa Arts Festival, Head Teacher Trish Studholme says, “the designs chosen had to be relevant to our children in their learning environment, had to be long lasting in the outdoors and had to be eye-catching”. A family who owns a tile shop helped out with the materials they needed and children set out with a butterfly pattern in hand.
That single butterfly expanded to include a garden snail, a koru pattern and a sunflower, which stands at over five feet tall. It took the teachers and children over a year to complete.
Meanwhile, at Kidsfirst Riccarton their koru mosaic was the result of an ‘Inspiring Environment’ review.
ABOVE: Kidsfirst Riccarton's Kowhaiwhai mosaic pattern
They brainstormed icons for the garden, and thought about what sorts of symbols would communicate the community of Kidsfirst Riccarton. Hearts and globes were bandied about before everyone decided to use the Kidsfirst Kowhaiwhai pattern.
According to Head Teacher Kim Belliss, the pattern symbolises new life, peace and tranquility along with a sense of growth, new beginnings and nurturing. The koru represents the strength and purity of a loving relationship within a family.
ABOVE: Kidsfirst Riccarton's Head Teacher Kim Belliss supervising the mosaicking.
This is displayed as a panel on their new fence, which is next to a mural of native birds that a parent with strong ties to Kidsfirst Riccarton painted with her husband, and donated. It has a kiwi, tui and pīwakawaka (fantail) on it.
At Kidsfirst Opawa St Martins, they have native bird artworks and depictions of our environment that adorn the fence line.
ABOVE: Kidsfirst Opawa St Martins' mural of the hills and river.
Elsewhere, Kidsfirst Hillmorton teacher Jo Knudsen has been encouraging children to create their art outdoors. She stapled a large piece of paper to the outside fence and the children created their own mural.
Being creative with natural resources, understanding what characterises a season and getting involved in a joint project together are all examples of creative, hands-on Kidsfirst learning.
WHAT THE CHILDREN LEARN...
• Putting the tiles together is like doing a puzzle – it’s great for children’s maths skills.
• Mosaic art assists in encouraging the development of learning dispositions such as taking an interest in something new, being involved in a collaborative project and persevering in a challenging task.
• It is valuable for introducing maths concepts such as counting, matching, sorting and problem solving, while offering the opportunity to investigate approaches towards patterns, colour schemes and contrasts.
• Children practised fine motor skills, dexterity, hand-eye co-ordination and spatial and visual organisation – all important steps as children learn to accomplish difficult tasks more easily.
• Working co-operatively on the mosaic was a great opportunity for language development as children listened, followed instructions and talked about what they were doing.
• Teachers and children use their imaginations, had to really concentrate on the task, all the while demonstrating great patience!
The process of mosaicking is simple, according to the teachers at Kidsfirst Trengrove.
“Cut out base board template in specific shapes so that children have an idea of the pattern you’re trying to achieve. Choose a pattern and draw it out, with all the colours clearly marked.
A safe way to involve enthusiastic workers who want to break up the tiles into smaller pieces is to place them inside a plastic bag, then again inside a fabric bag, which prevents pieces flicking off. The pieces of coloured tiles can then be glued down.
After this dries overnight, it’s then scrubbed so the excess glue can be scratched off. Grout is rubbed in and sponged off, and after that has set, children polish the finished product with toothbrushes.
Children keen to participate helped with the application of the grout. This final step transformed the artwork from what effectively was a series of tiny pieces of tile strategically placed, into a complete picture.”
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.