|At a Kidsfirst Lincoln Enviroschool Celebration morning tea, we asked teacher Helen Smith - How do children inspire us?|
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"There’s inspiration from children everyday, be it the comments that they come up with on their way in to our kindergarten. Like the other day, a child was talking about the rubbish they had seen down at our Liffey River and so talking to the children about where the river goes and drawing a map with them…and later on the children added to that map so once again, it’s combining our knowledge so it becomes a shared knowledge.
Inspiration comes from children finding a hedgehog in the playground and we’ll ask the children, “Well where is it, how do we find it, what do they eat, can we dig up some worms to encourage the hedgehog to come out for a visit?
There’s inspiration, for Christmas, or even for the green/gold celebration today we talk to the children about what do we want to do for a party? “We need balloons” So the children are blowing up the balloons and we tie them up, so it’s that working together and working (bouncing) off each other, we inspire them and they inspire us, so it becomes a shared meaningful experience rather than us doing it to the children or the children doing it to us.
James: And Joyce McHerron was talking before bout ako, that involves the older children imparting wisdom onto the younger children and do you see that happening quite a bit?
Helen: We see that happening a lot and even today with visitors coming to the kindergarten, and (we) invite children to show the visitors around and you know that they can do it because they’ve done it before, they’ve had experience, they’ve shared their wisdom. Also (ako is) in use when children are using ipads and you know that someone else has expertise, “oh can you go and ask so and so they’re an expert” or we have dinosaur experts and we encourage the children to share their expertise so it’s not all adult down, its (from the) bottom up as well.
James: Can you give me a bit of background about today you’re renewing your green/gold status?
Yeah it’s a hard one to explain the enviroschools programme goes through stages of awards from bronze status through to green/gold status. We got to green/gold status point a while a go so there’s no final end point, just like there’s no final end point in life, with these things there’s always something else to do.
And so last week Matt and Andrew from Enviroschools came and had a discussion with the team (that) was a bit shrunk, so some of us contributed via paper. And went through those statements of practice and how we’re achieving Māori perspectives, thinking about the environment, thinking about cultural awareness…thinking “how can we meet that and more…how can we get the children to be involved…how can we take inspiration from them again and maybe involve practices that they do at home that maybe we can do here.” So it was a process of working through not just what were doing now and what we’re doing well but what else can we do and…so yeah…there’s always more - we ain’t perfect and it’s a challenge.
Part of the reason I wasn’t actually there at the reflection was because I was off at a kindergarten in the north island, so gaining inspiration from another kindergarten, looking at a their programme, where they go out into nature, and thinking you know “what are the similarities, what are the differences” and just me thinking “what can I bring back to the team?” So we can think about those things again.
So while I wasn’t here, I was here in spirit but also that particular kindergarten isn’t in the Enviroschools programmes so it really highlighted for me the things that we do do here, that fits under this kaupapa – things like empowering children, and children have a voice here and it goes back to that ako that we were talking about before of, you know, children are capable and competent healthy in mind body and spit and we celebrate that.
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