Whānau contributions making a difference
A huge aspect of what makes our Kidsfirst community so special is the involvement of whānau in so many aspects of kindergarten life.
The old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” has never rang more true, and luckily for us, our kindergartens are surrounded by helping hands.
At Kidsfirst Hei Hei, parent Stacey offered her amazing talents to decorate the kindergarten walls with a beautiful waka. Her inspiration was a whakatauki you’ll hear a lot around our network - ‘He waka eke noa’, which means, ‘we're all in this together’.
Stacey brought in a picture with the design of the waka drawn on, and encouraged tamariki to colour it however they pleased. The whole kindergarten got involved as tamariki filled the waka with colour and kaiako decorated the people on the boat with traditional Maori designs before hanging it high on the kindergarten wall.
Teacher Niki Maritz said tamariki were eager to contribute their creative talents, and loved having the opportunity to have input towards something that will be a staple at the kindergarten for years to come.
“We set about making it into a colourful waka using paint and collage, the tamariki loved to get involved in the painting. Each child from the kindergarten was represented on the waka with their photo and mihi.”
In the longstanding theme of appreciation for whānau, and the depth of their involvement across the Kidsfirst network, the kindergarten encouraged Stacey to include herself in the artwork.
"Teahi, Stacey’s tamāhine (daughter), said, 'Mum you need to be in the waka too,' and we wholeheartedly agreed. We then chose a whakatauki that represents the idea that children are moving forward every day. ‘Titiro whakamuri, kokiri whakamua’ translates to ‘look back and reflect so that you can move forward’,” says Niki.
Thanks to the creativity and dedication from Stacey at Hei Hei, there is now a beautiful waka that will colour their kindergarten walls for years to come.
Another great example of incredible whānau involvement was at Kidsfirst Rutland Street when they got together to dismantle their kindergarten playground in preparation for a brand-new one being built over the first term break.
Whānau generously gave their time to take down the old playground in order to make room for the new one that would be ready in term two.
Head teacher Tracey Summerton said it was great to see so many family members involved.
“There was a lot of community spirit amongst our fantastic group of volunteers.”
The plans for the new playground were drawn up by Emma from Woodland Escape Architecture, and her team will build the playground to be completed for the start of term two.
There are so many ways for whānau to get involved in kindergarten life - if you’re thinking you’d like to get more connected, talk with your teaching team.