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Learning essential life skills from everyday activities

 

Learning through play is at the heart of everything that happens right across the Kidsfirst network.

 

Our talented team of fully trained and registered kaiako are experts in making the most of the opportunities that emerge every day at kindergarten to help tamariki explore their interests and ultimately, become life-long learners.

 

It’s all about encouraging curiosity, initiative and creativity so children are motivated to explore ideas and the world around them for themselves and extend their own learning. 

 

Seemingly simple activities like cooking open doors or extending interests in so many areas - like kaitiakitanga (being guardians of the environment), learning to collaborate with others, the joys of eating food grown in your own backyard, and so much more. 

 

Kidsfirst Phillipstown tamariki experienced all this first hand when they harvested produce from their backyard to make their own home-made jam recently. The kindergarten has a fantastic garden, which is always bursting with fruit over the Summer months. It makes for a garden-to-table experience for tamariki, and they were involved every step of the way.

 

After months of nurturing the fruit, tamariki scavenged through the leaves to find ripe berries, plucked them from the ground, and then brought them inside to their own makeshift jam factory.  

 

 

While we might talk about bigger themes of sustainability, cultivating and picking our own berries, these kinds of activities help to simplify bigger concepts in a way that’s easy for children to understand. When they participate in the process of creating something, they learn so much more, and can better connect ideas. Tamariki were involved the whole way through the jam-making exercise, giving them a sense of involvement and responsibility, as well as encouraging them to work together towards a shared goal.    

 

Phillipstown Head Teacher, Kathy Harford says the experience is a simple way to instill some essential learning. “It’s about them understanding how and why it’s important to be good kaitiakitanga (guardians of the environment), and how to engage with the process carefully, so that everyone gets a turn, and everyone understands what’s going on,”  

 

Kathy has noticed that once the tamariki have made jam at kindy, they’re often keen to go home and give it a go with their parents. 

 

For whānau wanting to continue the learning at home, there are always opportunities for doing so amongst everyday activities. It can be as simple as involving tamariki in an everyday process - encouraging them to understand and describe what needs to be done and then giving them the chance to be a part of doing it with the right support. And, knowing that while the jam at the end is always a sweet reward, for tamariki, there’s often just as much satisfaction in creating something they've been involved with every step of the way.

 

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