Thursday, 26 June 2014

Happy Matariki!

The Matariki stars start to rise at the end of May and the beginning of June, we celebrated Matariki a few days early (it traditionally begins on the the first day of the new moon following its rising - this year on the 28 June). Matariki is the traditional Maori new year, many years ago Matariki signified the end of the harvest and was a time of plenty.

We celebrated Matariki for Discovery with lots of star art  and craft, including making telescopes and making special Matariki star biscuits to eat.

We were very lucky to have a parent bring in lots of biscuits, icing, and special edible stars to feast on during our session, and the children really enjoyed icing and decorating their biscuit. 
When our Mountaineers (pre-school visitors) start Discovery with us we encourage parents or caregivers to stay to and help their children. Parental support makes a huge difference to the ease at which children  transition to school. The parents that stay for Discovery are always willing to help out and we appreciate the support they provide for their own children and others. Some of the activities we choose for Discovery can provide a challenge for some children to complete and a supportive hand from an adult to complete a tricky task is always helpful and appreciated.

Here is a short clip explaining one of the myths behind Matariki.

Sunday, 22 June 2014


 Check out these gorgeous sock puppets! 

We made them the other day during our 'puppet' Discovery session, along with lots of other puppets....

I especially loved the shadow puppet shows.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


This year Totara Park School started the milk for schools programme and after several weeks of drinking milk each day we have spent the last two weeks learning about cows and where milk comes from. Did you know that cows have 4 stomachs?

We wrote reports about cows and painted these amazing cow portraits. I used this blog post for inspiration for our paintings.

Before we wrote our reports we watched some clips from 'Rosie's World' and read some books about cows.

Here are some of our reports:

'Cows are animals. Milk comes from cows. Cows are red and white.'

 'Cows are animals. Cows make milk. Cows eat grass, they burp up the cud. Cows have 4 stomachs. The grass goes into one tummy then into the next tummy.'

'Cows are animals. They make milk. They eat the grass and burp the cud.'

'Cows are animals. They make milk from their udders. They are white and they are brown. Cows eat grass. Then they make milk. They have 4 stomachs.'

 We have also been reading the first verse of The Cow poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Click here for a pdf.

Hero Discovery

We had a fantastic Hero Discovery session last week. We were very lucky to have some special visitors; a fireman, police officers, and 5 police dogs!

We practised our 'get down, get low, get out' fire safety procedure and talked about a safe meeting point. Later during the session the children got to make a fire-truck money-box and talk to Jamie the Fireman about his job. Some lucky children even got to try on his fire-fighting gear.

The police van came for us to explore and as a lucky surprise some police dogs dropped by for us to meet. We learned about how to pat a dog safely - after checking the dog is okay to pat with its owner, put your hand out for the dog to sniff and then scratch them gently under the chin or on the shoulder. After patting the police dogs we made some police dogs out of paper. Check here for dog origami instructions similar to what we used. We took our fingerprints, got to play with some real handcuffs, and try on a stab-resistant vest.
 We also turned into superheroes and practised saving J-Block!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Queen's Birthday Discovery 2014

I love these royal masks, the J-Block teachers wore them last year for a funny staff photo, and last Wednesday for our Queen's Birthday Discovery session the children enjoyed wearing them too.
 We also made these beautiful crowns....

 ... and stunning brooches.


Monday, 2 June 2014

Party Time!

 Last Friday we had a party to say goodbye to some amazing children leaving Room 4 and heading off to Room 13. It's always sad to have children (and their parents) leave my classroom but with so many Mountaineers visiting us each week for their pre-school visits I know I will have more happy faces to teach during the rest of the year.

 While the new Room 13 were visiting their new teacher the rest of us stayed behind and got ready for the party. We had fun making paper chains, decorating cups for our lemonade, and arranging the party food.