Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Liam, you are so cool!

Sometimes staying at kindergarten by yourself can be oh so scary when you are just three. Liam, we were so proud (VERY, VERY proud) of you today when you engaged in the puzzle with Raelene, then you went on to be one of the best tidier uppers in town.
We hope that you went home feeling as happy as we did.

A truly inclusive kindergarten

At Botany Downs Kindergarten we endeavour to be truly inclusive in all that we do. We had an inclusive moment of delight last week when Sean held up this picture of Yoda and asked, "has this kid gone to school?"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A visit to a bilingual kindergarten in Dusseldorf

This is a German / English bilingual unit created in a partnership between the Red Cross and large local businesses. The grounds were awesome.

A visit to the Hundertwasser kindergarten, Frankfurt

This kindergarten was designed by the same person who designed the Kawakawa toilets in Northland. Can you spot the similarities?

Visiting a farm kindergarten in Denmark

The hospitality of those we visited made our trip so rewarding and this day was no exception. After a train trip from Stavanger to Kristiansan we caught the ferry to Denmark. Henrick, a teacher at the kindergarten was to meet us and take us to Hobro. A steward on the boat was mortified when we said we were going with a man we didnʻt know and didnʻt even have a second name for! He vowed to check this Henrick out before we could go off with him! Henrick teaches at ʻMarcusʻ Kindergartenʻ. Marcus used to go to this kindergarten before he went to Mangere Bridge kindergarten. What awesome hospitality we experienced. The whole team of teachers welcomed us on the Sunday and took us to a Viking Village, followed by a magnificent meal. After spending the night at Henrickʻs house we went to Marcusʻ Kindergarten. Twenty five children and four teachers, in a family atmosphere. The children were roasting apples over an open fire. How delicious! Later in the day it rained and as usual the children donned raincoats and gumboots to play in the rain. What a lot of learning we saw taking place. Containers were filled. Drips were explored and the puddles experimented with. We had to wonder what our parents would say if their children played in the rain. We just might ask.

The friesian cows

As I walked in a shop in Amsterdam I was amazed to see the friesian cows standing on the ceiling. How could that be! Immediately I thought of Georgia, Archie and Benji and our friesian stories (recorded in previous blogs). I just had to take this photo to add to our collection. I didnʻt see many other friesian cows in Europe as most of the cows spend their whole life in a barn ... and because of the risk of mad cow disease, only the farmer is allowed in the barn.

Visiting a Norwegian Kindergarten

One of the greatest experiences on this trip has been visiting kindergartens in Europe. On this occasion I visited a Norwegian kindergarten. On the day I visited a class of children was out in the woods ... as they usually are ... hiking, climbing trees and experiencing nature. Another class were cooking their lunch over an open fire in a wigwam. What a magnificent smell and what trust they had in the children to cook their own sausages. The littlies always sleep in their prams outside, no matter what the weather.

Bronwyn lands in Norway

This is where I have been staying during my rainy week in Norway at the EECERA conference. It is right on the harbour. Each morning a bus came and took us to Stavanger University for the conference.