Saturday, 25 February 2017

Pukeko Update

Another action packed week. Our groups are in full swing now and there is such a impressively high level of focus by the children. The New Zealand Playhouse brought “Puss in Boots-Pet Detective” to our school. Pukeko were captivated by the fast paced, cleverly presented play.  Many of the children came back to class and added a whole new level to their dramatic play.

Pukeko had the opportunity to enjoy some outdoor play. Observing the children, there were many physical skills being practiced and refined. There was a lot of sharing, and a lot of learning how to share with the limited equipment we provided. This created many opportunities for Mrs Watson to coach the children as they came up with solutions for themselves. Pukeko is very quickly becoming a class of resilient self managers.

Mrs Watson has observed the imaginative play reach a whole new level with a wider range of children. One group has created many real life scenarios (at home…a fire evacuation to another home, taking their pets to the vet after the fire, going to McDonalds, having babies at the hospital. A surgery was set up which involved consulting x-rays that were supplied by a parent at the request of her child. Throughout this play the children were practising co-operating with equipment, the roles, the story line; practising their oral conversational skills; retaining a story-line in their head, making connections to real life experiences and problem solving. This all involves higher order thinking.

Simultaneously a group of boys had made a series of huts and had established play involving teenage siblings. This group in particular have made deeper friendships this week through their play and have become much more confident at initiating and continuing play with others. This in turn improves their sense of belonging at school.

Moving to a new a new house after the fire

Doctor Lucy consulting the x-rays before helping Sophia

Lily and Tyson spending a quiet moment threading the alphabet letters and talking

Jada and Lucy preparing to travel in their boat.

Elsie and Charlotte checking to see how many pick up sticks there were in the game.

Thanks everyone for coming along on Wednesday evening for the folk dance we had been practicing. I bet it was a surprise to be pulled up for a dance. You were all great sports and it was fantastic to see smiles on everyones faces.

(video curtesy of Weka)

This week we are continuing to give children the opportunity to play outside as well as in - weather permitting. We are looking to introduce large loose parts. Things like tyres, PVC piping, planks of wood, pallets and saw horses. We are excited to see how our creative and imaginative children put these loose parts to use.

Finally this week is goal setting. Thank you to those that have returned the goal setting sheet and booked in online. If you have yet to do this, please do. It is important that we are all on the same page when it comes to your child's goals and learning expectations. The goal setting survey that came home will provide the basis for discussion at our meetings. When you book, please book under Glen Thompson as both Jennie and Glen will be at the meetings this time round. Please check the last newsletter for details of how to do this. School will finish at 2pm on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here is an interesting blog post from Autahi School. It describes the learning children can get from a range of different types of play.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Pukeko Update

In week 3 we were so busy. Making creations, sorting, constructing, discussing and solving problems. It is very interesting for Mrs Watson and I seeing how the children's play is developing. Many of the children are diving deeper into their imaginations and creating dramatic play scenarios with specific roles, often imitating their own experiences at home. In this way they are making sense of their world. The children are getting many opportunities within their conversations to plan, adjust, convince, justify and defend their ideas. Great oral language practice.

Reading and writing groups started in earnest last week. Books came home with all students and they had several opportunities to read before the book came home. Having the withdrawal space has made these sessions highly focussed for both the students and the teacher. Writing at the moment is focussed on the formation of letters (Casey Caterpillar). This is so children can record letters quickly and correctly so when they compose their own stories letter formation is automatic. We have been working on maths within play, counting forwards and backwards, identifying numbers and sorting objects at every opportunity.

This week we have the folk dance evening on Wednesday the 22nd at 6pm on the back court. We have been practicing hard and hope to see as many of you that can make it.

Please make sure you check last weeks newsletter for details of Goal Setting coming up in Week 5. It is important for your child that you Complete and Return the Parent Voice form that came home last Thursday as this will form the basis of the Goal Setting.

Thank you to those of you that have let us know if and when you are able to give some of your time to help out in Pukeko and support the children's learning. If you are able to help out and haven't let me know yet please do so. This week I will contact you and give you details of what and when we will be needing your help.

The children had a great time at the Big Day Out last Friday, despite the rain. Thank you to all of you that gave your time to help.

Some photos of the work children have been taking part in in week 3

Amber putting her problem solving skills to the test. How to make sure the marbles do not roll off the tables.

The boys made a pirate ship out of a range of the classes equipment. Later the girls decided it was a car that they would use to get the family around town.

The girls creating a McDonalds to serve food to others in the class.

Making burgers.

Mama Jada with her baby and front pack.

Desmond and Pietro have a strong urge to order and group objects. Desmond grouped these cars in 3 different ways while I sat with him. He made groups of 3, then 4 and then he grouped them by colour.

More sorting with Desmond and Pietro.

Dinner time!

Soni challenged himself to build a tower with the small blocks that was taller than himself.

The conversation going on between these two as they created this masterpiece was amazing. There were justifications for every decision and adjustment made to the design.

Tyson and Lily spend a lot of focus and time creating a continuous ramp for them to run their cars down. 

Some of the boys in imaginative, dramatic play.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Pukeko Update

Pukeko have started the term well. All of the children are getting used to our space and what is expected of them and from them. The children have been exploring the class and what it has to offer and have begun to stretch their imaginations in their play. It is exciting to see the ideas the children are coming up with and the social skills they are beginning to use when working with one another. It was great to see families at 'Meet the teacher'. If you missed it the information will be in your email now.

This week we are beginning reading and writing groups. At the moment maths is woven into our day with incidental counting (forward and backwards to 10), number identification and a whole lot of working with shapes. We will starting slowly, and our intention is to see at least 2 groups a day. Children will read a book for at least 2 days. The idea is to build confidence and to become fluent with the book they have. Reading at home should be as easy and stress free as possible.

Remember on Friday we have our 'Big Day Out' at Jellie Park. If you are able to help out please let us know. If you are helping, you will need to meet us at Jellie Park. We leave school at 10am and leave Jellie Park at 2pm. Children need togs, towel, sunscreen, lunch, drink bottle and hats. It would be very helpful if Pukeko could arrive at school with their togs underneath their uniform.

We are looking forward to another great week.

Here are some pictures of the play happening in Pukeko over the past 2 weeks.

What a great team. These guys were working together so well to water all of our very dry flowers.

A test of strength. 

Getting ready for the show. Jada bought in some wigs to share and showed us a dance routine. 

Building a house. Tyson experimenting with shapes and continually changing his plans during construction.

Frankey busy writing away while the girls are dancing. He asked 'what does an 'n' look like. We found it on our alphabet. 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Why Play? (information for parents)

This video gives a background to play and why it is very important to the development of our children.