Childrens’ Corner 2020

A regular feature from our Monthly Newsletters to Parents, written by our Teachers.

November 2020

“Trip trop trip trop on my bridge … Who’s that walking on my bridge.”

This can be heard all around kindergarten as children enjoy and re-enact the story for this month. The three billy goats gruff have definitely made an impression! Inside play sees the scene reset, with bridges built from blocks, scarves becoming “luscious green grass”, and trolls, goats, and even horses go trip tropping across the bridge. Outside in the sandpit we see children turn into billy goats tripping across the bridge, and they squeal in anticipation of the troll who may live under there. Blocks of wood become billy goats, bridges and trolls as the children stretch their imaginations and fly.

What a wonderful way to learn about courage and building resilience in the face of fear. What creative storytellers we have amongst us here at Pathways.

October 2020

“Mr Sun, sun, please shine down on me…!”

The sun has been peeking out more and more for us here at kindergarten! This is something that creates a lot of excitement for our tamariki because that must mean our “Mr Sun” song is working!!!! There have been a few VERY hot days lately, with Lady Spring tickling our chins, cheeks and noses, just like in our story for this month “Lady Spring”. But…There have also been a few VERY cold and wet days, so stripping off clothes and putting them back on to adjust to this warm-cold weather has been a BIG pass-time lately!

The children seem happy with our new rhythm of starting the day outside. They come in happily and quickly start climbing trees, build and dig in the sandpit, or enjoy the quieter activities such as drawing or blowing bubbles.

September 2020

“You can’t walk around a muddy puddle…!”

This seemed to be the motto here at Pathways lately with our BIG mud pool in action! Our tamariki have been very clever in using the big cardboard pipes to create a way for the water from the flow form to flow into our mud pit area, creating a MASSIVE mud pool. Well, this has served many purposes, such as the good old splashing with our gumboots and wet weather gear; using brooms to push the water in different directions and watching it flow back into place; and of course scooping, measuring and carting water all over the playground with wheelbarrows!

The big cardboard pipes have been used in many ways in the sandpit too. It is so amazing to see our children’s imaginations come to life as they use these as waterways, drilling pipes and many more!

Inside, our children have been focused on fine motor skill development using different shapes and sizes of buttons to create pictures and other interesting things. Sliding down the wooden planks have served a purpose of teamwork and conflict resolution!

Our story this month is the story about a little seed. This ties in with the season of spring and creates awareness of the beautiful blossoms popping up on many of our trees. The children like to pretend to be seeds growing into BIG trees or precious flowers too! AND with the sun making and appearance more often now, our daily song is “Mister Sun”. This song invites the sun to shine down on us and to come and play with us.

July 2020

Thank you to everyone who came to our mid-winter lantern festival. The children really enjoyed the wonder and ritual of celebrating this significant change in the seasons. Spring rain seems to have got the message.
Wet weather gear has been getting a real work out lately (remember we can order you almost half price Mum2Mum wet weather gear any time – just ask).

The children burst outside after their morning play and are becoming more proficient at putting on their gear. Slowing down to think about over trousers and boots, jacket zips and hats.

All these little moments of waiting for your child to get those zip ends together or their boots on the correct feet are very important. Patience and calm usually speed this process. Time is a gift we give to children. While this is a challenge for some children, it leads to authentic confidence in their ability to see themselves as a learner. That ‘I can do this now’ epiphany.

This month’s story is the Matariki story. At this time of year the Matariki constellation rises and marks the Māori new year, a time of reflection, celebration, acknowledgment of our ancestors and making wishes for the coming springtime. Here is a youtube video link explaining how to find this constellation. You might like to share the night sky search for Tawhirimatea’s lightening bolt tears with your child.

I nga wa o mua.
Once upon a time
There was nothing but night
Te Pō
In this darkness two beings lay together.
Two ariki.
Ranginui the father.
Papatuanuku the mother.
They had tamariki.
And for a time all was wonderful.
Then their children grew and grew…
They felt trapped and restless
And Hoha
They wanted to leave and be free.
Papatuanuku and Ranginui woke up he oho,
They felt someone pushing them apart
It was their son Tanemahuta
He pushed and pushed and
Ranginui flew up into the air.
He was pōuri sad to leave his beloved wife
He cried and his tears were the rain ua.
He was not the only one who was sad
Tawhirimatea their son cried also
Tawhirimatea is the ariki of wind and weather
His tears were not ua they were lightening bolts.
Tawhirimatea gathered up his lightening bolt tears and
threw them up into the sky
where they became
nga whetu matariki.
The stars matariki
Which means from the eyes of ariki.

Our song
Twinkle twinkle little star Tirama, tirama nga whetu,
How I wonder what you are? Kei te pehea ra koutou?
Up above the world so high. Kei runga ake ra.
Like a diamond in the sky. He taimana to rite.
Twinkle, twinkle little star Tirama, tirama nga whetu
How I wonder what you are. Kei te pehea ra koutou.

Akotahi te reo Māori / learning Māori language together.
Te Pō – darkness, night.
Ariki – spiritual beings.
Nga whetu – stars
Ua – rain
Pouri – sad.
Harikoa – happy.
Hoha – grumpy.
We are trying to use some of these words regularly with the children, we invite you to try as well at home.

June 2020

Our hikoi/walk in the afternoons is a lovely time to discover our environment; the flag waving in the wind, the dog who knows us now and doesn’t bark, the hole in the tree in which something interesting might live in…it’s a wonderful opportunity for our group to share their views of the world around them.

Purposeful play is important here at Pathways and we have started to grind our own flour on Wednesdays. A lovely visual journey from wheat grain to buns happens. Thank you so much to the Jeffcote family for bringing in their mill.

Carina is telling us the Early winter walk story in preparation for lantern festival – see below.

Our Waiata for June will be a pronunciation tune:

A haka mana para ta wa nga wha
E heke mene pere te we nge whe
I hiki mini piri ti wi ngi whi
O hoko mono poro to wo ngo who
E. I. O. U.
U huku munu puru tu wu ngu whu.

Early Winter Walk Story
Early one evening as the sun was going down.
There was a little gnome who needed a home.
He walked along with his stick in one hand
And a lantern in the other so he could see where to stand.

I walk with my little lantern, my lantern myself and I.
We walk with our little lantern, our lantern so shiny and bright.
The stars that swing, our lanterns we bring
La bimma, la bimma, la beh.

He tried an old sea shell but it was too small and draughty and cold.
It was not right so he did not stay
As he walked along, he sang his song.

I walk with my little lantern, my lantern myself and I.
We walk with our little lantern, our lantern so shiny and bright.
The stars that swing, our lanterns we bring
La bimma, la bimma, la beh.

He tried an old well but it was damp and had mould.
It was not right so he did not stay.
To the bridge he made his way.
As he walked along, he sang his song

I walk with my little lantern, my lantern myself and I.
We walk with our little lantern, our lantern so shiny and bright.
The stars that swing, our lanterns we bring
La bimma, la bimma, la beh.

What he thought was just right, was a box with a lid
Because he could shut it at night… and he did.

May 2020

Our second week open and the new order of things is slowly becoming normal. We are looking forward to seeing you all as the restrictions are lifted. There are a few changes to our rhythm – we need to wash our hands on arrival and before leaving, and we have added a hikoi/walk to our day.


Story for May – Hedgy hedgehog

(italics text is sung)

Autumn leaves are falling down,
Red and yellow, gold and brown.

Hedgy hedgehog was wandering amongst the colourful leaves.

He sniffs and snuffles in the leaves that have floated to the ground.

Hedgehog sees a little bee that quickly flies away singing

“Autumn’s here, autumn’s here but winter is on its way”.

A little girl goes skipping by. Through the leaves so red and gold, she dances, sings and plays.

“autumn’s here, autumn’s here but winter is on its way”.

Hedgehog finds a pile of leaves in a little heap.

He feels tired and ready for a sleep.

Shuffling through the leaves, hedgehog makes a soft and cosy nest where he can in winter rest.

He makes himself comfortable and is soon fast asleep.

Hedgehog is dreaming and above the stars are gleaming.

Autumn leaves are falling down,
Red and yellow, gold and brown.


Te reo that may be familiar to your child:
Kotiro-girl, Tama, boy. (it’s ok to change the gender in the story every now and then).  Ngenge -tired. Moe- sleep. Whero- red, kowhai- yellow. Whetu- stars.

New te reo you may wish to add:
Ngahuru – autumn. Takurua – winter. Āhuru – comfortable, warm, cosy. Pī – Bee

April 2020 (during lockdown)

I hope you are all safe and well in these new and unusual times.  I miss everyone, the lovely relationships you have given me, especially your children’s.  Community is important and I do hope you are all finding you way through. There’s a lot of hope here.

We are all familiar with parents being our children’s first teachers so I trust you’re all in familiar territory being home with your children.

I’ve been thinking about rhythm, repetition, security and continuity and how our Pathways kindergarten rhythm gave us a structure that allowed for the important unstructured Mahi/work that is play.  So we have outside active play and inside active play interspersed with quiet breathing in times. One of these is story time.  Story time at pathways is just before lunch, it is a time of wonder and togetherness. We stop all our amazing individual and small group learning and sit together to share our understandings. It is a time of service, an adult will stop their work and make time to bring to life a thoughtful narrative that helps children make sense of their world. It is being one, breathing in and belonging.

The story I had planned for April is the Star Apple Story. If you are looking for options to bring some structure to your child’s day reading is always welcomed at Pathways.  There are a few different versions but this one has a nice theme of dreaming big, waiting patiently and growing to be grateful for the things that are special about us. Your child may want to become the tipu, the sprout and grow up high reaching for the whetu, the stars. Feeling the story with their body and using the story to understand their body.

The Star Apple Story.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, the world only had one apple tree.

It was just a baby apple tree, a seedling with small roots and no branches to speak of.

One night, the little apple sprout looked up into the night sky and admired the beautiful stars. The little apple sprout wanted so badly to reach up and touch them, so it stretched and stretched and stretched… until it was a great apple tree.

But as much as the great apple tree stretched, it still could not reach the stars.

The great apple tree began to cry, it was so sad that it could not touch the beautiful stars. A star fairy heard the great apple tree cry, and flew down to ask what was wrong.

The great apple tree cried, “Oh, star fairy, I want to touch the stars! But I am way down here and they are way up there!”

The star fairy thought for a moment and said, “Great apple tree, I will bring you back a star, but the stars live very far away so it will be awhile before I return.” And with that, the star fairy flew back up into the sky, leaving the great apple tree in wonder.

With spring, the great apple tree had beautiful green leaves and pink flowers, but still could not touch the stars.

And then with summer, the pink flowers grew turned white, just like the bright stars, and began to turn into tiny apples, but the great apple tree still could not touch the stars.

And then with fall, the tiny apples grew bigger and bigger and bigger… until they were ready to eat! The great apple tree was so proud of its apples that it forgot all about the stars, until one day when the star fairy came back.

“I brought you a basket of stars,” said the star fairy, “but your branches are full of apples! How would you ever hold them?”

“Oh, thank you, Star Fairy,” exclaimed the Great Apple Tree, “but I no longer need the stars. My red apples fill up my branches and are so pretty, I couldn’t bear to part with them.”

The Star Fairy thought for a moment and then said, “I will give each of your apples a star, hidden deep within, and every time a child cuts open an apple, she will see a beautiful star!”

And with that, the Star Fairy touched her wand to every apple and planted deep within it a star.

We try to build on our Te Reo Māori knowledge with each story we tell.

So we say words we know and are comfortable within both Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Pakeha. Your children might remember that…
Fairy is a patupaiarehe
Star is whetu
The sky is Rangi
Spring is Kōanga
Beautiful is ātaahua

Kakariki is green
Mawhero is pink
Ma is white
Whero is red

New words
Sprout is tipu
Basket is kete

It might be that, at the end of this story you cut open an apple to show your child the whetu/star hidden inside… and slices of apple are nice to share.

I’ve seen apple prints also: cut the apple in half across the core, then cut the edible sides off so you’re left with a core, dab in paint or ink and onto paper. I can visualise some constellation prints now.

Welcome to Autumn!

March 2020

WATERPLAY … SPRINKLERS … SANDPIT RIVERS … MUDPOOLS – This sums up the month of February here at Pathways with us making the most of the hot weather! And the trusty grapefruit tree supplied us with LOTS of grapefruit to quench our thirst. Tamariki enjoyed squeezing and squashing grapefruit for us all to savour. I am sure our whānau have noticed the hazelnuts in children’s bags and pockets every day! Yes, we’ve had a few hazelnut gatherers in our midst, starting each day with a good shake of the hazelnut tree and using the hammers and our strong muscles to break open as many hazelnuts as possible!

We started with paper-making as one of our inside focus activities. This involves ripping paper into small pieces, soaking it in water and then using sieves to shape it into the right sizes and consistencies. What a fun way to learn about sustainability and looking after our environment.

Our February story, Te ika a Maui, was told by Fi and came with the moral of getting along with siblings, problem solving and making plans. The tamariki loved taking part in the action of rowing their waka, learning new words such as “hoha”, and then having an imaginary swim in the moana to finish off story time.

Our tamariki have been enjoying lots of play outside lately that involve working together, especially in their pretend play of building and constructing. Our March story, ‘The enormous turnip’, will link into this theme of teamwork and collaboration.

February 2020

Welcome back everyone. Nearly all our children have returned from holidays and it’s great to see you all relaxed after having a long break. We are ready (after some injury and study breaks) to get busy learning at Pathways Kindergarten.

Just a gentle reminder that our session starts at nine am. We are keen to all start together with our morning circle – you are welcome to join in if you are still here.

Our story for January has been about a Te Arawa explorer Ihenga. The children enjoy hearing about how the places and names they are a little familiar with came about and we’re growing a gentle understanding of te ao Māori and Tangatawhenua Rotorua.

Thank you all for the chance to study Steiner Diploma of Early Childhood Education. I had an amazing week at Titirangi Steiner school and am feeling more confident about the concepts and theory of Steiner Education.