Fun Times in the Koru team: Term 1 Week 3

 Kia ora, e te whanau,

We have had an amazingly busy and productive fortnight - it's been SO much fun, and in amongst all of the fun, the children have very quickly shown fantastic gains in their independence and their confidence.

We have:

  • made ice cream
  • started visiting the library
  • started exploring simple 'programming' with the help of Kate, from Code Club (Kate's coming in each Thursday morning to introduce us to Digitech (or Digital Technology); this link will take you to the area in the New Zealnd Curriulum which relates to e-learning and will explain more about this aspect of Technology
  • been exploring the Maths equipment, and in particular, the shape equipment
  • been practising our phonological awareness skills (rhyming, hearing and saying the initial sound in words, hearing and saying the final sounds in words, hearing the two parts in compound words and joining them together); you'll find more about this area of the children's learning on the Koru page of Learning At Home on our school website; just click on this link to get there quickly
  • been finding out about interoception (which is to do with understanding and feeling what's going on inside our bodies, and being conscious of and learning to describe these feelings) and engaging in interoception activities
  • practised our core strength exercises and our finger strength and dexterity exercises, in preparation for the start of handwriting, with Bounce and Skip, our two soft toy monkeys
  • and... we have been making new friends, and talking about showing our school value, We Care, and what this looks like and sounds like

We Care
The children have been introduced to our Beckenham Te Kura o Pūroto values - our main focus so far has been on 'We Care'. The children came up with the following ideas to describe what others would see and hear when they are displaying this value: 
  • following kaiako instructions quickly and quietly
  • sharing the equipment
  • playing nicely with others, and inviting them into our games
  • having gentle hands and feet, and looking after anyone who hurts themselves
  • and being super amazing with helping to tidy up at the end of our learning through play times and before we go home at the end of the day
  • using good manners, like 'please', 'thank you', 'excuse me' and 'I'm sorry'.
Here are some photos of tamariki showing we care.

Washing our hands thoroughly before kai, showing that we care about being clean when eating

Look how careful we are to ensure that our hands are completely clean

Good job, tamariki!

Working together and helping each other to complete a huge and challenging jigsaw puzzle

More helpful team work with this jigsaw puzzle

Using our new sandpit equipment respectfully and carefully

Forming new friendships

Teamwork: listening to each other and working towards a shared goal (building a home for Bounce and Skip)

Welcoming others into the building team

Keeping the area round the sandpit clean and tidy, thereby showing care for others' health and safety...

...and ensuring that the sand isn't wasted

Core Strength exercises, in preparation for handwriting with Skip and Bounce:


The Stone Lion

Structured Literacy:
Your children's Literacy folders will be coming home in their school bags this week. There will be a letter to parents included in the folder and this will provide an explanation of our Structured Literacy programme for you. Please note that at the start of the children's literacy learning, there will be letter cards in their folders, and perhaps some heart word cards too, but no book necessarily for the first few weeks. Please click on this link to listen to exactly how we are teaching the children to make the 'pure' sound for each of the letters of the alphabet. This will help you enormously at home, when you are supporting your children with their learning.

Greedy Cat:
In Week 2, we read the shared book 'The New Cat' which is the first story in the Greedy Cat series, and tells the story of how Katie, the little girl in the stories, first received her new kitten for her birthday, and also tells how Greedy Cat got his name! Following on from this, some of our tamariki created Greedy Cat paintings. The children learned how to hold a paintbrush, how to dip their brush into primary colours in order to create the secondary colour they wanted, and to then paint their Greedy Cat image. Once the paint had dried, the children then drew on various features including the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the whiskers, and the claws, using black pastel. These paintings are on display in the hub and we have added a photo here, so that you can see the beautiful display we now have!

In Week 3, our Koru tamariki made some delicious banana and chocolate chip ice-cream with Aunty Ali, who comes in and helps support the Learning Through Play during the first session on Wednesday mornings. The children followed a simple recipe, which included whipped cream, condensed milk, mashed banana and chocolate pieces. Different groups of children all had a go at adding in the various ingredients to help create the ice-cream. We all waited very patiently for the ice-cream to freeze! This took all of Wednesday night and most of Thursday, and the icecream was then able to be enjoyed on Thursday afternoon. Please note that one or two children weren't at school on 'ice cream day' and we do have some icecream left over for when these children are back at school. Here are some photos of the ice-cream-making process and also of some of our tamariki enjoying the delicious result! Keep scrolling down! We simply couldn't leave any of these photos out :)

Our focus for Maths throughout Weeks 2 and 3 has been Geometry, looking at shapes and the different attributes they have. We have been exploring shapes by sorting, based on the different attributes the shapes have, going on shape walks to work out how many sides and corners a shape has, playing shape hopscotch and following shape patterns, making different patterns using our wooden shapes, and creating our own pictures by cutting and gluing different shapes such as squares, triangles, circles and rectangles. Below are photos of some of our tamariki involved in the game we call Shape Hopscotch.

Our Library time has now been confirmed as being on Fridays, and you will have noticed your child's library folder in your child's bag the last two Fridays. Library books can be kept at home until Friday each week, but need to be returned by then, if your child is to have new books issued.
You will also have noticed that your child's poetry book is coming home too. Please read the new poem, as well as the previous weeks' poems, with your child. Any colouring that hasn't been completed can be finished off at home. Your child could also colour in the title page at the front of their book. Please ensure that your child's poetry book is returned to their school bag and comes back to school each Monday.

Friendship List:
We are hoping to put together a contact list to make it easier for you all to set up playdates for your children. Please let Georgia or Elizabeth know if you are willing to have your contact details (cellphone number and/or email address) included on the Friendship List, and we'll get this together as soon as possible. We'd like to do this soon, so please email us by the end of this week (Friday, 25th February).

Your children's photos:
Kate, from Code Club (mentioned above), has asked if I would check to see whether parents would be willing to have their children's photos included in any funding applications she might have to make to the Ministry of Education. Kate endeavours to ensure that photos include the backs of children's heads. Please let Elizabeth know if you would prefer that your child's image NOT appear in Kate's proposals.
Below, you'll see some of the photos taken on Thursday when Kate taught the children how to play the Kidbot challenge. So much fun was had by all!!

...and a final few Learning Through Play photos:

Dancing to The Nutcracker Suite

The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy

What treats are being created here, we wonder?

Don't you just love a good book?

These good friends definitely do!

The Family Corner

Someone else who loves a good book

...and who could this possibly be?!

A reminder to please ensure your child is bringing a named hat to school each and every day.

Well... what a lot of great times we've been having in our first weeks at school!

Your children are doing a fantastic job, as they settle (back, for some of the children who started with us last year) into the Koru team and learn about the routines at school, and the different activities and ideas for play and learning that are on offer. We hope you all have a wonderful and warm week ahead, and we look forward to seeing all of those happy, smiling, little faces back at school tomorrow.

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
Elizabeth, Georgia and Stacey