Rain or shine Takaro Kindergarten’s flourishing outdoor area has become a beacon for active and adventuring children, and even the birds have joined in.
Head teacher Tina Jarvis says they have transformed the outdoor space, adjacent to Takaro School, with moveable play equipment and a ‘forest’ planting.
Much of the play equipment has been made by staff and whānau, including special new little play whare, complete with brushwood thatched roofs, a new fire pit and an outdoor play kitchen. The kindergarten’s huge sandpit is popular for mixing up sand cakes and sand muffins to ‘cook’ in the kitchen.
Whaea Tina says the little whare, in particular, are part of the kindergarten’s active encouragement of Māori language and culture.
“It’s really about embracing the dual heritage of New Zealand,” she says, noting that 95 percent of the roll is Māori. “We talk about Papatūānuku (earth mother), Tāne-mahuta guardian of the trees, the insects and birds and we call the birds by their Māori names.”
Tui bird(s) feature in the Maui stories and are a special interest. This time of year there are plenty of visiting Tui due to high numbers of flowering nectar trees, plus the added temptation of the sugar syrup the children feed them.