At least twice a year we get a visit by our friend CJ, who is employed by the Tasman District Council and is our Enviroschools Facilitator. She also loves to bring in her Border Collie, Flip, for the tamariki to pat and play fetch with after her session.
This time the focus was on atua Māori – the guardians of all things around us. CJ spoke to us about Tangaroa (ocean and the life within it) Tāwhirimātea (winds and storms) Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) Tānemahuta (Forests and all that dwell therein, especially the birds) and Ranginui (Sky Father).
CJ talked about this perspective and about how atua are the guardians of all aspects of the universe, from whom all life is descended. This links with our early childhood bi-cultural curriculum of Te Whāriki. Together we are learning about Māori knowledge and practices that are unique to our place and part of our NZ heritage.
During these discussions CJ got us to act out what it would look like if we were Tangaroa or Papatūānuku . It was awesome to see tamariki using their imagination and moving their bodies in a way that depicted a fish or the waves in the ocean, trees, mountains and birds.
We were then given photos of different scenes and objects and had to decide where they could go (under which atua). There were some excellent conversations, thinking, questioning and teamwork.
The tamariki then had the opportunity to express their connections with this activity through drawing. I could tell there had been some great listening happening by the way the tamariki put pen to paper, using their imagination.
Then of course at the end a little play with Flip, throwing him his toy, turn taking, sharing and using patience. Pats at the end for Flip – his favourite part. Flip is now 9 years old and he is such a lovely dog to have around us all.
Banner image: Tamariki at Golden Bay Kindergarten take food scraps to feed their worms.