Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Christmas Play.

I said I would be in charge of the games on Christmas day when we joined a couple of friends. A trip to the 2 dollar shop saw me armed with handfuls of possibilities. For about $20 we had an afternoon filled with madness and laughter. The most popular were the plastic racing cars powered by balloons. It was quite a skill to blow the balloon via the exhaust, and not let the air out until the start of the race.

So there we were; adults squashed in together at the start line on the lounge floor. Countdown; and they were off- or rather
everyone elses were off. My car did premature victory laps. It just went round and round in circles whilst my friends cars zoomed past, crashing each other off the course and toward the
cushion finish line.
I lodged a protest. Having an engineer and a mechanic present proved a godsend. My car was then modified. How can a plastic car with only 2 moving parts can be modified? Believe me it is possible.
At the start line I positioned myself in the middle, lined up for the cushion. My car raced in straight and fast and won! My victory speech acknowledge the
racing crew and the pit boys. Chocolates were dished out as prizes and it was on to the next game.

Frog tiddly winks. A game of skill and co-ordination. Both of which were lacking slightly by this time in the day. For awhile we played according to the rules, and then innovation and creativity stepped in. How many frogs can jump at once. How high can they jump? The wine glass proved possible, as did the water jug. We drew the line at open mouths as targets.

So as a final wind down to our games, I introduced the balloon helicopter and we sat and watched the dog as it leapt excitedly around the garden and crashed through the flower beds as it followed the erratic flight of the helicopter. Who would be the one to retrieve it from the trees? As the games organiser I was exempt! We learnt some valuable lessons about flight paths, and obstacles.

I was reminded how we need to play and the excuse of Christmas should not be the only time when we retrace our childhood, get down on all fours and allow our playfulness to come to the fore.
I am thinking marbles and knucklebones will be next on our list and I won’t be waiting until next Christmas.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Christmas Break!

I have been reflecting on the Christmas break and am thinking about the learning this brings.

There were the usual highlights. There was the pleasure and joy in a growing family that now includes new additions with each year and in-law members. There was the sharing of good food, great company and having fun together.

There were gifts and presents of wide variety and the delight and joy of giving, receiving and opening to share. There was the annual decoration of the whole lounge room floor beautifully strewn in the discards of hasty present un-wrapping.

Santa brought some water guns and yes we had a water pistol or two already here. For a great water fight and in the name of fairness we added in some loaded lemonade drink bottles. Water fights have been a family tradition in our family for a while.

Then there were the Christmas sales. Well in the Sale there were water guns with the equivalent of nuclear war heads. So again in the name of fair fighting I bought three of them. They have a 7 metre spray range with a 500ml tank capacity. I headed home from the shop and had lunch. The fight was on. Daughters, mother, father, son-in-law and two grand children fully armed. The fight started on the drive way (concrete). Running shooting squealing and water eschewed. Husband ran for cover beside the house. I crouched and waited to ambush and inflict the full force of my new super squirter. To cut a long story and water fight short – I stepped into the drain and fell backwards onto my right hand and Whew yep knew it straight away broke my wrist. Everyone saw it and calmly, not wanting to scare the small ones around me with big eyes, I held my arm tight and asked for a clean shirt, a brush of my hair and a ride to the medical centre. I returned with a bright and shining sling and cast to a fanfare of interest and care.

I have learnt a lot about being the ‘cared for’ rather than being the ‘carer’. I have learnt how to ask for and accept help. I have learnt that making mistakes is easy for me - forgiving myself and being kind to myself for those mistakes is a “work in progress”.

I have learnt about pain and how it made me grouchy at times with those who were caring. I have learnt about patience and taking a little longer to do things. I have always thought that I am left-handed - in fact, I am two handed!!! and so my brain has had to work hard at me being one-handed and I am proud to say I can do most things one-handed!!!

As Hawaiki, 4 years old, left to go home from what we now call Christmas Break 2011 he said

“Nana you won’t be having water fights anymore now eh?”

I said “Oh yes I will. Next time – we will just be on the grass”.

So I learnt about taking risks and rose to Hawaiki’s challenge. I will not be hanging up my water gun yet. And Hawaiki learnt that nana’s have fun and can pick herself up and keep going - ready with her water gun another day.

As I write this the car is packed for my trip to Hawaiki and Pipiana’s house and yes the cast is waterproof and the gun is loaded... And we look forward to another fabulous learning year.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Information and Communication Technology - an invitation to participate

We live in exponential times, when I worked in an early childhood setting digital technology was a relatively new thing and we had computers and cameras, as well as a fax machine, laminator and cordless phone! Now there is a plethora of digital devices, both desktop and handheld and I am really interested to know what has changed in the last few years as far as using Information Communication Technology (ICT) goes,within Early Childhood settings. To this end, over the first half of 2012 I am undertaking a small research project investigating how teams are currently using ICT in Early Childhood. In late August I will be presenting this research at a conference and it will also form the basis for my lecture later in 2012.

In particular I would like to find out:
What digital devices (Computers, Cameras, tablets, MP3 players etc) you have in your centre and how you are using these.
What programmes do you find most useful and what are you using them for?
Do you blog or are you part of any online community? Do you use Wiki’s or Google Documents?
What has helped or hindered your use of ICT?
How are children using the ICT you have within your setting?
Has ICT made a difference for children's learning? If so how?
Do Parents and Whanau have access to ICT within your setting?
Do you have iPads, iPods or other handheld devices that children are able to use and if so what are they using them for?
I am keen to support  Centres that currently have an iPad but maybe not using it to its full potential, so let me know if you are interested in this.

If you could answer the above questions and anything else you would like to add,  email me at
This is a great opportunity to showcase some of the fabulous work happening in your centre and I look forward to reading your responses.
Ka Kite
A small selection of ICT in my house!