I am really looking forward to the Cluster Hui on Saturday and hearing the stories of progress so far. How quickly the year is flying by and what a lot of has been achieved by everyone already. I have very much enjoyed my time working with Lucknow, Riversdale and KIDSPACE and accompanying them on part of their journey in the contract.
I have been excited by the progress KIDSPACE have made not only by changing their focus from making posters to blogging but the positive response they have received from parents, whanau and the children themselves who get very excited when they see themselves featuring in a blog post about their learning. Together we have explored the technicalities of blogging, solved problems and shared successes. The other thing that has excited me is the willingness of new teachers to learn and be involved in this opportunity. We are all on this journey together and each one of us can learn something from someone else. I can remember a time, being a digital immigrant, when I felt quite daunted by even the thought of using a computer. There are some wonderful teachers who still may feel this way but are prepared to take up the challenge, and that is what counts.
When I arrived at Lucknow I was blown away with what they had already achieved. They are the movie making experts so if you want any tips you know where to go! What a lot of work they had already done in the first year and a half, about transition from home to kindergarten and kindergarten to school. The teachers have made wonderful treasures to support children in their learning and to share with parents, whanau and teachers to enable a smooth transition. Now the focus has also changed to children documenting the learning using ICT and the teachers are making new discoveries. One of the highlights for me in working with Lucknow was developing their spotlight in which we used ICT to share their culture, not only of bread making but of developing awareness and respect of the environment by children and their community.
I am sure there will be lots of interest at the Hui in Riversdale’s e-books. As the teachers have worked their way through their research they have made interesting discoveries which have helped us all to reflect on our teaching and learning. Some of these findings that come to mind are; the opportunity for children to use the book as it is being made to reflect and visualize the next step in their learning, observing the child who is so quiet and shy but as an author blossoms, the value of children adding their oral narrations, the revisiting and building on previous learning and the strengthening of connections with parents and whanau through sharing the books digitally to name a few.
When my eldest son who is now 31 was at play centre, he wanted to be a "half time builder and a half time archaeologist." At the time the career that he eventually followed as a software engineer was unknown to him. It is almost certain that many of the careers that the children in your care will follow do not yet exist. We need to focus on the skills, attitudes and values that will allow them to have a choice to follow their dreams and become the people they aspire to be.
Many people question why early childhood should be involved in ICT. Rachael Carsen, in her book “A Sense of Wonder,” wishes that every child could be given a “sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.” At our last Hui Lucknow kindergarten shared how the children had watched a butterfly hatch from its chrysalis in real time through the use of a digital microscope. I think they would have gone home that day with a great sense of wonder.
I am now lucky to be able to work with some other centres in Napier and Hastings and so my learning journey continues.
Good luck to you all as you make meaning and continue your own research journeys.