Kindy expands learning ground

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By Alexia Johnston

Geraldine Kindergarten children are turning Talbot Forest into part of their classroom.
Twelve of the kindergarten’s children make regular visits to the forest with teacher Sandra Lambert as part of their curriculum.
The aim was to explore the forest’s many aspects, while helping the children become familiar with the area, she said.
Children make their weekly visit to the forest in all kinds of weather, within reason, thanks to wet weather gear, which the kindergarten purchased specially for the outings.
“The children can stay warm and dry. It doesn’t limit us in any way,” Ms Lambert said.
“And, that’s how children learn, by exploring the forest in different seasons.
“The children start building up that knowledge of what they can find when they are up there and add to their discoveries,” Ms Lambert said.
“One boy has made a fire pit and each week he’s added to it.
“All the children know where it is and say ‘let’s add more stuff to your fire pit’.”
The forest outings are part of the kindergarten’s “place-based learning”.
“[It is] so children gain a sense of identity – they work out where they are from,” Ms Lambert said.
From the forest the children acknowledge Mt Peel and the Waihi River, which makes it meaningful to them, she said.
The children have also been exploring some of the local legends, adding to the place-based learning concept.
An education services manager from Kids First Kindergarten in Christchurch recently assessed Geraldine Kindergarten on its areas of practice and quality evaluation indicators.
It received “exemplary level” in all areas, the highest standard a kindergarten could receive.