Tag Archives: learning

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park


Another day of exploration and opportunity to connect with our natural world. What a beautiful setting to develop natural learning, a sense of wonder, and magical moments in the sunshine.

socal hike

Socal Hike

Socal Hike

Socal Hike

Natural Curiosity

Socal Hike

Socal Hike

“Framed against a backdrop of urban development, the lakes serve as reminders of the fragility of wilderness”

Barbara's Lake

Barbara’s Lake ~ Natural Lake in OC

Socal Hike

Socal Hike

Socal Hike

“All flowers grow through dirt”

There’s always something beautiful outside. Go out and explore!

Love of Teepees


Has anyone else planted a bean teepee (tipi) this year?

Ours is growing pretty quickly. It isn’t too late to start now.

Teepees can be so much fun. We love them.

They are great to sleep in…


They are a fun place to read books…

Bamboo Teepee

and kanikani (dance)…


They are great to drink smoothies in…

Bamboo Teepee

Plus, they are great for hiding away and eating some beans 🙂


We are still waiting for ours to come in as we planted a bit late to avoid our lamb from eating them, but they are growing so quickly. I need to get a photo update. We have yet to plant our snap peas.

Beans and peas are an easy raw nutritious snack that are fun to eat. We bought some peas that David and I have been enjoying and so has Zaedyn. He showed a lot of concentration and coordination when trying to get them out. With each one full of different amounts, we also used them as a fun way of counting. Tahi, rua, toru, whā, rima, ono, whitu, waru, iwa, tekau. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.

Zaedyn is learning about being sustainable and growing his own food in a fun and positive way. I cannot wait to see how our bean teepee turns out and watching him pick fresh beans from the plant to eat. The garden provides so many wonderful opportunities to learn and care for the environment.

Garden Beans

There are so many teepees available to purchase and many opportunities for you to make them yourself. Do you or your children like teepees?

Useful Avocado Tip


Avocados have endless benefits and are absolutely amazing! There are so many delicious ways to enjoy them simply as they are in their raw state, tossed in a salad, added to a smoothie, mixed in a dip, used as a spread, used in baking and uncooking desserts, etc. We really should have grown our own avocado tree when we first thought about it because we use them for everything. Especially since it is one of Zaedyn’s favourite foods, and it is packed with nutritional benefits.

For little ones, there can be challenging points when it comes to meal times. As a parent, you want to help them, but you also want them to be individuals. Avocados are extremely helpful when it comes to helping your child learn independence skills when eating, and also leaves less of a mess and wasted food on your floor. This was a super quick dinner, and I would normally add lots more. Possibly not the healthiest, but Zaedyn was hungry so I quickly put this together. He has not had rice in awhile so he was pretty excited and ate all of the rice first. You could easily add more veggies and lentils or come up with something more creative than this. However, how was avocado useful besides its many health benefits?


If I make something like rice or quinoa, avocados are the perfect solution to keep it all together. I have always found it hard for Zaedyn to keep it on the spoon when trying to feed himself. There was a time as well when I thought he simply did not like rice and it would all come back out. Maybe this has something to do with loving avocado, but if you are in need of a way to add more nutrients and healthy fats plus help you and your little ones with frustration to learn to feed themselves, try adding avocado! Let me know about your experiences.

Even if they decide to use their hands, the avocado makes it stick together and is easier for them to pick up and eat. If you want to let them eat and help them as well, try using two spoons. Zaedyn ends up using both spoons to help himself. From the very start we tried to incorporate baby led weaning and have allowed him to use utensils or given him whole foods in the early stages. There are huge learning opportunities when it comes to meal times, and he definitely enjoys eating because he can feed himself.

Oh, and you don’t have to be little to try this. The avocado makes it taste really yummy! With lots of raw veggies added, this is also a great mix for a wrap.



*Tip: Use avocado to bind food together, adding lots of nutrients and making it easier for your child to feed themselves.

Fascination of a Quiet Book


Haka Quiet Book


Alphabet Truck

Vegan Picnic


Numbers Surfing Theme


Butterfly Numbers

Traffic Light & Road

Dress the People

Shape Matcher

What an awesome prezzie Zaedyn received back in April for his 1st birthday. I love how unique it is to us & how Zaedyn is able to relate to the truck, waves, & vegan picnic, making connections to the world around him. This morning he was so fascinated playing with his quiet book. Most of all, he was just curious and playful in his exploration. There are many learning opportunities through counting in English & Te Reo, fine motor skills with buttoning, velcro, zips, learning colours and about traffic lights, roads & traffic signs, ABCs, shapes, & healthy vegan food. I look forward to seeing what other dispositions and learning will occur as Zaedyn continues to play with his quiet book.

Who is the talented person responsible for this learning tool? Read more about the making of our quiet book & other sewing ventures with AfricanKiwi.

A Different Kind of Water Wall


With the excitement of summer coming and a bit of sunshine amidst all of the rain and wind today, a quick look around in the shed ended in this makeshift attempt of a water wall, if you can call it that. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. Warm water, funnels, cups, PVC pipes, and the curiosity of infants. I cannot wait to see what resources we can collect and new ways we can put them together to create an inviting and challenging space for tamariki to learn.

Most tamariki love playing with water. There is something magical about the natural element of water through the variety of opportunities, endless resources and open ended play, and the smiles it puts on children’s faces.

“It is not about the blocks or the dough. It is about the activity being the vehicle for the acquisition of the disposition to learn” ~Margaret Carr (2008)

This quote provides great reflection when thinking about the importance of dispositions toward children’s ongoing learning and the activities we set up or resources that we provide. Water helps to develop multiple dispositions such as curiosity, playfulness, resourcefulness, and collaboration. Not all children enjoy water. For some, water play might be about the confidence that develops. Although the water space might remain the same throughout the day, each child’s play will result in learning that is different to those that they are playing alongside. Isn’t that fascinating? As a teacher, it challenges us to be thinking on so many levels and supporting each child’s needs to further develop their individual learning. I am excited for summer and all of the wonderful activities and learning to come.

Check out Let the Children Play for other ideas on creating a water wall and other inspiring play ideas.

Washing the house and cars on a rainy day? Here is a quick look at some of the water play Zaedyn enjoyed over the weekend…



“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” ~E.E. Cummings

Carr, M. (2008) Presentation to Hui Topu – Professional Development for Early Childhood Education. May 28th, Wellington.

Buzz & a Puddle: The Joys of Childhood


Zaedyn Tai & Buzz

Buzz liked to follow Zaedyn…

…even to the puddle!

Pekepeke ~ Jumping in his Gummies

A bit uncertain about falling in the puddle

…though he decided to get up and happily carry on playing, even with his wet bum.

     What wonderful learning opportunities & excitement this morning: a lamb and a puddle! As sheep exist all over the country, it is great for Zaedyn to enjoy opportunities to learn about lambs. He has had a few visits from lambs already and is building his love for them as well as all animals. Even when Buzz was following him and getting a bit excited looking for his milk, Zaedyn remained curious and interested. Buzz just seemed to keep appearing near Zaedyn. I couldn’t help but wonder and try to interpret what he was thinking. I loved seeing Zaedyn so happy with this lamb. As an abandoned triplet, too common amongst sheep, Buzz has been given hope. He seemed to be quite happy drinking his bottle, and I think that he had a pretty fun day being loved by lots of little toddlers.

     Why not let tamariki jump in puddles? We can change wet clothes, but we cannot give them some of the wonderful learning opportunities that can occur in nature and the freedom to play if we stop them from exploring. I was actually really excited when Zaedyn started jumping in the puddle. His face was full of joy, & I believe that nature encourages children’s imagination. The puddle also provided for social interaction where he watched and jumped in the puddle alongside his good friend as they were both filled with pure excitement. There was even learning happening through Zaedyn’s fall in the puddle to getting past his wet bottom and happily carrying on to play. Who knew how much learning and fun could take place this morning with the surprise visit from Buzz, the lamb, & a puddle left from the evening rain.

Free to Explore


Zaedyn was part of the Educational Leadership Project Seminar

“There are many transition moments in a day. Some are the big ones like settling into a new centre. Others involve children moving from play to care moments like lunch or sleep. It is the way teachers invite children into these experiences that says so much about teacher intentions, values, abilities and skills. This seminar looks at wise practice around transitions, from those first steps through the doors, to transition to school and those moments between. Relationships are the key here and we consider how we ensure children are listened to, families are supported and respectful, responsive engagements are embedded in our moment by moment practice.”

This is what I attended this afternoon along with a few other teachers from around the Waikato region. A seminar about transitions from the Educational Leadership Project (ELP), and Zaedyn Tai was projected onto the screen freely playing with gloop and then paint on the next slide. My face lit up with a smile when I saw him up there. Carol Marks, an ELP facilitator, has been joining our centre meetings to support us through in-centre professional development as well. Currently supporting us through social competence, she looked through some of our profile books and gave me positive feedback around the affording environment provided through the fun and delight of paint experiences and thinking about the learning analysis around Zaedyn’s interest, experimenting, and creativity through paint. Of course I was thrilled and happy to send some photos through to her when she asked for permission to use them in her seminars, and I was even more excited to see them being used today.

From both a teacher and mother’s perspective, I can reflect positively on some of the experiences that I have provided for Zaedyn, recognising and noticing opportunities to extend his interests and encourage his sense of curiosity. Through this ongoing professional development with ELP and their Inspiration Day that was held in Hamilton back in June, I feel strongly supported within the professional community toward some of my goals and ideas within my teaching practice and the way I strive to enable tamariki to be curious explorers within their environment. ELP’s big focus has been around improvement and innovation, and I have been told by a few that I have been very strong in demonstrating this.

For those of you who don’t know, I previously worked with Toddlers from 18 months to around 3 1/2 years and returned to work from maternity leave to teach 3 month to 18 month old infants. What a huge transition this has been for me. Although there has been mixed thoughts and a lot of reflections through uncertainty, it is times like these where reassurance about my practice including experimenting new approaches motivates me to continue teaching. There are many different ways of doing things, but at this time I feel confident with the goals that I am working toward achieving. Thank you to all of those who continue to challenge and support me, especially you little ones who make me question, innovate, and allow me to make observations in order to support your ongoing learning. My teaching practice revolves around you :).

Besides making me think and reflect upon my own personal transition and teaching practice, this seminar was very thought provoking in the way we respond to children’s needs and support them daily. I love the idea about their mauri life force and being in a state of balance. As teachers and parents it is important that we develop relationships where we respond to children’s needs and are flexible as they learn who they are and make sense of their world. Let children play and explore.