Dramatic Play

Last term dramatic play was a great focus for children to explore a variety of imaginative play concepts. This sparked a lot of new interests and knowledge. We designed a cafe. This concept was a huge hit and provided ongoing learning experiences. We went on a trip to the cafe in the library. I think the most rewarding part of the trip was eating a cookie in the cafe instead of rummaging through the library seeking a book of interest. 

Other types of pretend play included super hero play, doctor play, animal play, supermarket play and vet play. The children experienced "camping at the preschool for the day" too.  The children also had opportunities to be involved in dress-up days and bake for our teddy bears picnic. We noticed the children's self-care skills have increased through the different occupations and use of dress up and props.

Through dramatic play the children have had opportunities to act out and role model real life experiences. It helps them to develop self help skills and shy children have come out of their shell more. Children's relationships skills increase as they learn to understand other peoples points of view and learn about sharing, cooperation and empathy. They have an ability to develop strategies to resolve conflicts. We have noticed the dramatic play is now more prominent in the centre. 



We're Going on a Bear Hunt

November 2016                                                          Teacher / Kaiako: NESS

Anthony sowed new grass seed and “bordered off” this area.” The lovely warm weather we’ve been having and plenty of rain, has been the perfect conditions for germinating the seeds to grow lush green grass. This afternoon when Stacey opened up this grass area the children had the pleasure of running through the long wavy grass. I broke into the “Bear Hunt” story and immediately I had children swishing and swashing through the long grass. The children know this story very well. They enjoy predicting the unfolding plot. But Mason wasn’t going to go through the sequence he immediately pointed out a cave. He screamed “Ness look a CAVE.” The children followed in unison, They hollered,” Look a CAVE, a cave.” We stepped into the deep cold river towards the cave. Splash splosh, splash splosh. We tip toes very quietly into the cave. When we saw the bear, it was a mad scramble through the cave to safety. No tip toeing out of the cave today. The children clambered up the net onto the fort. BUT we forgot to shut the door. We either went down the slide or back down the net. When we closed the front door the children plunged on top of one another to get to the mat.

Phew, we’re not going on a bear hunt again!

Re telling the bear hunt story is a playful and exciting way enabling children to make connections with the book. It also provides opportunities for children to be creative and explore with their imaginations. When reading the book we talk about walking through the long wavy grass. What does it feel like to walk through LONG wavy grass? Is it soft or does it feel prickly?  Although we talk about the bear wanting someone to play with, the children love to run from him / her.  We say next time we will ask him to play with us, but we never do.

A couple of days later Hazel notices a very muddy puddle, “Ness look a puddle.” I said to Hazel, “Jump in it. What does it feel like? Squelch squerch, squelch, squerch. We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a BIG one what a beautiful day. We’re not scared. Uh oh, MUD, thick oozy mud. We can’t go over it we can’t go under it, Oh no, we have to go through it. Squelch, squerch.” Another opportunity to make the connection between the story with the mud. It wasn't long before Hazel was accompanied by Peyton and Jett playfully enjoying the natural environment.






Exploring and caring for our enviroment


Getting outside and enjoying the environment is a passion to be fostered. Seeking out the insects that inhabit the outdoors, understanding where they live and how we can care for them are all part of gaining an understanding of our place in the world.

We have been taking an interest in the worms (noke) that like to live under our outdoor mat and we have been observing them for some time now. Observation and listening is an important learning disposition that supports children’s future learning. As I chat about what we can see the children crowd around and observe. There are maths concepts as we compare the long worms with the short worms, and language in context to what we are seeing i.e. fast wriggling worms and the slow steady stretching worms.

Charlie and I have dug the garden for worms and we have moved aside grasses in an attempt to discover the snails (ngata) that hide here. (It’s like a treasure hunt!)

Some children have no hesitation in touching snails while others are more confident to just watch. We observe when they blow bubbles and understand that this is when they are unhappy. Children are encouraged to put the snails back where we found them as this is their home and where they are trying to hide from birds who will eat them.

We have also watched snail Olympics as they swim through a plate of water and exit the pool. Children that are particularly fascinated with the snails like to draw a teacher over with them to show them what they have found. 



Some children just like to wait, and watch. What patience! We will continue to make discoveries and develop an understanding of the characteristics of the insects and animals that live around us.


Teacher / Kaiako: Kaye                                          



Spring time KOANGA

Kei runga i a tātou te wā o te kōanga

Spring is upon us

As the days warm up and daylight savings begins, it is a timely reminder to ourselves that our environment is beautiful and diverse. While there are some things that we can control, there are also some things that we cannot. There are quite a few bugs going around with the change of seasons. If your child is feeling miserable with a cough, cold and or high temperatures please keep them home until well again.


 Ko te wā o kōanga he tohu o te whānautanga hou                                                                    Spring is a symbol of rebirth

Have you ever wondered what the recommended serving sizes for children or for yourself? Match your servings to hand size.

Did you know?

  • Potatoes/pasta/rice = one fist size for CARBOHYDRATES
  • Meat/fish/vegetarian option) = one palm size for PROTEIN
  • Coloured vegetables = two cupped handfuls



Last term our focus was on Whaanau and work. Please take time to check out our awesome wall displays to see what your children have been up to these past few weeks. We would like to continue to thank all parents and whaanau who have attended the walks. Without your help our trips are not possible. Our last bus trip was to the Botanics to compete in the annual sports day. (You can read about it on our blog page). This year the theme was Mini Olympics to coincide with Rio. Again a huge thank you to all our parents for your support. We were humbled with your commitment and fighting spirit to challenge Tahuna for the cup. Next year we will be hosting this event.

Please remember to use your child's name tag by their bag as we have had a few mix ups of personal items. Sometimes the name tags disappear, please let us know if your child is missing one.  

Happy School Days to JONAH, ISLA and NOAH. Ka kite BELLE and her family who are on the move to Blenheim. We wish you all well on the next step of your learning journey.

What's happening this term

We have an exciting term ahead. Our holiday programme is well under way with exciting activities planned and trips to the park. Spring is about GROWTH and we will be learning all about understanding and making sense of the living world. We will be planting a variety of seeds and making observations to identify and describe the changes a seed undergoes to grow into a tasty fruit or vegetable. We will be keeping a close eye on our grapevine too. We will research animals and investigate what foods make them grow to be healthy and strong. Lastly, we will research the human body and identify important foods that fuel our bodies so our brain can think, and so we have energy to play, climb and run in the playground. Feel free to explore the Academy's SCIENCE and DISCOVERY area once this focus is underway.

We are getting really excited for when Tiny Tots will be merging with the centre. We have't yet got a deadline date but the planning is well underway. A huge thank you for all your support and patience with the set-up of our new "Taniwha" Academy and Kiwi rooms. The children and teachers from the academy classrooms have transitioned really well into their new room. The children and team from the Kiwi room are loving their new space and settled well into their new routines. The room is more designed for the 2 year old children.

A huge thank you to Clint Jones, Caitlin's dad for building us two child size cabinets for our resources. We just love it Clint. Your time and thoughtfulness is truly appreciated.   . 

Abacus fundraiser

Lastly, it is that time of the year again to begin thinking about putting in your order for your child's Abacus calendars, notepads, diaries and other fundraiser products. These also make great Christmas gifts for family members so be sure to get in before it's too late!  If you would like to check out your child's art that we are submitting, please ask your teacher for a quick preview. Trust us, you are going to want to order these!

Check the fundraiser prices by the sign in sheet. We will be issuing order forms soon.



Preschool Mini Olympics

What a fantastic day out we had at our annual sports day with Paula’s Tahuna and Learning Land. The children loved the bus trip to get there, taking in all the sights around the bay and singing our preschool chant, to get everyone excited. The children really enjoyed playing all the different games and hanging out with their parents. Watching the adults compete for the “games Trophy” is an annual highlight. Sadly we did not win it again this year. 

It was awesome to see everyone really get into the spirit of the event, with dressing up and wearing blue. On our way back to the bus, we decided to run our own running races, as they had not been part of the programme this year. The children ran hard and fast and loved having their families their watch them compete. Well done everyone on a fantastic day out. Next year we will be hosting the Games. So let’s see if we can bring the trophy home.  We look forward to and welcome your feedback about the event and about the pending one in 2017. 



Daffodil Day

Thank you to the children and team, we raised $27.50 for Daffodil Day. One in three New Zealanders are affected by cancer. Raising money for Daffodil Day helps to fund vital research into the causes and treatment of all types of cancer, as well as providing a wide range of support services, and education programmes to reduce the cancer risk. To support this major fundraiser visit to make your donation.



Healthy Heart Bronze Award

Chloe Balderstone (right) from the Heart Foundation presents Kelsea with our certificate.

Chloe Balderstone (right) from the Heart Foundation presents Kelsea with our certificate.

We are very proud to share we received the Healthy Heart Award. Well done team, children and families for working so hard to achieve this amazing award.



Book Character Parade Day

Last Friday was Richmond Primary Schools annual Book Character Day Parade. We organized the children to dress up to coincide with the school. We were delighted that most of the children came to preschool in character. Some of the children have siblings at the school. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity for the children and family to be involved together and accepted the schools invite to watch the parade. When we arrived at the school we sat on the porch in front of Room 18 waiting in anticipation for this stunning colourful parade. We weren’t disappointed. There was an array of colourful characters. It was awesome to see the delight on the teachers faces and hear their feedback about us all being dressed up too, but most of all it was lovely to see very proud brothers and sisters calling out to each other. 

This little excursion has inspired us to have another dress up day, but this time we would like to invite families and friends to the centre to be dazzled by Paula’s Wearable Arts exhibition. Watch this space, we will be calling on any interested parents and families to take part.



July Newsletter


The Matariki celebrations has now come and gone. Our parent whānau shared morning tea was very successful. It was really lovely to see your support and see the joys on your faces when the children performed their songs. Thank you for coming along and being apart of this important occasion. We plan to have more whānau / family gatherings over the next couple of terms.


Policy Review

When you get a minute or two, please read through our policies up for review. You will find them located beside the sign in sheet. We welcome your feedback and it provides you opportunities to have your say.


Winter Ills and Chills

Spring is only a month away, but we are still battling bugs. There have been a few cases of vomiting and lots of cough colds. If your child is unwell please keep them home until they are better as this will minimize the spread of bugs.



The heart Foundation has awarded the preschool the Heart Foundation BRONZE Healthy Heart Award. Congratulations to Sharon and Kelsea for their hard work with the children over the past year. Awesome effort everyone.




Our focus this term is “WORK.” We are hoping to organize some trips and to have visitors to the centre teaching the children about different jobs. We are looking to have lots of whānau / family involvement and would love it if you, our parents were able to share your job with the tamariki / children. If for example you have a cool truck and you could stop by for a visit, or we could come to your workplace that would be awesome. Please let one of us know if you can help.

On Wednesday morning 3 August a few Firefighters from the Richmond Fire Station will visit the centre (With their Fire Truck!).    The children will be learning about how to keep themselves safe if there is a fire at home.  You will be receiving some information regarding this in your parent pockets and we do suggest you talk to your children about what they are learning so they feel confident and not concerned, about a fire.  The following week Ambi Ambulance will also pay a visit.

Sharon, Kelsea and Julie



Last term the children were involved in learning about Matariki and the seven stars this led onto making planets and creating a universe. We talked about the foods we harvest for winter. The kiwi room will continue with the Academy’s Term Three focus to learn about the people in our community. We are seeking willing parents and or whānau members to share a special skill they have. Ness often plays the ukulele but is limited to how many songs / waiata she can play. We would love a parent who is musical to share their talent or if you have a skill in kapahaka please come and see us.


Ness, Mahana, Claire and Jan


Tiny Tots

The last few months we have been focusing on fostering and supporting Healthy Bodies (Taha Tinana). Activities to reflect this learning are:

·         introducing a foot spa experience

·         children have been involved in painting (this was a whole body experience)

·         obstacle courses

·          yoga

·          music and movement (the children are especially enjoying the parachute and lycra songs)  


Many activities have reflected Matariki through:

·         inclusion and welcoming others   

·         baking cheese puffs......YUMMY

·         creating drawings while listening to the story of Matariki and

·         coming together to participate and learn alongside others

Children’s well being is promoted through the routines and rituals of hand washing and from acknowledging the weather and dressing appropriately.

 Please check out the photos and stories about the children's involvement on the board in the playroom. We would love your feedback.  

 To end Matariki celebrations next we will be looking at healthy kai (food) with the children involved in providing and preparing winter baking of soups, fritters and fruit platters.

 Kaye, Nikki, Christine, Fern and Nicolette



Tiny Tots Creative Beings

A rainy day called for an indoor messy experience. Setting up some paints and a big empty canvas on the floor had the children curious and inquisitive. Donning some old clothes we were ready to get creative!

Although the children started on the paper they had the freedom to be able to move around and it wasn’t long before they started exploring the paint on their bodies.  This experience allowed for the children to use their senses, touching, feeling, seeing, listening to each others joy, and even a teeny weeny taste that assured them it wasn’t really worth eating.  Even the clean up was an enjoyable experience with each child having one on one with the teachers as they went to the bathroom for a wash-down! 

Teacher / Kaiako: Nikki



Paula's Tiny Tots, Preschool & Academy Newsletter

Academy News



Academy Focus this term is on DINOSAURS and maths. If your child has a dinosaur book or puzzle they would like to share with their friends, please bring them in. Jenny from the Tasman District Library popped in to read all about dinosaurs to the children. She also taught us some cool new dinosaur poems and songs. We can't wait to teach these to the children in the Kiwi  room. 

Ambi the ambulance is coming on 21 June to teach the children about keeping themselves safe.

We had an awesome experience when Rachel came in during sign language week. She spent an incredible half hour teaching the tamariki to sign colours and some animals. The entire time she did not speak!

Nga mihi mahana tenei kia koutou. A very warm welcome to the Academy Room:             Archer, Lorcan, Charlotte, Elsie, Gracie, Jack and Lily.                                                         Sadly we farewell William, Erica, Shylah and Jax. Happy School Days.                             You are all so ready for school. We will miss you all.

Winter is officially here. With the colder weather can you please ensure your child has spare clothes in their bag. Even though there is less water play, children still get wet in puddles and have the odd accident. Measles

NEED TO KNOW                                                                                   Since April 2016 there has been at least 50 confirmed cases of measles in New Zealand. There is measles now in the Nelson Marlborough district. The Ministry of Health recommend immunisation is the best protection for the prevention of your child/ children being infected with this disease. Measles starts with a fever, cough, runny nose and or sore eyes followed a few days later by a rash. People are infectious from 5 days before to 5 days after the rash appears.  

If you have any concerns or queries regarding your child's health seek advice from your local G.P. This time of the year there are more bugs around. To ensure the health and safety of the children and adults at the centre we will be asking parents to keep their children at home if they are unwell. We really appreciate your support.

For further information on measles and measles immunisation, visit the Ministry of Health website or the Immunisation Advisory Centre website, or call the Immunisation Advisory Centre toll-free on 0800 466 863.


Our focus this term will be on Matariki, stars and planets. Watch this space for fun, exciting learning activities. There is awesome artwork on display. Matariki is about celebrating the year with family and friends. Traditionally, Maori families had huge feasts, they sung waiata, performed kapahaka, played traditional Maori games like flying handmade kites and string games.  We will be having a shared morning tea this month to celebrate Matariki. The children have been learning the action song MATARIKI, (sung to the tune of the MacarAina). We have been performing this in front of the Academy children and are really excited to be having a concert for the parents and whaanau when they visit this Friday 24 June.  


We will continue to encourage "Healthy Eating Choices."  We have Incorporated this theme into our Matariki. As this is the time for harvesting our food and storing it for the winter. You will notice in the playroom we have our fruit and vegetables store displayed on the board. The children have been learning about colours and yummy fruits and veges to eat. We will be making soup, bread and macaroni.





            Healthy Smile - Healthy Child                

Ka ora te menemene, ka ora te tamaiti


  • With winter arriving there may be an increase in sickness and therefore dental appointments may be difficult to attend.

  • If your child cannot keep their appointment could you please contact your Clinic (below) giving it time to offer your appointment to another child?

  • If you change your address or contact numbers please advise the clinic of these so they can keep in touch. 

Regular updates from the Nelson Marlborough Community Oral Health Service.



Bringing Dinosaurs to Life

With such a big focus on dinosaurs in the centre at the moment, I thought I would draw some large dinosaurs outside on the concrete to support the children’s interest and stimulate their imaginations. Immediately the tamariki were engaged in my work…”that’s a plant eater because its got a long neck” (so I thought I’d add some leaves for it to eat!). “Draw a meat eater next” I was told… and so I did. Finally I added a Triceratops attacking the T Rex as this is what William had been telling me happens. Then the fun really started.

I was amazed at how many of the children grabbed some chalk and began adding to the dinosaurs, making them more detailed and life like. Erica added spikes all the way along the back of the triceratops making it like a stegosaurus. Next, eggs were added. Adelyn said “Sharon, you’ve forgotten to draw a volcano” so away I went to put it in. But it was the T Rex that got the greatest enhancements. Aidan & Liam spent a huge amount of time colouring in the T Rex spikes. I noticed William and Viliami had added blue chalk & drawn lines coming from the T Rex’s mouth and when I asked about what they were, they told me the T Rex was roaring loudly. As the children worked, they chatted about what they were doing and why, negotiating what to add and what not to. Finally with great amusement things got gory as they added spilled blood to where the Triceratops had gored the T Rex. 

A really memorable morning where the children worked together, got to share their knowledge and ideas with their peers, the younger tamariki and their delighted teachers.

KAIAKO: Sharon

May 2016




New Zealand children EAT and DRINK around 16 teaspoons of added sugar per day or 23kg of added sugar per year.

Too much sugar causes poor health and tooth decay.

Some handy tips to reduce sugar:

1. Drink plain WATER instead of sweet drinks.

2. Choose breakfast cereals that are LOW in sugar such as Weetbix, porridge and oats. If you usually add sugar to cereals, try adding chopped or canned fruit (in natural juice) and / or yoghurt instead.


To find more information, visit


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Old MacDonald Had A Farm

The children have been singing many songs about animals such as Slippery Fish, I Have a Little Turtle and Ika Ika to name a few. But Old MacDonald is the favourite.

Occasionally the Academy rooms will treat us with a mini concert so I thought we could do the same. I asked the children if they would like to give the Tuataras a concert. I was welcomed with a loud YES. We excitedly made our way to the Tuatara room, we weren’t quite as orderly as the older children. What a performance! I was so proud of these young stars. They sung with heart and passion. Well done tamariki ma.

Where to from here?

More mini productions! I wondered if we could sing “Old MacDonald had a Zoo.” It will be interesting learning about the sounds wild animals make. I’ve always wondered what a Zebra sounds like. We could use sign language to name the animal too.                                      

                                                                                                                    Teacher / Kaiako: NESS

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1 Comment


Mason, you were keen to look after Elsie’s doll while she had a turn on the swing. You were so gentle with it and kept looking down at its face. The doll has a plaster on its fore-head, and you commented on this to Vicky. Vicky asked if you thought Elsie’s doll had had a fall and you replied ‘Yes”. 
Mason you have been showing a lot of empathy, kindness and caring around the preschool. Not only to the other children but also to the living and non-living natural environment. You show kindness to the bugs and insects that you find across the centre, you are also gentle and caring with the plants, trees and all our other resources at the centre. 
Tino pai Mason Keep it up!

Teacher/ Kaiako: Story told by Vicky, Written by Julie    April 2016

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Healthy Eating Healthy Lifestyles

Research talks about childhood is a time of rapid growth and development, and a time when many habits and behaviours are set. A healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating in childhood will help to ensure a healthy future.

We have noticed there is often a poor selection of healthy food in children’s lunch boxes.

How are we educating the children to choose healthy eating choices?

  • We talk about what foods the children are eating
  • We discuss which foods are best first and why
  • We read books

How can we encourage / educate adults about healthy choices?

  • Create a wall display identifying Healthy Foods / Treat Foods 
  • Make a smaller Healthy Foods / Treat Foods board version for mat time and encourage children to identify healthy food choices
  • Make a "Food Pyramid"
  • Take photos of children with healthy lunch boxes
  • Talk to parents asking for their knowledge / input regarding healthy lifestyle / habits / eating
  • Invite a Health Nutritionist to attend a parent evening (Fussy Eaters Focus)
  • Display posters from Ministry of Health supporting healthy drinking:WATER MILK
  • Have a morning tea and make humus to dip vegetables (carrot, celery)
  • Encourage by example, staff seen eating fruit and vegetable sticks
  • Promote our veggie garden: talk about it with the children, harvest the vegetables and EAT the vegetables.

“Healthy Eating” was a strong focus in the Academy for 2015. (Refer to their review). The Academy did not receive a bronze award. Although there were a variety of outstanding learning experiences, the final documentation did not reach Healthy Heart Foundation. This has now become a centre focus to follow up on this process and to change the centre culture.

Our 2016 Goals
Teaching Outcomes:

  • Teaching and learning about healthy eating habits / healthy lifestyles will be woven throughout the curriculum. This will become a natural part of our practice.

Learning Outcomes for Children:

  • to identify foods and make healthy choices
  • to group foods and discuss the types of food they need to be healthy and strong
  • will be able to describe simple concepts relating to their body's need for food for activity and growing
  • will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of healthy foods through music
  • will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of healthy food concepts through playing matching games as well as enhance their math skills
  • to identify and taste new fruits and vegetables
  • recognize and accept foods from other cultures
  • will be ale to grow and care for some fruits and vegetables
  • identify water as a healthy drink
  • develop fine motor skills in the process of making healthy foods (sandwiches/ baking pizzas and scones) and when preparing and eating fruit or vegetables
  • recognising the colours and shapes of fruits and vegetables in te reo;
  • make healthy choices and understand why it is important.

We will know this because we will hear children discussing healthy and treat foods.
Parents to provide a variety of healthy foods in their child’s lunch boxes.


Focusing on Literacy


Focusing on Literacy

Ko tōku nui, tōku wehi, tōku whakatiketike, tōku reo
My language is my greatness, my inspiration, that which I hold precious.
— Maori proverb

Language is key to building the foundations to children’s early literacy. Letter recognition is developed through an interest and exposure to letters / alphabet, reading stories and a desire for children to write their names. Puzzles, magnetic letters and stories are a great way to introduce literacy in the kiwi room. The children experience an environment rich in language. Mat times are a great opportunity for reading stories to / with the children. We have noticed some of the children enjoy taking a leadership role and read books to their friends.

The children within the Kiwi room are learning that ideas and experience can be represent through words and pictures within books.

Recently the children have taken a very keen interest in the C.D story books, the teachers have been encouraging the children to take lead in this activity with choosing the story they wish to listen to, taking the CD out and placing it into the CD player and pressing the play button this is fostering children’s relationships and Tuakana teina (helping one another) as the older children often help the younger with this process. 

If you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
— Albert Einstein

November / December term focus will be on Sensory Play, and building on children’s developing mathematical concepts. Watch this space for “fun exciting” learning opportunities.


Healthy recipe


Healthy recipe

Pumpkin, Kumara and Garlic Hummus

300g pumpkin and kumara, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tbsp Oil

1 Tsp Ground cumin

400g Chickpeas, canned

2 tsp Lemon juice, or less to taste



1.         Preheat oven to 180C. Toss pumpkin and garlic in oil, ground cumin and a little salt. Cook in a shallow roasting dish for 20 to 30 minutes until then cool

2.        Place pumpkin, kumara and garlic mixture in food processor with rinsed and drained chickpeas. Blend to smooth paste. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste.

3.        Serve with toasted pita wedges, crackers or similar to dip.