Friday, February 25, 2011

Courage in Christchurch

As many have, our family has been glued with tears and helplessness to the coverage of the Christchurch earthquake.
From here in Papamoa it seems to me that Bob Parker is a wonderful representative for all those who are helping Christchurch try and get through this devastation.  His calm and real exterior reflects courage, and as a friend shared with me "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."

Our family has many friends in Christchurch who are Principals of schools within and beyond the city.  I truly admire the courage, leadership and aroha of  the Principals of Christchurch schools during this time - their ability to love and serve their families as well as those in your community is unbelievable.  I can only imagine what my partner would be going through internally if he were needed to help the community in which he serves, while his concerns would also be for us - his wife and child.  After speaking to one Principal - whose family has retreated to relations in Dunedin while he supports the school community, in response to our offer of help said that just for now he can get through this, but in a months time he would like a visit for the emotional support he may need then.  We need to continue our support for the people of Canterbury for many months to come.

As a member of our local Toy Library and with my background in education my concerns are for the children.  Recently on NZ radio and television Nigel Latta made these suggestions for helping children get through such a traumatic event:

1. Safety (in whatever small ways you can make them feel safe)
2.Calmness (put your game face on and fake it if you have to)
3.Connection (point out to them how everyone is together, and everyone is helping each other... all one big village together)
4. Self Efficacy (promote a sense they can have an impact on the world i.e. some control... fight small win-able battles like picking up the chairs etc)
5. Hope (promote a sense that 'this too will pass' and things will go on and school will come back and all that stuff)

Our Toy Library will be calling for our local children to donate a once loved around the week of "Children's Day" to to a toy stall we will be running at the Papamoa Markets in March to raise money for the children and Toy Libraries in Christchurch.  I will post finer details soon.  Those on Megan's "Organised Home Challenge" might like to declutter with your children for the children of Christchurch.

I am very excited to be a part of the "Softies for the Children of Christchurch" auction.  Please check it out on the button next door.  May be join in or ask a crafter you know if they would like to help out.

Christchurch your courage is immense and know that the whole of NZ is behind you for the long haul x

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What is Playcentre?

Playcentre became an attractive option for my family when K was born.  Over the last decade as a teacher working with all primary school age groups and facilitating learning for professionals I had observed a few truly outstanding teachers and found a common link between them.  These teachers who I admired for their communication with others, empowerment of learners and ability to truly listen and hear a child had all been Playcentre mums.  These teachers understood developmental stages of learning and gently enabled children to move through them, they extended children into new areas of learning naturally with the child's motivation and interests being honored first.  Because they listened and observed they all had fantastic relationships with the childrens' parents.  Now that I am a parent I am excited to experience more of this - all the while letting my daughter explore her world through play in a warm, safe, multi-aged environment full of mess and fun.

As an Early Childhood Service Playcentre offers families a holistic growing experience.  Together parent and child learn with other parents and children.  From each other, with each other and for each other. This is a unique experience to have.  In the children initiated play programme every child is enabled to follow their interest at their stage, in their time, in a supportive environment.  Of parallel significance is the Playcentre's Parent Education Programme, this allows parents to be the educators learning and growing in understanding and confidence to be able to observe and extend children through play.

The Playcentre Philosophy links to the NZ Early Childhood Curriculum "Te Whariki" (the woven mat). The Principles of this curriculum echo that which is desired in Playcentre in the following ways:
  • The Principle of "empowerment/whakamana"  where within the learning environment of Playcentre children are given the power to learn and grow with independence, choice and participation.
  • "Holistic development/Kotahitanga" is embraced at Playcentre  by providing open ended exploration and play, differentiation which acknowledges stage rather than age,  and most importantly learning as a whole rather than in seperate subjects.
  • "Family and Community/Whanau Tangata" are central to Playcentre as it is the child's first world experience therefore all aspects of this are valued and a child's wider sense of the world recognised.
  • "Relationships/ Nga Hononga" with people, places and things.  Playcentre provides a rich differentiated environment of people, places and things of which children can choose to interact with at their stage and extend on. They can observe adults and older children extending in play allowing them to attempt this when they choose.  Positive, co - operative relationships are modeled for all to learn from.
My initial thinking and preparation for discussion one - "What is Playcentre?" for module 1.1 INTRODUCING PLAYCENTRE. Includes aspects of task one.  Written and posted on Feb 13, 2011

More on the Philosophy of Playcentre and Te Whaariki (an aspect of Task One of Module 1.1)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Off to Playcentre for our first visit!

K (19months old) summed up the day before her well earned lunchtime nap...

"Playcentre, saw fish, bubbies, baby swim"

My learning journey begins again too! I am going to be working on my 'Playcentre Education Diploma".  If you are keen to follow me then check out my 'Learning through Play' tab above.

Thanks to Megan @ Mousehouse for the tip via Clipcafe on using Piknik with images, love it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wearing my undies on the outside!

Quite a few years and many moons ago a respected employer told me that I seem to wear my undies on the outside!  No, not like those work mates you have had with their t-bars out for all to see, or the home boys with their lowered crotches and boxers puffing out the top, nor those people who wear belts for skirts.  I suffered from undies on the outside syndrome running around being super woman in my professional career.
Back then I am sure my undies would have been, if worn on the outside and visible, gorgeous little briefs - you know attractive, not practical like I seem to wear these days.  Sadly, this syndrome has followed me into motherhood.  I think it emerged when KB was around six months old and the breast feeding was getting easier.

Only these undies are not brief.  They are beige, the waistline sits under my chest, they are ill fitting and sensible.  The size of them is so overwhelming that they impair my ability to look after myself, they make me imagine when signs of sickness or stress poke me on the shoulder that it's nothing it will pass.
These undies have given me nothing but grief this year and the pokes of unwellness have turned into an almighty slap to the ground!  I have been sick for almost a week, completely incapable of doing anything but resting.  Thank goodness for friends and family support.  Even my Dr is unsure of what is wrong - but here take these antibiotics anyway!

So I will be stripping away those undies and burning them!  I will be super to no one if I keep wearing my undies on the outside. So more Aloha Time, more listening to me and making a real effort to remember my needs too.

Where do you really wear your undies?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Mummy Mantra!

A friend shared this poem with me.  It was written by Diana Loomans.  It frames all that I try to do and be as a Mum in the present x

If I had my child to raise over again
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later
I'd finger paint more and point the finger less
I would do less correcting and more connecting
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I'd do more hugging and less tugging
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often
I would be firm less often and affirm much more
I'd model less about the love of power
And more about the power of love.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Aloha Time

I gleaned this gem of a concept from a local business woman a year ago.  In a conversation she talked about her “Aloha Day”, a day to love herself!  Back then I thought that was a wonderful idea but wondered how I would fit this in?  
Since entering motherhood I have had this huge need to justify my place in our family.  Constantly thinking how I could bring money into our home, while being a mum.  Multi-tasking every waking second of the day - because if I did I would see my self as useful.  I have a whole day each week when my daughter visits with her Nana and Poppa - very lucky I know.  On these days if not working I would try and fit in ten times more than usual and often finish the day feeling shattered and disappointed that I did not really get enough done!!  What was wrong with me?

This year I have many great reasons to embrace some “Aloha Time” and I will be!  So far I have had two Aloha days.  On the first I strolled the Mount mainstreet, had lunch out with a friend and bought a new dress. The simple fact that I “strolled” and took my time was very invigorating.  What’s more I felt like “me” rather than “someone’s something”!  On the second I read. And read.  And read.  A complete luxury.  I highly recommend reading “Short Fat Chick to Marathon Runner” by Kerre Woodham. Whether you run or not, share her body shape or not, read it.  She is entertaining, she collects inspiring stories from real people together - she reminds me of how amazing the human mind, body and spirit can be.
So I am looking forward to future “Aloha Time” to feed and refresh my ( me and no one else) mind, body and spirit.
If you ever get the chance visit Sarah from Refresh Beauty Therapy and tell her about your “Aloha Time”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More paddocks, more moo moos, more banaddle! Starting Steiner

Today we started our Steiner playgroup at our local Rudolph Steiner Centre.  The environment is natural, beautiful and harmonious.  We were grateful to have accompanied friends given that beginning something new amongst a group of people happily embedded the culture can be challenging.  Our girls enjoyed the environment playing on rocking horses, with dolls and prams.

As someone with a background in education I have always been intrigued with Steiner Education, it seemed very mysterious yet wholesome.  Some of the qualities of this education became more attractive to me when our daughter was born and again when my nephew attended, then sister began to teach in Steiner.  So off we set...

During playgroup today I observed and learned a lot about K and myself as a mum.   At playgroup we eat together after a ritual of singing action songs and hand washing.  K found this tough as a morning grazer.  She was really stretched. Repeating "eat, eat, eat", visiting the kitchen to appeal to the adults, sitting at the table and proclaiming "ready" and finally and desperately taking a doll to the table appealing to the world with "dolly eat" and tears.  Eating at the Steiner playgroup is as a community.  After holding hands together and thanking the sun and earth for our food, children handed a basket of  wash cloths around, then took from the wooden platters fruit to their bowls, drank warm tea from glasses poured from a kettle at the table, then took wholegrain bread with homemade jam from the platters.  It was magic watching this process so very new to our girls.  Time to eat together was symbolised by a candle lit then dimmed as a sign to leave the table.

I realised that our eating times as a family could have greater ceremony, especially for a little girl who wants to leave the table when she is done rather than waiting for the rest of our family to finish.  Also that providing platters from which she can choose then to move it to her plate, rather than having her plated served to her allows her to make more independent choices.

We explored the farm which is farmed on biodynamic principles.  We explored the vege garden, visited the chickens and the pigs.  K had her first electric shock grabbing the fence. She told me "more paddocks, more moomoos"  observing the vastness of rolling lush hills and herd amongst it.
While Steiner believe in leaving the experiences with the children to live inside them, without questioning from the adults to attempt to reinforce learning, I think we will take some of our learning into our home.  K and I will make our own table centre piece to reflect the season, complete with candle to light and dim to symbolise our family eating time together - maybe that will allow us to slow down, take stock and share the time together rather than eating and running.

I would love you hear your lens on eating time with your family.
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