He waka eke moa - We are all in this together


In the nursery, we all set sail together, unraveling a whole new form of learning journey that was a long process. Kaiako introduced children a myth and legend on Maui and the Giant Ika on the Ipad. The children became invested in this short story, so we decided to embark on a journey where nga tamariki worked together to look at each component that would all come together to make a great learning experience for all. 

However, it was certainly challenging organising a play within the nursery space with the tamariki as a play is structured, which is not within our infants' and toddlers' capabilities to sit still for a duration of time. Nevertheless, nga tamariki amazed me with their skills and abilities to listen to instructions, to sit still in the waka (canoe), and act out the whole play. The fun part was getting all our props ready for the play!

All the tamariki joined in at various moments with different tools and approaches to get each piece ready. So, what learning did happen through this experience? Maui and the Giant Ika - Through this play, the children learned that to get to the end result, we need to go through a process of getting small parts organised. 

The children did plenty of artwork, sewing their korowai, making a waka from cardboard and making a fishing line from flax (sustainability), and using technology (iPad) to listen to the story. We also had various tabletop activities and mat-times to further immerse our tamariki with the story. 

Pretend play develops children's social and emotional intelligence. It teaches children how to read social cues, recognise and regulate emotions, take turns, and engage in a long-term activity that is mutually beneficial. This type of play also helps children develop complex thinking skills, be creative, use technology (iPad) for learning purposes only, explore the same story through different lenses, and simply have fun! We also invited our preschool tamariki to come join in, which helped in building those relationships between the two classrooms and also fostered the concept of Ako. 

In te ao Māori, the concept of ako means both to teach and to learn. It recognises the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to learning interactions, and it acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences. 

As a kaiako (teacher), this has been an amazing experience to embark on with our nursery tamariki. I applied various teaching strategies from demonstrating, scaffolding, observing, encouraging, facilitating, modelling, questioning, telling and instructing, problem solving, and many more to enhance and develop children's learning through this learning experience.