Matariki Learning at BestStart Rongotai
Over the months of June and July, we explored the whetu of Matariki, learning about the significance and links of each whetu and linking these to our play. We started off with Waitī and Waitā. These two stars, also known as the Twin stars, represent fresh water and salt water and the life within. We learnt about the different animals that live in our oceans and our freshwater river by looking through pukapuka and painting pictures of the animals and creating a display.
Tamariki are now familiar with the names of these animals and where you can find them in NZ. Next, we explored Waipun-ā-rangi which is linked to rain and storms by getting our faces painted with rainbows and snowmen while discussing how rainbows are made when it is raining outside. To learn about Ururangi, which is the whetu linked to the wind we created our own windsocks out of collage materials and explored how these worked outside in the Wellington wind.
Tupuānuku and Tupuārangi were next, these whetu are linked to cultivated and uncultivated food that grows under the ground and food grown above the ground and our manu. We learnt about the many fruits and vegetables including where and how they are grown by planting our own seeds and using our senses to play 'name that vegetable'.
Our kaiako explained the features of each vegetable and we had to guess which one she was talking about. Then we were all given the chance to look at, feel, smell, and even taste them. Tamariki helped to peel, cut, and prepare the vegetables which were then roasted for us to try for afternoon tea. We created our own Manu using pinecones and used these in our dramatic play. We learnt that the Whetu Pōhutukawa is linked to remembering our loved ones who have passed through listening to a beautiful story.
We thought about our future by creating our wishes for Hiwa-i-te-rangi through our artwork. For the mother whetu Matariki, we acknowledged and celebrated our present by coming together for kai, waiata and roasting marshmallows over a fire with all our whānau. Tamariki helped to prepare our vegetable soup and Kumara bread and performed 3 Matariki waiata for their whānau. We had a huge turnout for this event.