Sunday, June 28, 2015

Educational leadership Project

We have been doing a six month research project on leadership. Our question was: 
Children as leaders: How do we build a culture of respect for the speaker?
We selected this question as we had many children seeking leadership opportunities and have a culture of learners who are very competent verbal communicators. As a teaching team we saw value in children learning the skills to be respectful listeners. 

This project had a focus on valuing language, culture and identity. Giving children the opportunity to lead allows their ideas, language and culture to be seen and appreciated.

Desired outcomes from our research project: 
  • To build a culture of respect, where children can share ideas, listen to others and have group discussions that provoke and challenge children's thinking.
  • Children can take more ownership of their environment and identify other roles and responsibilities for Kaiawhina to become more independent and respectful.
  • To understand and except the role of those who lead and to adopt respectful behaviours that allows the leader to facilitate action and promote learning.
  • Sophie leads the children to the
    library bus.
    Jayde and Natalie read a book at mat time.
    Savanah scans her book on the
    library bus.

Our morning Hui:
Our morning mat time became a meeting time where children were able to plan for their day and share with others what they wanted to do. We had so many children wanting to share their plan each day and found our mat time was becoming too long and children were becoming restless. We then decided to choose 4-5 children to share their plans at mat time and provided the children with a variety of ways to also share what they would like to do for the day. Some children chose to draw and write their plan in the covered area, some chose to discuss their ideas at the kai table with a teacher or their friends. Our morning mat times are now called our morning Hui and the children are invited to the mat with musicians who bring the hui to the meeting place - our mat. Our hui is also a time for children to share their culture, their identity and their outside world with the other children. We often provide the children with opportunities to share their thoughts on different subjects by provoking them with a question, this provides many opportunities for children to listen to the speaker.

Listening is not easy. It requires a deep awareness and at the same time a suspension of our judgments and above all our prejudices; it requires openness to change. It demands that we have clearly in mind the value of the unknown and that we are able to overcome the sense of emptiness and precariousness that we experience whenever our certainties are questioned. (Rinaldi, 2006, p 65) quoted in Giamminuti, 2013, p. 23

Te Ao Maori concept of hui : I gather for hui time, I participate in saying karakia and singing waiata, I am involved in greeting others, I am involved in welcoming visitors or new comers, I show respect, patience, consideration and co-operation, I listen and focus.

Sitting in a circle (porohita) helps the children to listen and concentrate. Some meeting houses were built in a circular shape.

Anne and Sally use puppets to demonstrate sharing.

Listening as Anne talks about the water slide.
Samoa week - Eva telling the children about her culture.

Discussing Matariki and our feast.

Discussion about Mikayla's turtle.

Devon sharing at his last Hui.

                                                                                          Jayde brought her baby chicks to show the children.

Our News time (Panui):
We found we were getting a large number of children who wanted to share news after our Hui. So we decided that we would have four children each day to share their news and anyone who wanted to join was welcome to come along to listen. At our panui, the speaker tells or shows their news, while others listen, when the speaker has finished they ask for questions and then the audience put up their hands  and the speaker choses someone.

Cooper shares his mum and dad playing music.
Shae shares his knowledge of dinosaurs.

Sophie talks about her Robin.

Planning for the day:
Children create their plans for the day by writing, drawing or sharing with others. We ensure there are plenty of clipboards available both inside and outside for the children to use. We created a children's planning wall to display their plans, outcomes and what learning occurred. At the end of the day we discuss with the children what they enjoyed and talk about how their plan for the day went. We now discuss with them what they learned and if they would do something differently.

Isabella draws her plan.

Eva writes her plan.

Kaiawhina: We had a lot of children who wanted to be kaiawhina at the two meeting times when children go home, so we created a chart where children could write their name for either of the kaiawhina roles. This was a real opportunity for children, parents/whānau to be respectful of the speaker as he/she farewelled each child. We found many children were leaving the mat without saying goodbye to the kaiawhina, so we have encouraged children to look at the kaiawhina and say either, bye, ka kite ano, e noho ra or some form of farewell.

Kaiawhina Henry 
Isabella farewells children.

Kaiawhina Elliott.
Carys farewells the children " Ka kite ano."  see you tomorrow.

The kaiawhina chart:
We created a chart where children could write or get help to write their names for the kaiawhina roles. This grew from being the kaiawhina at farewell time, panui (news), cutting up the mahi kai - brain food (fruit and healthy kai). To creating a second chart to include helping in the Maara kai (garden); helping with mahi kai (fruit and vegetable preparation for shared kai, and baking; Mahi toi ( helping with the paint brushes and filing art work and taking care of the kararehe (animals- hei hei (chickens) and ika (fish).

Jayde writes her name down for kaiawhina.

Natalie writes her name down for brain food.

Molly writes the date on an egg.

Our Nature programme:
On the Thursday Nature programme we always begin the day talking about the things we would like to do, talk about things that we can do to keep ourselves safe and what we enjoyed the most about today. We use a talking ball which has been decorated with natural taonga. The children all know that when you have the talking ball it is your turn to talk and for others to listen.

Marshall talks while others listen.

Caleb talks about what he enjoyed.

Discussion about what the children would like to do next.

The children put photos, pictures and stories about the weekly Nature Programme in a book. Often other children who do not go, will come and help cut out the photos, this provides an opportunity for discussion, excitement and anticipation as all the children look forward to being in the group of oldest ten who attend.

Natalie watches as Carys cuts out a photo for the book.
Eva and Ayva cut and glue the photographs.

Trucks and drivers licences: We created truck licences after attending professional development on learning and wellbeing for boys and realising that most boys are systemisers. The  trucks are very popular with the children, especially the boys. They all wanted to use the new, new, new trucks. Carys designed a drivers licence and all the children who wanted to be tested had to go through the steps of getting your drivers licence. Learning to stop, go, reverse, watch out for pedestrians and of course slow down! As systematisers love charts, this was a hit with the boys, as each day they put their drivers licence on the board.
Carys designing
Carys designs the licence

Shae shows his skills.

Cole, Harry and Thomas putting their drivers licences on the chart.

Leadership roles: The children continue to seek roles of leadership within the Kindergarten environment.

Cameron prepares brain food.
Meg cuts up some cheese to share at brain food time.

Jett feeds the Hei hei some grass.

Alex feeds the Ika.

Opportunities to talk about the day at brain food time.
The boys plant peas, discussing who's will be the biggest.
Discussing and planning and sharing ideas together.
             Discussing plans for the day.
         Kafka cleans the dirt out of the whare with Thomas.
Harry, Thomas, Paige, Natalie and Bo
ensuring the plants have water.

We chose the Koru to represent the children's progression of leadership.The Koru is based on the unfurling fern frond of the native N.Z Silver fern. The circular shape of the Koru conveys the idea of perpetual movement, while it's inner corm with rolled up leaflets suggests a return to the point of origin. This is a metaphor for the way in which life both changes and stays the same. As we have a continual cycle of children going off to school and new children starting, children continue to learn the value of listening and seeking leadership opportunities.

 Children's Leadership
  • As our project progressed we learnt that our children have a real thirst for leadership. By talking to parents/whānau and the children we learnt that many of them have leadership roles at home which generally involve caring for animals, helping others and doing jobs.
  • Children have been sharing with others about their cultural identity and show a real sense of pride as they share with others what is important to them. 
  • Children continue to seek out new leadership and Kaiawhina roles.
  • Children have developed a greater respect for the speaker - this will continue to be ongoing as new children attend the kindergarten. 
  • We have found that having smaller groups of children helps the speaker and the children focus and be respectful.
  • Our children have a real sense of pride in their environment and enjoy projects that involve problem solving and working with others.
  • Children have developed great skills to plan, share and reflect about their day and their learning.
  • Children are developing a culture of respect for the speaker and learning when to speak and when to listen.
  • Our children are confident, thinkers and learners.
  • Our children are welcoming to Manuhiri (visitors) and show Manaakitanga (hospitality).
  • Our children ako other children and the principles of tuakana/teina are very evident in the culture of our learners. Becky


Jennings said...

Great Blog,Very Informative,Thank you for sharing.Keep up the good work.Keep Updating.
Preschool In Bangalore

Cindy Dy said...

amazing and nice looking site please love it and make more effective… keep it up.