Owhiro Bay Kindergarten problem solves at Te Papa

This blog provides an excellent opportunity not only for us to share with you, but  for you to share with each other.

Sharing, Photographer: Melanie S, © Melanie S,

Sharing, Photographer: Melanie S, © Melanie S

How do you use our museum as a learning resource? What do you find to be best practice? Why are museum and gallery experiences important for your tamariki?

Our first story comes from Owhiro Bay Kindergarten:

 
Off to Te Papa
 
 By Penny Wilden and Cillia, Teacher and Parent, Owhiro Bay Kindergarten
 

A nearby stream to Owhiro Bay Kindergarten has provided the children with the perfect environment to sail their flax stalk outrigger waka. But it was the refusal of the two-foot dug out waka to stay upright on the water that had us all challenged.

 
Would Te Papa provide resources to build up more waka design theories for the children? A visit by Penny highlighted a wealth of opportunities, so off we went, taking the hand-carved waka with us.
 
How did we make our waka stay upright? On arrival at the Mana Whenua exhibition, we looked at and discussed Teremoe (the great war canoe) and the various models of sea craft used for the first voyages to Aoteoroa. Using these observations the children were eager to use their notebooks from Kindy to draw and explain waka. They recorded what they felt was important. This was a lovely and engaging quiet time for the children.
 
Drawing in the Gallery, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

Drawing in the Gallery, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

It was watching a hologram story of an early journey to Aotearoa in Tangata o le Moana that best captured their imaginations. The model waka and vaka became something they could relate to. On the floor in front of a nearby voyaging vessel, the children eagerly spread their great sheets of paper and recorded their ideas. They suddenly noticed the sails and how it seemed the boat was sitting on two skis. In their drawings, they showed where the people would lie and where necessary items like the anchor would go. They thought about how the waka would be affected by storms.
 
The children came back with a wealth of ideas to help our capsizing waka. Putting feathers on the side, like the big waka, was one suggestion.  Could the waka perhaps have 2 parts instead of just one? What about  an anchor!?
 
On a follow up visit to Te Papa, the children used their new knowledge to design and then build a waka in the PlaNet Pasifika Discovery Centre. We appreciated how accommodating the hosting staff were in providing the children a welcoming space to work on their waka. We then went and sailed the waka in the pond by Bush City. This was fun, but and also allowed the children to see some other issues that might have been present on a sea journey, such as the stability of the craft.
 
Sailing the waka, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

Sailing the waka, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

Waka, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

Waka, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

Waka, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

Waka, Photographer: Penny Wilden, © Owhiro Bay Kindergarten

 
Selecting a simple theme to focus on and managing an appropriate and varied pace ensured good learning and positive engagement from the children. It was also a rich and enjoyable experience as a teacher and parent.
 
If you have a story to share please contact me on rebecca.browne@tepapa.govt.nz.
 
 

2 Responses

  1. lisa terreni

    A great story about using the museum to increase children’s knowledge and understanding! What interest me is the way the children used drawing to mediate their thinking and develop their ideas about waka…good to see this dimension and the museum encouraging this. Was this a self guided visit…and who is Penny?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Browne

      Hi Lisa,

      I came across this group in Tangata o le Moana, so I stopped to chat about what they were doing. Penny Wilden was a teacher at Owhiro Bay Kindergarten, and she was leading the self guided visit. It was wonderful to see young children using the museum to research and problem solve, and then again as the site to construct their own responses! They certainly learnt a lot from their investigations of the various waka we have here at Te Papa.

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