Christmas is just around the corner now and there is most definitely a buzz in the air. The children are talking a lot about Santa coming and sharing their excitement with one another. At kindergarten we have been enjoying and embracing this energy. We have a daily advent calendar that is opened at group time, Donna and the children have been baking and decorating short bread cookies, and everyone has been making festive decorations.
To extend on this festive energy last Monday the whole kindergarten went on a special excursion to the ‘Festival of Christmas Trees’ at the St John’s Golden Church. This is a lovely event put on by the church where they invite community groups to decorate a tree. In November some of our children helped make some beautiful decorations and then the teachers used them to decorate the Christmas tree. There were ‘peg fairies’ and ‘golden bomby-knockers to just name a few things.
When the time came to go for our walk to the church lots of the children were delighted and surprised to see our tree on display. There was also a lot of other lovely trees to look at. The children enjoyed singing to the ladies who were running the festival of Christmas Trees and in return they had some delicious shortbread (thanks Raewyn!) and a story to read. It was such a lovely walk in our community and we had such a wonderful turn out of helpers with nearly 60 of us getting out and about. Mairtown Kindergarten loves being a part of community events like this and really appreciate that we were invited to participate.
Christmas brings a lot of joy and happiness but we are also very mindful of how this time of year can be a little stressful and overwhelming due to the pressure that seems to come with the festive season. With this in mind we wanted to trial something new and create a gratitude tree for our Christmas recognition at kindergarten. We have a lovely branch painted white that is constantly being used to display beautiful things and now it is covered in special notes from all our families about why they are grateful to have their child in their lives.
Each child had a lovely black and white photo placed on some card and these were then given to the parents to write a note to their child. Once this was done they were hung on our lovely tree.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation, it is a mindful acknowledgement of all we have been given.
We know that for each family, their child is an absolute treasure and blessing in their life, so that is why we had invited them to write a message of love and appreciation to their child. Here is small snippet of some of the beautiful notes shared,
When we planned for this idea, we knew it was going to be very special. However we had no idea how absolutely stunning the finished tree would turn out to be. The messages written on these cards are so special and just make our hearts sing. We are very thankful to each of these heartfelt messages, the children have just loved being able to find their photo and have the words read back to them. This beautiful little tree has become not only a celebration of Christmas but a reminder that the most important things in life are not ‘things’ but people.
Each of these loving notes have been documented for the children’s individual portfolios. This means that they can be revisited by them for many years to come. It has been a lovely way to capture the parent’s voice, which in turn allows us as teachers to get know each child that much more in a meaningful and holistic way.
‘Expressing gratitude is a rewarding habit that affirms the grace of the giver. Gratitude opens our hearts and encourages us to savour each gift that comes our way. It is a reminder that one can always find reason to be glad’
We are all very grateful to be able to work with such wonderful children and their families. Each day they bring us so much joy. As teachers at Mairtown we feel blessed to be a part of such vibrant, caring and thoughtful community. With that in mind we would like to say a huge thank you to all our kindergarten families for all that they do and bring to Mairtown.
We hope that the festive season for you all is full of precious moment’s shared loved ones. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.
Christine, Kim, Donna, Susie, Sarah and Zair