Thursday, December 20, 2012

ELP team Christmas in Hamilton

We have just had another lovely Christmas weekend in Hamilton. We began our Christmas Party weekend with a Progressive Garden Party at the Hamilton Gardens. Each team member chose a garden to represent. We each dressed in the theme of the garden we had chosen and brought to the garden a little food to share that represented that garden. As usual our antics in the gardens entertained others and many wanted to photograph us or be photographed with us. Lots of fun had by all! What follows are images of the afternoon. Starting with our first stop in the Italian Renaissance Garden.
We began with lovely bubbles over sorbet and strawberries. A fine beginning to the afternoon.
Kathryn leading the Italian experience!
From the left: Lorraine, Carol, Wendy, Lynn, Alison, Kathryn and Jo
Full view of the Italian Renaissance Garden
Our next stop was the Te Parapara Maori Garden. This garden project is a joint project between Nga Mana Toopu and the Hamilton City Council. The project focuses on the heritage and tikanga that is associated with the local area. Carol was lead the way and shared a very delicious Mussel dish!!
A very different garden filled with cultural icons.
Carol beside the kumara garden!

Time to enjoy that delicious dish of mussels!
Beautiful carvings adorn this garden!
Next up was the Chinese Scholars Garden lead by Jo. 

And so we entered the Chinese Scholars Garden lead by Jo.
The team in the Chinese Scholars Garden.....
Still enjoying the Chinese Scholars Garden from the left: Alison, Wendy, Lorraine, Jo, Lynn, Kathryn and Carol.
Another view of the garden, before we head off to the Indian Char Bagh Garden.
Our next stop the Indian Char Bagh Garden, a garden developed between the 8th and the 18th centuries. As you enter the garden you are overwhelmed with the rainbow of colour of the carpet of flowers that mimic a persian carpet. This garden had its roots in three of the worlds great religions - Islam, Hinduism and Buddism.

Wendy in the Indian Char Bagh Garden.

The team relaxes in the garden enjoying an Indian treat under the beautifully patterned ceiling.
Our next stop was the Egyptian Courtyard where Lorraine would appear as Cleopatra and serve delicious treats from the middle east.
Lorraine fully engaged in her role in the Egyptian courtyard.

The team enjoys the courtyard before heading off to the Perfume Garden...
Lynn arrived at the Gardens all prepared for the Perfume Garden.  She was dressed in a fabulous 18th century dress! This is an 18th century garden with strong oriental influences very much a part of English society during this period. Sadly this garden was under repair and development, so we could not enter the garden so headed to the herb garden. This garden is a 20th century garden,  so we headed in the direction of this garden....
Lynn looking fabulous!
We arrive at the Herb Garden and enjoy Lynn's perfume infused food and drinks!
Another view of the Herb Garden and now for the final stop, the English Flower Garden.
Our final stop, the English Flower Garden. This garden has several 'rooms' with walls and hedges created several outdoor spaces, it has a lovely romantic charm and Alison lead the way and served 'roses' in the garden.
One of the many views of the English Flower Garden.
Alison our English flower!
A final view of the English Flower Garden before we head back to Malcolm Street to continue our Christmas Party weekend.
Margaret and Robyn have now joined us for Christmas Dinner and Gillian will arrive later to enjoy Sunday with us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A few photos from Oporto, Portugal

Check out that sun!

The Railway Station was extraordinary, the internal tiling magnificent.

Here I am with Klara, exploring the city!

Here we are by the river, check out the new hats!!!
We are now on the boat, exploring the river.
Such a beautiful place!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Portugal, our first stop!

Six members of the ELP team set off  to spend four weeks sharing the work of Learning Stories in Germany. This is part of ongoing work we have been doing in Germany over several years. The work began in the early 2000’s when Margaret Carr and I visited Germany on the invitation of the Youth Institute. The Head of the Institute had read Margaret’s book on Assessment and was very interested in the work around dispositions. Learning Stories are now found all over Germany and in many different forms. Many reciprocal visits have subsequently taken place in Germany and New Zealand. This is the second major trip to Germany. Seven of the ELP team went to Germany 2 years ago for a month long trip around Germany sharing our work.

Our first stop was Oporto in Portugal. 
ELP team from left to right: Jo Colbert, Kathryn Delany, Alison Brierley, Lorraine Sands, Robyn Lawrence & Wendy Lee

The European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) Annual conference was being held here and we all were successful in having our papers accepted and so we presented two Symposia. These were:

Symposium 1
Strengthening the community of learners using action research as the key pathway to pedagogical change.

All three papers submitted for the EECERA Conference stemmed from action research. They describe the experience of building strong learning communities in three very different contexts:
1.     An Early Childhood Setting, with a teacher-led service.
2.     A Playcentre Setting, with a parent-led service.
3.     A group of Early Childhood centres working within and beyond their own settings.
All of the settings discussed here were committed to strengthening their community of learners and building a stronger, professional learning community. The three papers were:

Awi mai awhi atu. Helping me, helping you.
Fostering social competence in a mixed-age early childhood centre.
This paper was presented by Alison Brierley

Mātauranga: building knowledge, wisdom and understanding in a leaderful community
This paper was presented by Jo Colbert

He iwi whānui o ngā kaiako ākonga
A Community of Teacher Learners; Aspects of effective professional development.
This paper was presented by Kathryn Delany

Symposium 2
Building a Research Culture of teachers working with Infants and Toddlers in Early Childhood Settings in NZ
As Project Facilitators working within the Educational Leadership Project (ELP) in Aotearoa New Zealand we put together three perspectives that each consider some of the ways in which we are working with infants and toddler communities to both strengthen and enhance a research culture to strengthen early childhood learning. The three papers were:
·      Growing Leaders from Infancy
·      Enhancing and Strengthening Courage and Bravery Through the Support of a Trusted Companion in a Leaderful Community
·      Constructing Identities as Professional Lifelong Learners
This work illustrates the transformational  power of professional learning and it consolidates the support of everyone in the wider community to become life long learners in the 21 century.
The notion of both teachers and children as researchers is being embedded in the fabric of early childhood education in New Zealand and these three papers presented exemplars in which both children and teachers are the co-constructors of their own learning. Teachers’ voices highlighted aspects of shifts in practice based on researching pedagogy, transforming competence, and exploring leadership. The three papers were:

Growing leaders from infancy
This paper was presented by Lorraine Sands

Enhancing and Strengthening Courage and Bravery Through the Support of a Trusted Companion in a Leaderful Community
This paper was presented by Robyn Lawrence

Constructing Teacher Identities as Lifelong Learners and Researchers
This paper was presented by Wendy Lee

Margaret Carr was the first keynote speaker of the conference!
Margaret was introduced by Margy Whalley
The main conference lecture theatre
Me enjoying morning tea, time to catch up with people!
Conference Dinner held in a spectacular location high on hills overlooking the river.

 I think I will add a few photos from Oporto in a couple of days. Cheers, Wendy

Friday, July 6, 2012

A return to a special place in my childhood - Fiji

My fabulous Dave gave me 6 'Ts' for my 60th birthday which I celebrated on Christmas Day last year. The six 'Ts' were:
  • Theatre
  • Treatment
  • Trinket
  • Taste
  • Treasure and finally
  • Travel
The travel was a brilliant trip to Fiji. A place that held special memories for me as I lived there (and in Samoa) for most of my early years until I was 8 years old. It was my first return since leaving there as a child.

You will see from the photos that I am posting on the blog - I will add more to my Facebook page, that a wonderful time was had. Although we were only there for one week, it was so relaxed I felt like I had been away for a much longer period.

The holiday consisted on swimming, lying around reading books, snorkling, experiencing lovely relaxed dinners, early morning swims on secluded beaches, visiting a traditional village and experiencing indigenous culture, visiting a school in the village, exploring some of my old childhood haunts - all in all the perfect holiday!

Swimming, one of my most favourite things to do in life!
I am very keen on reading with a cocktail in the other hand as well

Early morning swims, only for the keenest on the boat.
Our early morning swims were fabulous, we were taken to secluded isolated beaches to swim.
Beautiful sunsets!
Relaxed and delicious dinners.

Even managed a visit to an infant school, all the children were on holiday!
The visit to the traditional village on one of the outer islands involved much music, dancing and also a kava ceremony!
Returning to that favourite activity, snorkling was wonderful, the fish were so tame some were nibbling me!!
As well as a great variety of tropical fish, there were beautiful corals to see.
Back to that very comfortable place next to the pool with book in hand!
Dave off to do a little kayaking.
The Captain was a very very successful fisherman - busy catching our dinner!

Dave enjoying kava with the Captain of the boat.
And me, well back to what I like to do best, relaxing in the pool!!
I am very keen to return one day to Fiji with my siblings and also the 'children' we played with and were friends with. I think we could revisit the places of our childhood and our earliest memories could be shared and this would rekindle the wonderful experiences we had as children. I know for me just visiting the places brought back so many memories for me.