Our Stories




Science Kids

While the new and exciting science centre at the museum is being developed the children have been doing some further exploring of the museum; looking at the birds and their habitats, the fossils of under-water creatures and the firm favourite the Egyptian mummy!

The kids from Pine Hill had a fantastic time last week at school, the task for the session was to capture and identify insects and bugs, and examine them to see what identifying characteristics about each bug they could see.

The kids were really involved and excited, some of them even hoping to capture a spider so they could show the others how brave they are! Overall a highly successful session, with one of the kids in particular who wanted to know all about entomology, saying that he’d love to become one in future!

Looking ahead we have two more sessions at the school and one more at the museum, where we will be visiting the conservation lab, and celebrating the end of another round of science kids.


Prison - Literacy and Numeracy

Two new learners started in the ILN class; both showed little interest and asked if they could go back to cells. However one of the students already in the class provided motivation to them, and was successful. He described his first day, saying how stupid he thought of the whole thing was. How learning all of this “sh**” was pointless, and how it was a waste of time. But, he told them, just give it a couple of sessions and see how you feel. He then went on to explain why he now likes the course. He enjoys the challenge of the “maths sh**” and loves beating our tutors at UpWords. The two new learners decided to stay to the end of the class, and have remained in attendance since. I genuinely believe that Cody’s words motivated them to stay – something that would likely have been less effective coming from me (tutor vs peer group motivation).


Prison - Foundation Skills

The students of the Foundation skills classes at the Otago Correctional Facility have been busy with their units of work; three have nearly finished and are pushing for a Christmas graduation. The biggest highlight came from one of the younger students. This young man has been trying to gain his NCEA 1 for four years and for one reason or another his attempts have been thwarted. By working hard in the Foundation Skills Level 1 class he recently gained enough credits to successfully earn his NCEA 1. This young man was so thrilled with himself! In our conversations about his future plans he had freely talked about going back to a life of crime on his release as it was “good money”, however since he has gained his qualification he wants to study harder and get the qualifications he needs to go onto some form of tertiary study so he can earn “legal money”.


Client Support - Milton

A referral was made to the Client Support Service for a man who was off work due to needing surgery. He was away from the work place longer than anticipated and had used up his annual and sick leave entitlements. While waiting for more surgery and not having clearance to return to the work place Tony was living off his bare essentials. He was referred to our service to see if he was entitled to any assistance from Work and Income.

When the Client Support Worker met Tony, his first comment was he didn’t expect Work and Income to ‘help out’ as he didn’t think he would qualify for anything. He also felt Work and Income would want a lot of paperwork and ask a lot of questions which he says had put him off from contacting Work and Income.

Together they rang Work and Income to see if Tony was eligible for any support while he was unable to work. To Tony’s surprise he was eligible. Over the phone Tony went through the process of what he needed to do to apply for support. This took a bit of time as W&I explained how to apply online and what paperwork Tony needed for his application. An appointment was made - however the expectation was that Tony would have made his online application and gathered all necessary paperwork before his face to face appointment.

The thought of this was overwhelming for Tony but after further discussion and with the support of the client support worker to help Tony through the online process, he was happy to proceed with his application. This took two appointments with Tony’s Client Support Worker. Once Tony had finished his online application and gathered the needed paperwork he was happy to attend his Work and Income appointment on his own.

Tony stated to the Client Support Worker if he had done this on his own he would've given up after the last phone call with Work and Income as there were so many questions to answer and paperwork to provide.


Little Citizens - Kiwi Room

This month in the Kiwi Room, the children were showing interest in textures and sensory activities, so we made our learning focus exploration.

After setting up the sensory table last month, we have put into our class other sensory ideas and activities. We have had natural clay on the table with extra water that the children have been able to move and squish with their hands. We have painting out, some with big paper and brushes and come with cotton buds as brushes and small paper. Some of the art is on display in the dining room.

We also have out the baskets of small parts play. The small chains are extremely popular as the like the sound they make when pushed around on the lino. Play-dough has also been popular, with the children learning to roll little balls, place them onto plates and calling them cake.

Outside with the warmer weather the children from the Kiwi Room have enjoyed the water play that has been set up by the Tui Room. The sandpit still is the most popular activity, the children like to tip and pour the sand from container to bucket to bottles. Lots of skill and co-ordination needed to do this.

It has been a busy month for the Kiwi Room with Anna away on holiday for two weeks. We have had 3 new children settle into our room this month and that has been going smoothly with happy families and happy children.


Little Citizens - Kotuku/Tui Room

The children in the Kotuku group are learning about different ways to be creative and expressive, this is a very diverse area of learning that encompasses not only verbal language but non-verbal language for those children with diverse learning needs where their communication is not at the same level as that of their peers.

Two groups of children have had the opportunity to visit the art gallery provoking different ideas as to what art is and what it means to individuals. The teachers have been providing opportunities for the children to experiment and explore different mediums of art in which to create and transform their ideas while also providing open ended props and resources to allow the children to use their imaginations in order to express their feelings and ideas, this has seen the children exploring sound as they turned old vacuum hoses into telephones and old plastic piping in the dirt pit into cauldrons to mix their magic potions to turn everyone into frogs and to turn everything white.

The Tui group are learning about all the different ways that they can play and learn alongside each other and as part of a group. Alongside of this is the constant social competency coaching and role modelling that the teachers do to support children to develop self-regulation skills when dealing with disappointment, conflict or over excitement.

Therefore there is a big emphasis on learning about how you feel and how what you do make others feel. Getting outside and negotiating whose turn it is on the play equipment provides wonderful learning opportunities for the children to practice skills learnt in a safe and supportive environment.

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