Friday, March 15, 2013

If you go down to the woods today...

My baby seems to have become grown up all of a sudden, and some of the change seems to have resulted from her first foray with the Ngahere Explorers, the group of oldest kids at Preschool who spend one day of each week exploring the natural world.  Based on the German Waldkinderg√§rten ("forest kindergarten") philosophy, two teachers take a small group of children go to Pukemokemoke bush reserve for the day where they play and learn in the bush.

Ember was a last-minute ring in on Thursday, and I wasn't entirely sure how she would go, not being a keen walker in general.  However, away from the parentals she stepped up to the challenge, walked the whole way and had a fasntasic time.  

She was telling me all about it on the way home, and some parts of the conversation were rather lovely/funny, so I've tried to capture as much as I remember!

Me: Did you have a good time being a Ngahere Explorer today?
Em: Yes, we goed on the bus, and I walked all the time.  Teachers can't carry you.
Me: No, they can't.  Who did you sit with on the bus?
Em: I sat with A and we talked all the way, but just quietly so we didn't distract the driver.
Me: That's good.  And did you have a backpack on when you went walking?  Or did you leave it in the bus?
Em: We had the backpacks on with our lunchboxes when we got to the hungry place.  And some of the backpacks had whistles and I wanted a green whistle but I didn't get any whistle.
Me: Maybe the kids who have been explorers a few times get to have the whistles.  What are the whistles for?
Em: In case there's a mergency.  We saw lots of Tane Mahutas* and A was ripping the leaves and killing the Tane Mahutas.  That's not kind is it Mummy?
Me: No.
Em: And we saw a nikau plant and Tim ripped the leaf but it was a dead one so he's allowed to do that.  I'm not a plant of tree am I Mummy?
Me: No...
Em: Why is there a Niko plant and not an Ember plant?
Me: Well, it's not a Niko plant (Niko is a boy at Preschool), it's a nikau palm.  Niko and nikau sound the same but they're spelled differently.
Em: Well Tim said it's a Niko plant.  But there's no Ember plant.
Me: There might be, somewhere in the world.
Em: No there isn't, Tim told me.
Me: Ok then. (pause) Do you remember meeting Jeanie in my office today?  She lives just by Pukemokemoke reserve, the place where you went today.  Her family look after the bush reserve.
Em: I want to go to her house.  Does she have toys there?
Me: No, I don't think so.

Em: Oh.  That doesn't matter, I can just take my toys to her house.  Why doesn't she have any toys?
Me: She doesn't have any kids.
Em: Why not?
Me: I don't know.  Not everyone has kids.
Em: They have to!
Me: No they don't.  Some people don't want to have kids.
Em: They should. They should just grow one in their tummies.
Me: Well, it's not quite that easy.  Some people don't want to have kids. And some people can't grow babies in their tummies.
Em: They has to!
Me:  Why does everyone have to have kids?
Em: Because they're so lovely!

Well that may be debatable, but I decided not to go into it!  She certainly learned a lot from her first day as a Ngahere Explorer; I'm looking forward to hearing what she gets up to next.

* 'Tane Mahuta' (tar-nay mar-hoo-tah) means God of the Forest and usually refers to the biggest of New Zealand's native kauri trees.  I'm not entirely sure in what context Ember meant it!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The rainbow gates sound horrid...

Ember and I were at the playground today and she met a little friend called Trinity.  On the way home I was telling her that Trinity was one of the names Simon liked, and that we had thought about when we were deciding what name to give her, along with Azura and Isabella.  Ember liked the idea of Isabella because it's the name of a Queen in one of her movies.

Me: Well, there's a book and a movie called "The City of Ember".
Em: Really?  Can I watch it?
Me: One day.
Em: Is there a girl in that movie called Ember?
Me: No, they all live in an underground city, and the city is called Ember.  Like we live in Raglan, they live in Ember.
Em: They live in Ember! That's funny! People can't be called a name of living!
Me: There are quite a few people's names which are also place names.  Like Paris.  There's a city in France called Paris, and there are some people called Paris too.
Em: I know one, it's called Shance
Me: Chance?
Em: No, Shance.
Me: What's Shance?
Em: It's a living place and a people name.  There is heaps of treasure and chocolate coins!
Me: In Shance the place?
Em: Yep.  And all the gates are made of rainbows! (throwing her arms into the air, dramatically)
Me: Wow, that sounds cool.
Em: Yep.  And animals!  Just baby animals with no families, and they stay baby animals all the time.  Kittens, and lions, and dogs, and T Rexs.
Me: T Rex? Uh oh, what if it eats everyone?
Em: No, it won't eat the people because it's just a baby one and he's a she... she's a she.  Is she means girl?
Me: Yep
Em: Oh.  He's a he.  And when he grows up, he's a nice one.

Just as we arrived home, a whole flock of sparrows took off from a tree, flying overhead.

Em: Look at those birds!  They're so horrid.  Horrid means lovely.
Me: No it doesn't, horrid means horrible.
Em: Well in my words horrid is a different one and it means lovely.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Religious Education, of sorts

Ember and I drove past the Anglican church on our way to the shop this afternoon.  We drive that way most days, but something about it must have caught her eye today.

Em: One day can we go in there?
Me: In where? In the church?
Em: Yeah, one day when it's open can you park outside there so we can go in?
Me:  I suppose so.  Why do you want to go in there? What do you think is inside?
Em: I just don't know that.
Me: Well, it's a church.  There's not anything to buy or really anything to look at.  There are just lots of seats and things.  Sometimes they have beautiful windows. People go there to learn about God and Jesus and things.
Em: I want to do that.
Me: Do you know about God and Jesus?  Do you remember me telling you about it another time?
Em: No.
Me:  It's a bit hard to explain, but some people believe that God made the world and everything, and is still all around us.  Jesus was God's son.
Em: I want to visit him!
Me:  He doesn't live in the church.  He lived a long long time ago.  Anyway people who believe in God and Jesus are called Christians.  There are other people who believe in  different god, or gods; people who are Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist.  I don't believe in any gods, so I'm called an atheist.  And there are some people who don't really know whether they believe in a god or not, and they're called agnostics.
Em: I know there's a God.
Me: Do you?  How do you know that?
Em:  I just does.
Me: What do you think God does?
Em: He protects us.  And he says "Roll the boat!" and we have to say "Yes Sir!"
Me: Oh. Ok. (pause) "Roll the boat"?
Em: Yep, he says "Roll the boat, roll the boat" and everyone says "Yes Sir!"
Me: Right.  Where do you think God lives?
Em: A long long long way away, with the enjers.
Me: Enjers?  Do you mean angels?
Em: Nope, enjers.  The enjers are little things which are really scary and dangerous.

Fortunately, at that moment, we arrived at the shop!  I'm not sure our version of religious education is quite the same as anywhere else!!