Without trying to sound too much like a Hallmark greeting card, Hibiscus Coast Kindy is a place that’s really close to my heart. Located in my home town, Orewa, the kindy provides early childhood services to over 60 local families and has been a place of learning for many, many other people in the area over the past few decades. In fact, the HBC Kindy is the very kindy that I attended and, in later years when my brother was kindy aged, the same place where I volunteered at kiddy discos and bike-a-thons. The Head Teacher (and my old Kindy teacher), Chris, is a wonderful woman and she was more than happy to let the Clarion Tour loose on the kindy grounds prior to the beginning to the term, and we were all really psyched to get going on our first official Clarion project.
Over the years, through some dedicated volunteers that sit on the Kindergarten committee, the kindy has managed to upgrade its facilities both inside and out. Even when I attended the kindy back in the early 90s, the space was rather small, so as the local population (and, subsequently, the Kindy roll) increased, the Kindy had to find ways to raise money to be able to accomodate all of the children in the area (Chris told us today that at one stage she had up to 45 children per session). Thanks to countless raffles and fundraisers (something the Labour party knows a lot about!!), the Kindy managed to raise the funds to expand a few years ago, and the place is looking great!
One of the most wonderful things about the Kindy is the vegetable garden - a big patch of dirt where the children can learn how to grow plants and reap the rewards afterwards by eating whatever grows successfully. Unfortunately, over the summer break, the garden had become a bit of a jungle and was in dire need of a weeding. Luckily, Shayne and Shona were more than happy to show off their elite gardening skills, with Shayne jokingly asking if whether tending to the garden made him fully qualified to stand in Botany. Tim’s gardening skills were also shown to be of great promise, but his career was cut short when he managed to inflict some sort of shovel related injury upon himself. Fortunately, Chris came to the rescue with a full-on St Johns first aid kit, and no limbs were lost.
Meanwhile, inside the Kindy, Angus and I were in charge of rearranging the furniture and Eric and Ella were showing off their master squeegee skills by cleaning the windows. Ella’s phone almost met an unfortunate demise when it fell out of her pocket and into the soapy water bucket, but thankfully it survived.
Whilst we were all hard at work, Chris had baked us all the most delicious muffins to thank us for the work that we had done around the grounds, so after we’d finished, we all squished (and I mean squished – those kindy chairs are small) around one of the tables for morning tea. Much to the amusement to most of the people on the tour, Chris was full of stories about what I got up to when I was four, but , thankfully, no photographic evidence of Analiese circa 1992 emerged, which I was very grateful for!
After one last tidy up and having waited for Glen and Angus to have a quick play in the sandpit, we were off to have lunch on Orewa Beach. Unfortunately, this was the point where I had to jump off the bus, but I’ll be back on in a few days time to recount a few more triumphs and mishaps, live from the Clarion bus!