Celebrate Matariki with Your Preschooler This June


Matariki is the cluster of stars that appear in the sky over New Zealand each year in June or July. It is the start of the Maori New Year, a significant part of our heritage and an important time to all of us here at Auckland’s Learning Tree Childcare Centre.

Matariki is a great opportunity to teach children at home and in childcare settings about Maori culture and the importance of diversity. Visible this year from 25th to 28th June, Matariki is a time of remembrance, a chance to pay respect to family members who have passed away while looking towards the exciting possibilities in the year ahead.

Matariki means Eyes of God

It is said that when Ranginui and Papatūānuku – the sky father earth mother – were separated from their children, Tawhirimatea, the god of the winds, got so upset that he tore out his eyes and threw them in the sky, becoming the stars we see today.

Matariki at Learning Tree Childcare Centre

Each year, Matariki is a much looked-forward to time of year, with our Auckland childcare teachers sharing the significance of the holiday to a roomful of enthusiastic kids. There are many ways that we incorporate Matariki into daycare life, from arts and crafts activities to story time, Maori songs to gathering native plants in our garden. It’s often a favourite time of year for the kids at our childcare centre!

Celebrate Matariki at Home

If you are looking for fun and educational activities to celebrate Matariki with your preschoolers at home, try some of our ideas below:

• Read stories about Matariki
• Tell traditional Maori stories and legends
• Traditional Maori crafts like flax weaving
• Look at the stars and find Matariki
• Darken a room and put up glow in the dark stars
• Library sessions with Matariki story time
• Sing songs about Matariki
• Gather family and friends and make a Matariki-themed dinner
• Ask your kids to describe how they celebrated at daycare

Celebrations in Auckland: there is a month-long Matariki programme in Auckland with plenty of arts, food, community and environmental activities planned, many of them great for preschoolers.

The team at Learning Tree Childcare encourages you to continue the Matariki celebrations at home this June!

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