A Possum interest at Parakai Kindergarten

Recently there was a lot of excitement at Parakai Kindergarten when the tamariki (children) discovered a possum caught in the possum trap.
The interest in possums and other New Zealand pests stared at the beginning of last year, when we noticed that something was eating our carrots and leaving poos in the garden. Several weeks ago we then noticed that a possum had been eating the fruit from our trees. The tamariki shared their ideas on how to trap the possum including “making a trail of leaves so the possum will eat them and then go into the trap” and their thoughts of what foods to use as bait. After weeks of experimenting, we finally caught it. There were fantastic learning discussions as the tamariki shared the knowledge they had learnt about this topic, such as “now the possum can’t eat our leaves or hurt our birds” and “the trees were dying aye”. This was also an amazing opportunity for the tamariki to see and learn about a possum up close.
Throughout this learning journey our tamariki have shared lots of their stories and knowledge of possums and rats and explored this interest though art, songs, stories and books. Our families have sent in photos of their own pest control journeys, built us some rat traps and the Lions Club kindly supported us to buy more native plants. This also supported the kindergartens environmental plan to increase our native bird life in the kindergarten environment.
The Parakai Kindergarten teachers are so proud of how much respect, care and love for the natural environment the tamariki have developed as a result of this interest. We are passionate advocators of sustainable living and entwine this throughout our teaching practices. We believe that if we empower tamariki to be kaitiaki (guardians) of their environment they are more likely to take on the role of kaitiaki of our planet as adults.

“A possum is trying to eat the oranges. Eating a bird egg too. The possum is trying to eat the apples too. He is going to eat the possum bait, then he is going to die. The possum drinks all the water from the pond. He is a very naughty possum.” by Ava

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