Today I find the children huddled in the hut by the ponds. It’s a sunny day but the wind is blowing furiously and there is kite-making to be done.
It is the week before “Clean Monday” when the skies will be bursting with the colourful shapes.
The design is simple enough; a strip of card folded in two and coloured in. A long string is attached on one end and the tail is glued on the other end. Long ribbons of multi-coloured crepe paper are cut out to make the latter.
The children approach the task in entirely different ways. One little boy gets on with it, showing great enthusiasm and concentration, another wanders off into the other room and becomes engrossed in another activity. A little girl waits patiently to be guided and prompted. One boy, having finished his kite, promptly picks up the scissors and makes a beautiful pile of confetti from the tail.
No matter what, the teacher makes sure that they each have their kite in the end and we take them outside to try them out. Having run around several times with kites held modestly high above their heads, the children abandon the game and move on to the next.
The kites are tied up on the rope ladder hanging from the eucalyptus tree, their tails fluttering in the wind.
The ponds are strewn with eucalyptus leaves. The children get out their fishing nets to drag them out. In doing so, someone notices strands of something else floating in the water. Everyone gathers round to see the slimy threads being fished out and get a better look.
Theories are running wild: a kind of pond jelly fish, a strange plant; none of us have noticed these before but we conclude that they must be some kind of egg.
We quickly throw them back in, so as not to harm our pond life and agree to wait and see what will hatch.
We pick up the kites and run through the vines to the waiting mothers. With a burst of colour catching the wind, we bid farewell to winter and look forward to spring.