- December 21, 2017
Welcome to our weekly news round up of happenings at The Infants' Home.
It has been a time of mixed emotions at Rigby House, with the team both sad to leave their ‘home’ for the 6 week renovation period, but very excited at the prospect of fresh and accessible spaces when they return in early February 2018. Isa Holmes, Director of Rigby House, and her team were grateful to corporate volunteers from Iglu Student Accommodation this week, who spent a long, hot day working with staff to clear out all resources, equipment, toys and supplies from Rigby House’s rooms, kitchen, bathroom and storage sheds. Iglu Accommodation has been a generous supporter of our crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for Rigby House renovations, which finished on wednesday 20th December with a grand total of $15,322! We are so grateful for the support of our volunteers, donors and families in making the campaign a success. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of renovations!
Members of Rigby House team in their staff room for the last time, Volunteers from Iglu Student Accommodation with the Rigby House team
The children at Johnson Toddlers continue to be very interested in engaging in sensory Play experiences. Throughout this year all the children have had opportunities to play with playdough, and with the warmer weather the children now have the opportunity to explore the water play set up in the outdoor environment. These two experiences offer the children opportunities to engage in sensory Play. The children were very eager to splash, pour, mix and fill up containers with water. The children laughed as they felt the water on them and said" It's cold". An educator supported the children at the playdough table as they poked, prodded, rolled, squashed and moulded the dough. The children also rolled the playdough into balls and pretended they were cakes. Both the play experiences facilitated the children's fine motor skills and provided a sensory experience.
A Family Day Care Sydney Wide Educator in Avalon used story time to engage in a learning opportunity to explore emotions and feelings, sharing the book "Lost and Found" by Oliver Jeffers. After reading the story together, the educator shared an animation of the book by ABC kids. The children discussed their feelings during the animation, telling the educator that "the boy is sad". This prompted discussions around how to tell what somebody might be feeling. The conversation also touched on the concepts of being lost, having a friend and being kind to others. Discussions like these can provide carers with insights into how children perceive themselves and the world.
Over several months many of the children in Gorton Preschool have been very driven to learn more about and advocate for the rights and the plight of refugees. In particular they have expressed concern for refugees who have been held in detention centres, and have taken a very proactive stance towards expressing their views on this and also, advocating to governments about the rights of refugees, particularly children, to be freed from detention and allowed to find safety in new homes.
The learning was initiated and driven by children, and the interest and concern spread, with children coming to preschool and suggesting actions they & their friends within preschool room could take to improve each child refugee’s situation. One child, concerned with the knowledge that refugees often flee with very little belongings – even toys, came and suggested to all the children that they donate a toy. The donated toys would then all be collected and taken to child refugees so that they could also have toys to play with. These toys were eagerly donated by children and families over several weeks and 2 weeks ago the delivery of toys was made to Mummies paying it forward – who donate items to many people in need across Sydney including refugee families.
Other children were driven to write letters to government, so many letters were written over the past few months and last week a group of children walked to the post box and posted their letters to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Speaking up and acting for change has been something Gorton Preschool children have done all year, and the issue of refugees dominated the discussions of many children. Educators are so proud of the compassion, understanding and activism the children have shared and engaged in they are true global citizens and agents of change. Educators don’t fully know the outcome of the children’s actions but do hope to get a response from the Prime Minister’s office. Either way, they hope that what the children will continue to take from this learning is recognition of the many challenges people around the world face, and the understanding that some people can speak up for the rights and needs of others who may not be able to, due to their circumstances, truly speak up for themselves.
Parents have provided some boxes to Murray House Infants, which have been great resources and provided opportunities for open ended exploration. As soon as the boxes were laid on the floor, the infants jumped inside and pretended to hold a steering wheel. It was observed that they were turning the boxes into vehicles. Educators then played the “wheels on the bus” song to further extend the play and initiate conversation with the children. The children continued to pretend to drive cars along with the music, some joined in with the experience, drawn by the music, singing, and dancing to the song. Later, the cars turned into boats! The children then pretended to row boats by swinging their hands over the sides of the boxes. An educator joined in the play, rocking the boxes, pretending that the boat was going down the stream.
With joyful laughter, they asked, "more! More!"
Later on, it was observed that some children seemed content to sit inside the box, and manipulate blocks, exploring the sense of space inside the box.
In the toddlers’ room, the donated boxes were positioned outdoors. Two best friends approached the boxes and decided to turn them into a train, using the quoits as their steering wheels. Joyful laughter was heard as they pretended to steer the quoits around as if they were driving a vehicle. One of them announced that they are driving a train, singing “Down by the station” and also modifiying the song “wheels on the bus” into “wheels on the train”.
Providing open ended materials such as upcycled boxes has allowed children to use their creative minds to incorporate these in their play. Spatial awareness – fitting their bodies into the boxes; language skills – discussing ideas, conveying meaning to those around them; and social skills – negotiating where the play is heading, are some of the skills being developed in this short example of play.
The Infants' Home recognises the importance of ongoing training for all educators within our early childhood education and care programs. This means that skills in managing first aid must always be kept up to date. Recently twelve educators from across services came together for a refresher in training on first Aid, including the management of asthma and anaphylaxis. This training ensures that educators can respond to childhood accidents, as well as the varied medical conditions of many children enrolled within TIH using latest understanding of first response and management of incidents and medical emergencies.
As this is the final edition of weekly news for 2017, The Infants' Home would like to wish our families, staff and supporters a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Join us next year for more weekly news!
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