- April 13, 2018
Welcome to The Infants Home's weekly news roundup.
At The Infants’ Home there are extensive and beautiful grounds, and all houses make use of this in their programs through facilitating visits to siblings at other houses, and discovering the natural environment. Johnson House preschoolers have been exploring the grounds and finding treasures which have fallen from the trees. These experiences help invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature. They foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education.
Children in Johnson House Toddlers have been interested in farm animals, exploring farm animals in picture books, songs, posters and small group discussions. The children were also engaged in a discussion about food products and food grown on a farm. After observing pictures of farm food products on the table, children recognised the food they eat at home and at Johnson House Toddlers, and used their sensory abilities and skills to respond to the environment. An educator provided opportunities for the group to touch, feel and taste the fresh food. They shared in a discussion about the bread and wheat.
The educator said 'what colour is the wheat and bread?' This led them into a discussion about the other produce, for example ‘what colour is the tomato, or cucumber, or carrot?' The children noticed the change in colour of the food - red, green, orange. Children were challenged to describe the tastes of the fruit and vegetables. The tomato tasted sweet and acidic, the cucumber tasted watery and juicy, the apples tasted crunchy, sweet and crispy, and the orange tasted sweet, sour and juicy. The bread tasted like grain. The experience encouraged the children to cooperate and collaborate in a shared experience, exchanging ideas and concepts linked to fresh fruit and vegetables produced on the land.
Many children in Gorton Pre-school desire to test their physical abilities by seeking further challenge within their physical environment. Over the past couple of years educators have worked alongside The Infants' Home's Occupational Therapist, Justine, and supported this learning and desire for risk-taking by adding various spaces to the environment. For example, the flying fox continues to be one of the most favoured pieces of equipment, with children mastering the challenge and then seeking to further deepen it by swinging themselves upside down. Other children swing and then leap as far as they can into the sandpit.
A new challenge was recently discovered by one child who made it his goal to shimmy up a pole. He worked at this every day for 2 weeks before finally and delightedly getting to the top and then earning the admiration of his peers who watched closely. After following his suggestions and techniques many experienced the same sense of delight at getting to the top of the pole.
The latest challenge we added was a ladder and “abseiling” rope on one of our trees. Getting to the top of this rope required persistence, problem solving, reflexivity, creativity, collaboration in the assessment of risks, and sharing and discussing various techniques. After finally getting to the top, some children even deepened the sense of thrill and risk-taking by hanging themselves upside down, while holding on as tight as they could. Experiencing challenge not only promotes the learning of persistence and a sense of achievement, physical skills such as small and large muscle strength and development, balance, bi-lateral co-ordination and brain development, it also supports children to understand risk and learn how to manage and negotiate their physical environments.
Children at Murray House have been interested in stamping. Educators provided a variety of different sizes of shaped blocks including cylinders, pyramids, cuboid, cube and hemispheres in the sandpit. The shape stamping experience provided the children with the opportunity to understand some mathematical concepts including shape, number and size. They learnt about the names of shapes and practiced their counting skills through manipulating the different blocked shapes in the sandpit.
For this age group, repetition is important for Toddler’s learning as repetition helps children to strengthen their brain’s neural processors for learning, provides the opportunity for toddlers to practice and reinforcement and teaches children to practice, master and retain knowledge. It takes time for children to understand concepts, and repetition of experience plays a vital role. However, repetition doesn’t mean reading the same story or implanting the same experiences. Instead, repetition refers to any form of work that provides the child with opportunities to practice a skill or knowledge area. Repetition may also come from daily routine or the environment. (Montessori Academy, 2018, SA, accessed 27 March 2018)
During their learning, the main focus for the children and the educators is to have fun. Educators will continue to develop children’s understanding of mathematical concepts by providing them with opportunities to repeat activities that interest them and embedding this learning in the daily routine.
Re-use, reduce and recycle – from an old bed to new blocks! Who would have thought that these great block towers were once bed slats?
Sammy, a Family Day Care Educator from The Infants' Home's St George Hub, used bed slats from a bed that was no longer needed to restock her block corner. Sammy cut up the slats, sanded them down and then they were ready for action. This experience embedded sustainability practices into Sammy's family day care program and engaged the children in using resources made of natural materials. The children developed a range of skills and used problem solving and experimentation to work out how to stop their towers from falling.
The last Red Bug Playgroup of term one was held this week. Emma from Ashfield Library visited to read stories and sing songs with the children. After storytime the parachute activities began!
Join us next week for more news from The Infants' Home.
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