- February 16, 2018
Welcome to The Infants Home's weekly news roundup.
Children in Johnson House Toddlers have been showing a great interest in singing and dancing activities recently, and educators have offered a range of activities to develop this. At the cubby house, educators set up a music area with a variety of musical instruments from different cultures. Children were involved in singing a range of familiar songs and explored different musical concepts, such as beat, rhythm, tempo, and pitch. Children were learning through play and the process introduced children to musical concepts in an age-appropriate way.
Educators and children sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "A Ram Sam Sam" and Miss Polly Had A Dolly”, played musical instruments and explored different sounds they made. The children were enthusiastic explorers, feeling confident, happy and completely involved in the activity.
Children at Johnson House Preschool have been exploring their environment, leading to an interest in insects. Many Cicada exoskeletons have been found, along with caterpillars, Christmas beetles, and moths. This has led to many discussions about the natural environment. A dedicated space has been created to help further promote this interest, incorporating non-fiction books, insect replicas and provisions for the children to create their own insect habitats.
Inquiry-based approaches such as these often lead to extended, ongoing investigations within our program. Learning experiences that extend beyond one-off activities, that can be repeated or returned to, and that lend themselves to ongoing involvement, encourage deep learning. The ongoing nature of such experiences ensures that children’s engagement with them becomes deeper and richer.
Children greatly enjoy pretending to cook with natural materials that they have found. One Northern Beaches Family Day Care has created a wonderful learning space, upcycling timber pallets to create a mud kitchen. This mud kitchen offers opportunities to extend the children’s interest. A mud kitchen is a great way to engage sensory exploration, cooperative play, practice fine motor skills, dramatic play and explore the chemistry of mixing different materials.
At Gorton House, the centre philosophy centres on children’s rights and responsibilities and agency. Educators provide a free flow indoor-outdoor program with consistency and continuity, providing routines that are truly responsive to children’s needs. Children are provided with many opportunities to feel a sense of belonging, taking pride in their achievements, and feeling like they are valuable contributors to the daily activities of Gorton House. Educators have found that children’s enthusiasm to participate in facilitation of transition routines and practices has helped them to be more enthused, providing opportunity for connection, teamwork and learning.
Educator Tsmala has been so happy to have children assisting her in taking the meal trolley out and helping her set the table. Widad (another educator) has felt satisfaction in having children surrounding her and asking if they can “please help do the beds”, seeing them take on extra responsibilities, increasing their skills, working as a team and feeling pride at being active participants in all activities that affect them.
Involving children in all parts of routines builds strong foundations for learning, as educators use these opportunities for intentional teaching of mathematical concepts, for example by counting the number of beds needed for sleep time, or the number of bowls and cups needed at meal times. Children learn the meaning of numbers and what they represent through engaging in these activities and routines. Widad demonstrated how the iPod and Xplor (software) are used in the first step of organising bedtime, as they are used to tell educators how many, and which children are present.
The environment is a child’s ‘third teacher’, and by keeping that environment accessible throughout the day, and engaging children in all aspects of the program, educators maintain respectful, supportive relationships and interactions with the children and share knowledge in ways that support everyone to engage in positive experiences in learning and relationships.
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