- February 2, 2018
Welcome to The Infants Home's weekly news roundup.
Over the last five weeks, Rigby House has been a hive of activity with tradespersons busily working to replace all ceilings and floors and skirting boards, repair and paint walls, and install new cabinetry in the kitchen and bathroom areas, and create a new staff amenities area. This week, a team from the Australian Navy also pitched in to paint the eaves over the large veranda a fresh, crisp white.
Our staff return next week to set up environments and make the more accessible spaces beautiful and welcoming for children. Families arrive next week to tour the centre and we continue to take new enrolments for children 0-2. From Monday 12 February, Rigby will be open and delivering high quality early childhood education and care.
The Gorton House vegetable garden is thriving after receiving lots of care from educators and children. There are cucumbers, corn, lettuce, mint, parsley, and basil all competing for attention. Broadening children's understanding of growing vegetables, caring for them and the importance of maintaining the garden by frequently watering the plants provides a great opportunity to teach children that fruit and vegetables don't just come from the supermarket. The garden provides a talking point between children and educators around nutrition and how healthy eating helps our bodies grow and stay healthy.
The children in Murray House infants have begun to develop a sense of belonging and close connection with their new care environment. Educators have observed them using their senses to engage in play experiences, as well showing eagerness to be in each other's company. In the early years, sensory stimulation is important for young infants to learn about the world around them. Integrative sensory stimulation is linked to emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Feeling the comforting touch from educators whilst exploring the care environment helps children to develop a sense of security and healthy attachments.
Educators in Robinson House have worked hard to facilitate ongoing investigations within the environment and the grounds of The Infants' Home. The children have been collecting exoskeletons of Cicadas and conducting research on them; classifying, sorting and creating artworks with them. This ongoing project has allowed educators to work collaboratively to thread several significant learning opportunities into a naturally occurring interest. Educators are encouraged to observe and plan opportunities for each child drawing upon elements of the Early Years Learning Framework to ensure that all areas and opportunities provided for and with children are grounded in quality educational practices and principals.
Children at Johnson House toddlers have shown an interest in dancing and music experiences. To follow the children’s interest, educators offered the children a spontaneous dancing experience with familiar action songs. The children followed all the actions in the songs and used their own creativity to express their feelings about the activity and the music.
Children were dancing, holding each other's hands and also changing their dancing partners. The songs they danced to were "Looby Loo", "If You Happy And You Know It", "When All The Cows Are Sleeping", "See The Sleeping Bunnies”, and “Do The Hokey Pokey”.
At the conclusion of the experience, the educator put on relaxing instrumental music with bird sounds. The children closed their eyes and were pretending to be in a green jungle.
Activities like these help children to developing their emerging autonomy, interdependence and sense of agency. For example, they chose to participate in certain experiences, made decisions about their dancing and also interacted with each other to engage in a successful group play experience.
The obstacle course is a prominent part of the outdoor space in Johnson House and is adapted at times based on the children’s abilities, interests and skill development. The integrated team (Director, educators, allied health staff) work together to ensure the children have opportunities to extend their skills and engage in safe risk-taking. Children both need and want to take risks to explore their limits, venture into new experiences and further their development. Any injury can be distressing for children and those who care for them, but the experience of minor injuries is a universal part of childhood and plays a positive role in child development.
An ideal environment for developing and testing skills is safe, creative play environments. Children need opportunities to develop skills in negotiating the environment (including risks); learn how to use equipment safely and for its designed purpose; develop coordination and orientation skills; take acceptable risks, and learn about the consequences (positive and negative) of risk-taking.
The last Inner West playgroup of 2017 ended in a blast. Small groups of children engaged in different experiences which were set up indoors and outdoors.
The writing area allowed children to develop their pencil grip, dexterity skills and to practice writing individual letters. Children learned from each other and were able to scaffold their skills from this socialization.
Blocks were manipulated to create complex structures and to solve problems, such as how to secure blocks to stand upright.
The group followed a simple recipe to make Christmas balls, providing opportunities for children to participate in turn taking and learn mathematical concepts of measurement, scientific concepts of mixing dry and wet ingredients and explore the sensory experience of sculpting the mixture into balls.
The children spent time working on their physical development through the obstacle course, engaging in a literacy group time and exploring the natural world around them, and then came together to share some delicious food and celebrate the end of 2017.
Join us next week for more news from The Infants' Home.
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