- June 15, 2018
Welcome to The Infants Home's weekly news roundup.
The Johnson House Preschool playground has been turned into a construction site, furnished with work hats, large spades, ramps and dump trucks. The children have been exchanging ideas, working together to create imaginative play scenarios and using their existing knowledge to build on their play. This space has helped to create opportunities for the children to develop assertiveness, work in collaboration with each other and continue to build on an existing interest.
Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine. When children play with other children they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings. Play provides a supportive environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and to learn.
Children at Johnson House Toddlers have been playing hoop games, following on from their interest in engaging in a variety of physical play experiences that have been more challenging. As the children played with the hoops, they used their hands, bodies and legs to move the hoops in a variety of directions. The educators also offered the children scarves to play with. The children were very creative as they thought of different ways the scarves could be used inside the hoop. One child decided that their scarf was a seat. A few other children chose to lie down with the scarves, which led to children and educators singing “The Sleeping Bunnies" together. Educators then shared a story called “Millie’s Special Something” and the children pretended to be “Millie" as they moved with the hoops. This experience helped to promote development of gross motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination.
Last years Gorton Toddlers garden was an undoubted success – from the manner in which the kids took to it and involved themselves in its upkeep to the unrivaled and Triffid-like growth of the Perennial Basil. It was a Jungle!
The garden provided the children with a sense of belonging & ownership, a desire to be a part of a process and in some individual cases, a bit of a boost to their self-esteem. It was only natural that a new garden should evolve, a version 2.0. This is the start of its journey.
Interest in the new garden peaked when children helped to pull the existing plants out. Several children began a dialogue based on how the plants’ absence had changed their perception of the space – with one child asking “why is the garden bigger now?”. After group discussions, it was decided that some new plants should be sourced for the garden.
Fortunately, Bunnings is only a short ride away, and a group of 7 willing, adventurous and intrepid travelers set off with their educators to explore the gardening and hardware shop. Children enjoyed smelling the plants, touching the leaves and learning about what plants were in season. After picking some carrots, lettuce, chives, rosemary, broad beans, garlic and a native blueberry, the children enjoyed looking at some garden gnomes and garden dinosaurs! One child greeted each gnome or dinosaur with genuine pleasure and a smile, insisting on touching as many as he could.
Stay tuned for weekly updates on the progress of the Gorton House garden 2.0.
Murray House Children have been visiting the verandah outside Murray House to stay dry and keep active during the wet weather. Children have explored their motor skills in the obstacle courses and their creativity with coloured chalks on the board and reading in a small group. The children loved the piano the most, exploring and making sounds by pushing different keys. The children sang along with Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star and later decided to be little bunnies sleeping on the floor - making gestures, actions and movements to represent the sleeping little bunnies in the rhyme. Children continued to point at the piano for more Sleeping Bunnies music and were really excited to be the bunnies over and over again.
Randwick/South Sydney Family Day Care coordination staff and two educators took their children on an excursion to Windgap Cottage in Botany. The Windgap Foundation is a not for profit organisation providing services to people with intellectual disabilities. The clients were happy to show the children their goldfish, the scarecrows they were making, their mosaic work as well as the old tyres that they are painting to make garden beds for other Windgap centres. The children had fun playing in the tyres and spontaneously singing “Row, row, row your boat”. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with this special sector in our community.
Pre-Writing skills have been a recent focus at Johnson House Preschool, where educators have been working with The Infants' Home Occupational Therapist, Justine. Pre-writing skills are the fundamental skills children need to develop before they are able to write. A major component of pre-writing skills are the pre-writing shapes - the pencil strokes that most letters, numbers and early drawings are comprised of.
Sand trays are a fantastic way to help children work on line formation, line control and simple shapes. Using some visuals, children formed a variety of straight lines, curvy lines, zig-zags and swirls. Opportunities to master control of lines, curves and shapes are really important for the later learning of how these patterns can then be pieced together to form a letter or number. Keeping the activity relatively ‘error free’ also meant that the focus was on building confidence and skills – the best foundation for writing later on.
The added tactile sensory input from the sand encourages movement and learning in a multi-sensory way. Sensory enhanced tactile learning experiences are essential for brain development because when a sense is engaged, neural pathways are being created to assist with further learning.
Join us next week for more news from The Infants' Home.
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