- September 21, 2018
Welcome to The Infants Home's weekly news roundup.
We have been making the most of the sunshine at Johnson House and a small group of children have been working hard on The Mindfulness Garden they are creating. We have spent the last few weeks drawing and planning our garden, and this week the children were able to put some of their plans into action.
Although it’s the very early stages, one of the first jobs was to remove some of the existing plants from the garden bed where the Mindfulness Garden is to be created. The children set to work – at first the plants wouldn’t budge… but soon… success! The children were very patient and considerate when removing the plants, as these are going to be relocated to some of the other Houses across the site. It was a great opportunity to talk about a plant’s root system and what its function is.
The children also worked hard to remove some of the dirt from a very large pot. We’re going to be putting the pot into the garden bed and it is incredibly heavy, so the dirt needed to be taken out first. This pot is going to form the basis of a very special part of the garden – we’re keeping this under wraps for now, but stay tuned! We also set to work on painting some of the tyres that we’re “upcycling” into garden beds. Lastly, the children helped to construct a raised garden bed which is also going to make up part of the garden.
Supporting children to contribute helps them to feel competent and responsible. Independence contributes to the development of self-esteem, identity and wellbeing. Doing something for yourself produces a powerful sense of achievement and success. When children have opportunities to make choices, to attempt tasks for themselves, and to take on increasing responsibilities, their sense of themselves as competent members of society grows. We look forward to keeping you up to date on how the Mindfulness Garden is progressing!
Music and singing
To follow the children's interest in singing and playing musical instruments, the educators in Johnson House Toddlers planned a tapping stick singing experience.
This time we focused on children's understanding about spaces (eg up-down, left-right, back-forth) through singing the song ‘Tap Your Sticks’.
The children also showed great interest in singing ‘Rain, Rain Go Away’. We used the children's names to sing the song to make the music activity more inclusive. The children felt recognised, and that their contributions were acknowledged, through this experience.
This music session supported the children's positive self-esteem and sense of belonging.
The children in Murray House are naturally curious and continually engaged in exploration and play. They are intrigued by cause and effect and the delight of being surprised. Cause and effect simply refers to the relationship between an action and its outcome.
To stimulate the children’s curiosity about cause and effect, Educator Dalia provided them with a designer drainage system set up with various bottles and funnels on a vertical board, so that the children could explore the process of how water drained through them. The children were mesmerised when they saw the water moving down through the funnel, making its way diagonally into the bottles and down the tubes. The children’s enthusiasm was great and it inspired them to watch the operation of the water works in awe, and there were echoes of children giggling and calling out “it’s coming”, “it’s moving fast, it’s down” as they engaged in this experience. It was amazing to watch the children using different objects to pour their water. Quick-thinking caused some children to add other funnels, containers and other materials to the board for further exploration. Other children lay down horizontally under the dripping water with their mouths open to catch the dripping water. This caused much laughter amongst the group! The children communicated with each other about what they thought would happen when the water was poured in. By pointing to the different drainages, we engaged in conversations and questions about what the children thought. Comments we heard from some of the children included, “coming in this one”, (funnel) “that one”, (bottle) “here” (pointing to the ground). It was fulfilling watching the way the children could adapt with what they had learnt through play, as they had meaningful conversations and experimented together.
The children in Murray House toddlers were missing Uncle Terry who was away sick, so we went to look for a dreamtime story to read, and the children chose ‘The Kangaroo and the Porpoise’. “Sasa!” one of the children yelled out, which is a word that Uncle Terry uses during dancing to prompt children to raise the pace of their movements. The dreamtime story was told by Agnes Lippo and the illustrations were drawn by the children at Belyuen school in the Northern Territory. We learned about a country called Bulgul, where a kangaroo and a porpoise used to live and went hunting for bush tucker. They each had a baby and took turns to look after each other’s baby whilst one went hunting. The story evolved into an argument between the two animals, where the kangaroo hit the porpoise with a nulla nulla (an Aboriginal hunting stick). “Ouch! That’s not fair”, exclaimed one of the children. “Yeah, not fair to hit! It hurts” added the other. We learned that the porpoise had a hole in her head from being hit by kangaroo and then she hit the kangaroo back, causing the kangaroo to break both of her arms. Thus, the kangaroos have short arms as we see them today. After that, the children were invited to re-tell the story through drawing. Some of them were fixated on the ‘hole’ on the porpoise’s head. “It sprayed water like this. Whoosh!” explained one of the children.
At Robinson House we have been focussing on sustainability, and we’ve been working on a range of ways to encourage families and children to contribute to the curriculum, for example, inviting families to bring in recycled materials that we can use for creative arts and construction. To support this innovative project the educators have set up two recycling stations, one in the art studio and the other near the door in the heart. We’re setting up the recycling stations essentially to encourage the children’s creativity and broaden their understanding of how we look after the environment and re-use items.
The children and educators have begun working on making musical instruments using the donated materials from some of our families. We have been using empty bottles and paper towel tubes, masking tape and small pebbles which go inside the bottles and decorating them with coloured paper, markers and oil pastels. Over the next few weeks we’ll continue with this project and place the instruments in the music/movement space. This has been one great example of parent participation and collaboration in our program at Robinson House.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide Inner West Hub
During play group this week the children had the opportunity to plant their own mung bean seeds on cotton wool in small cups. We discussed what plants might need to grow, and many of the children shared their current knowledge of water and sunlight. To continue investigating plants we transferred the learning into the art area, where the children engaged in real life painting of different plants.
We also used dirt as a medium for sensory/small world play, where bugs and insects were added for investigation.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide Randwick Hub
Recently during play group we went for a walk to the adjacent environmental park to see the different wattle trees growing there. We observed that there are different shapes of blossom. The children were very excited to discover honey bees collecting nectar and, on looking closely, we saw the pollen sacks on the bees’ hind legs.
Back at the centre we made wattle creations by manipulating our yellow playdough.
Playing and learning in the mud kitchen
Exploring all the possibilities of mud, by playing with the mud kitchen at my Educator’s home.
It’s one of my favorite activities and as I’m playing I’m learning to use my imagination by exploring and experimentation. I’m learning mathematical concepts as I measure pour fill and empty I’m using scientific investigation as materials are combined mixed transferred and changed. I’m developing my language through descriptive words, scientific questioning and exploration. And most of all I’m having fun!
What a delightful week at playgroup! We welcomed spring by making sunflowers and planting seeds using cotton wool and plastic cups. This is an inexpensive and easy activity that helps to encourage scientific learning and children love to see their seeds grow. Our grandparents had a blast testing their skills with the Hoola Hoops!
At Wangal Playgroup we had two special visitors. Nisha, the community hub worker from Metro Assist come to visit to discuss the service they provide to families with children from birth to 18 years of age from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Their focus is to support families to keep their children healthy and safe. Further information can be found on their website www.metroassist.org.au. Stephanie from Family Planning NSW also came to discuss ‘health literacy’. This workshop was to help parents and carers to learn about health rights and how to find accurate health information.
Are you, or is someone you know looking for childcare? The Infants' Home currently has vacancies across all age groups and is enrolling now. Call today on (02) 9799 4844 to find out more, or see here.
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