Welcome everyone to 2012 – the Year of the Dragon. All our education centres jumped into the spirit of Chinese New Year, a 15-day celebration which ended this week.
Just as the Chinese clean their houses to invite good luck for the year ahead, there have been some changes at The Infants’ Home too.
We said goodbye to many children at graduation ceremonies late last year and wished them well at “big school”.
Most of our centres will host an evening when these children return in their uniforms to let us know how they are progressing in primary school. Please contact your centre for details.
We are also busy implementing the Federal Government’s National Quality Framework (NQF) – an important reform which will deliver a higher standard of care for children in the critical areas of education, health and safety.
The NQF will also provide clearer and more comprehensive information for families.
Our staff are working hard to develop new policies to meet the NQF and we look forward to getting feedback from families during this process.
All teaching positions in our long day care centres are just about filled, so we feel we have the staff we need to continue to provide a fun, safe, and stimulating environment in which all the children in our care can learn and grow.
In other news, we began our fundraising year on board HMAS Sydney last Friday.
With the help of our wonderful navy friends and Strathfield Rotary Club, we raised more than $20,000 for our programs for children with additional needs.
This is a great start to what should be a wonderful year.
New children are gradually settling into Gorton House. They are building relationships with their teachers and new peers through small group activities and social play.
We started 2012 by learning about the story behind Chinese New Year celebrations. The children showed curiosity and intense focus during the storytelling.
We are teaching our children to respect the natural environment by getting them to care for our garden bed.
The children are learning to take turns in using the watering cans, as well as maintaining focus and balance while carrying the cans across the yard to the garden.
Karen has brought in some succulent plants from her own garden and planted them with the children’s help.
Gardening has become an enjoyable activity to start our day.
Computer games have been a great hit during indoor play and transition time after lunch.
Children are practicing their social skills while negotiating their way to take turns and share the space in front of the screen.
Please make time for our first parents’ gathering on Friday, 23 March 2012 at 6 pm. We will provide a light supper.
We welcomed new families and their children to Johnson House 0-2 years in January.
The children have settled into their environment and are beginning to feel comfortable in their new spaces.
Everyone has been eager and interested in musical experiences – using the percussion instruments, dancing to our CD of The Wheels On the Bus Go Round the World and singing with the staff.
Exploring sensory experiences such as sand play, painting and play dough has helped the children to settle into our program.
The children have been giggling with delight as they pour, sift, sprinkle and mix the sand.
The staff and children in Johnson House 0-2 years celebrated Chinese New Year during the week 23 January.
Sabrina and Catherine decorated the room with traditional Chinese lucky signs and red lanterns. They also introduced the children to the Chinese shaker drum, music and dance.
The children experienced customs and celebrations from another culture, which could stimulate their sense of being, belonging and becoming.
We would like to extend a warm welcome to all the new children who have started with us from Gorton House, as well as to those children who are new to The Infants’ Home.
As it is the start of a new year, ensuring that children feel safe, secure and supported are the most important aspects of the new National Quality Framework.
Children feel safest and most secure when they have the opportunity to express their feelings, thoughts and ideas in a supportive environment.
This is the essence of being, belonging and becoming.
In the next few months the major focus for Johnson House 2-5 is to provide children with as many opportunities to gain confidence and independence, and to feel they have ownership over their actions and choices.
Celebrating Chinese New Year was a wonderful experience.
Many of the children were able to share their thoughts of seeing and hearing drums and lion dances in their local communities.
Celebrating significant community events in Johnson House is a great way to explore diversity and culture.
Please ensure all your children’s belongings are labeled to avoid loss and mix ups.
We are currently making sun hat pockets. If you want to use them, please label your child’s hat and it can remain in Johnson House.
To avoid distress and conflict we have a long-standing policy that home toys should remain at home or in the car if they are needed to leave home.
Please support us in making this a fair policy, and encourage your child to leave toys at home unless they are a sleep companion.
We would like to welcome all of our new families and children and also welcome back those families are returning for another year.
The start of the year brings not only new families and children but also new educators to the Rigby House family.
Ana moved from Gorton House to become our Director and Nancy moved from Johnson House as a diploma-trained educator.
We also welcome Roshan and Leila as educators. Returning families may already know Roshan and Leila from their work at Rigby House last year as casual staff.
Asima, Rosie, Nancy and Shameem are working closely with the younger children on our babies’ side whilst Sally, Ana, Emily, Roshan and Leila are working with our toddlers.
At this time of year we have many transitions taking place into and out of Rigby. Our priority is to make these transitions as smooth as possible.
In practice this means supporting the older children who were moving to Gorton or Robinson House. We did this by continuing to arrange visits to their new houses and talking to them about their move.
Some of the children who were on our babies’ side last year have moved to our toddler section. This has meant some changes, such as moving from a cot to a stretcher bed and sitting at a table for lunch.
The group has taken to these changes well, although every now and then they return to the baby area to say hello and play with their old friends.
This time of year is also about welcoming new families and children to Rigby House and supporting them as they settle into their new environment.
We are already seeing more of the children feeling comfortable enough to move off our laps or from right next to us to begin exploring their new environment.
We are now looking forward to extending these interests throughout the year.
It has been a very busy start to 2012 in Robinson House.
The last of our school leavers departed at the end of January and all of our new children have started in each of our program areas.
The Cockatoos, Red Dinosaurs and Flying Dinosaurs have all been very productive over the past month. Our teachers have been busy settling in new children and helping them to become acquainted with their environments.
The Cockatoo’s room now has Jessika as the Early Childhood Teacher, as well as Dom and Lesley.
The environment of this room has undergone some changes, such as the new Home Corner room, which used to be the staff office. The children have responded really well.
The Red Dinosaurs’ room has been abuzz with activity over the past few weeks as many of the Rigby and Gorton House children have been moving to our centre.
The friendship groups from the previous houses have continued, and the children have been building strong relationships with Thi My, Vasuki and now Wendy, our new Early Childhood Teacher.
The courtyard has also been revamped, ready for more use.
The Flying Dinosaurs have also been very productive over the past month. New children are getting settled, as are the children who stayed from last year.
Ally, Nicole and Thu Zar are the core staff in this room.
Staff have their primary care groups now. This will allow them to observe and plan for small groups and get to know your children better. They have also started your children’s portfolios.
There will be a program rationale that we will keep next to the daily dairy, near the sign-in books. The daily diary is a snapshot of your child’s day.
The program will go into more depth about what we are trying to achieve in the different learning environments and through various projects.
We are all looking forward to an exciting and busy year.
Please name all your children’s things. Please sign in and out each day. Please be careful when you go out the gate that no one follows you.
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