Story by Centre Director Amy
It’s been an exciting and fun-filled week in Johnson House. Not being able to come together for an end of year party this year, we have had to have fun in other ways, so this week we declared it ‘Party week’! Face painting, dress ups, cooking experiences and dancing are just some of the fun experiences we have shared.
We acknowledged the children who are leaving us as they head off to school next year, and shared some nice memories of their time here with us. While it has been an eventful year, we have still had many opportunities to learn, grow and develop and, most of all, have fun in the Johnson House program.
We wish all of the children heading off to school the very best for their new adventures, and we look forward to welcoming new and existing families back to the program in 2021.
Story by Centre Director Vin
In Murray House toddlers the hot weather over the past week has inspired us to engage in water play and to rejuvenate our mud pit. Once the sprinkler was put on the children could be heard squealing with delight. Some stuck their tongues out to taste the cooling effect of water on their faces and bodies, and they reached their arms upwards to get more water on their skin.
As the mud became softer and squishier, more enthusiasm was observed as the children used their feet and hands to squelch the mud. “Muddy puddle!” “Splash! More water, please” they chanted. One child started to jump into the puddle, which resulted in a big splash of mud onto those around them. Some children got the mud on their faces and they giggled as they jumped some more! Another child was observed experimenting by jumping from a greater height, and she realised that the higher she jumped, the bigger the splash she created!
Playing with mud has so many benefits for children. It provides valuable opportunities for them to express their creativity and to use their senses to explore. Mud play also allows children to practice eye/hand coordination and to develop spatial awareness as they try to be mindful of those around them. They can also share delight through social interaction in the mud play space. On a hot day mud play is also soothing and relaxing!
A special guest visits Murray House
Story by Centre Director Vin
This week we had a special guest visit Murray House! Michael, one of our children’s fathers, brought along his guitar to spread some end of year cheer amongst the children in Murray House. We sang some popular children’s songs such as If you’re Happy and You Know it, Baby Shark, and Christmas songs such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We also sang our gathering song, We are one, which we started to learn just a few weeks ago.
The children had an amazing time dancing, and after we all finished dancing, we enjoyed fruit skewer treats that educator Deepa had made with the children in the morning. A great afternoon was had by all!
Story by Centre Director Isa
The children at Rigby House are very aware that it is the Christmas season, and every day they tell us stories about the Christmas trees they have at home, or the decorations they have seen in shopping centres. Santa has even been spotted by some of the children!
Some of the children have been baking at home with their families to celebrate this special time, so the educators at Rigby House provided a cooking experience in which the the children could continue to explore the customs of our community during the Christmas period.
This experience gave the children a wonderful opportunity to collaborate, work on a shared goal and, of course, to enjoy their achievements together. The children worked with educators to read the recipe and to measure ingredient quantities. Then they poured, stirred, mixed and kneaded the biscuit dough, used the tricky biscuit cutters to shape the biscuits, and then waited for the biscuits to cook.
We enjoyed the biscuits with our usual afternoon tea, and the children all agreed that their Christmas biscuits were delicious!
Story by Educator Miriam
The children in Robinson House have been loving using their bodies to navigate self-created obstacle courses in our outdoor learning environment. Following the children’s interest in martial arts, we have recently added some punching bags to the obstacle course, which we have made out of balls in nets! After observing that many of the children were using their bodies quite statically with the punching bags, educators encouraged the children to stand with their feet hip-width apart, and to swing their whole torso in an integrated movement. When the children felt how moving their bodies in this way afforded them extra strength, they looked very pleased and proud!
The ability to mobilise the whole body in a dynamic manner is a skill that can be used across a whole range of domains, including throwing balls, dancing, and other kinds of movement. Knowing how to use their bodies effectively and powerfully is also great for children’s self-esteem. It was wonderful to see the children’s pride in their strength and new skills!