Family Day Care Educators Conference
The first annual educator conference for Family Day Care was held at Club Ashfield on Saturday 11th August 2018. The full day event was attended by 60 delegates from across our four coordination hubs (Inner West, Northern Beaches, Randwick and South Sydney and St George and Hurstville). The conference was themed ‘Learning through Play and included a lineup of amazing guest speakers including Helen Millar (Director of an exceeding preschool and teacher of early childhood), Dr Luke Touhill (early childhood educator) and our Educational Leader Tammy. These speakers took the Educators through the stages of play development, how the play environment is the third teacher in early childhood and great ways to utilize open ended and recycled materials to extend children’s learning.
The children were actively involved in a range of gardening experiences. We harvested our sweet potato crop which we planted last year and we were very pleased with the outcome. We are now investigating planting a range of seeds, including vegetables and herbs, as well as some flowers which will be ready for spring. The children have been caring for and watering the seeds regularly, as they are eager to see them grow. Gardening helps to give the children a sense of responsibility and encourages them to further develop their love and appreciation of the natural environment.
As part of our integrated group, the children have been supported by occupational therapists and educators to focus on elements of mindfulness. Part of this group has been learning about what mindfulness is and ways of being mindful including recognising our feelings as well as engaging in yoga and meditation.
The children from Murray House Toddlers’ room were recently involved in a transformational experience of applying themselves freely, confidently and reflectively to classical etudes and waltzes from Tchaikovsky’s and Chopin. This led to a strong association and identification with moving and dancing as ballerinas. Classical music is applicable for all ages, and the various elements of the music highly provoked the children’s inner-being and emotions.
The children’s love and appreciation for the natural landscape are reflected in their ongoing requests to attend incursions to various sites around the organisation. In particular, they have grown a fond attachment with the large tree. Last week the children approached and hugged the tree and even made associations with it, such as commenting that they would love to grow as the tree continues to. The children creatively transferred their imaginary play ideas as they climbed between the wooden limbs of the tree. This included transforming it into a fruit shop and engaging in pretend cashier and customer conversations and transactions.
The Rigby children’s relationships with each other are growing stronger and it is lovely to see their friendships developing, into genuine care and concern for each other. As the children arrive in the mornings they display their delight in seeing their friends by how they greet each other. The children’s growing ability to empathise with their friends, and understand that they may need help are evident in the care and concern they show for each other. You can see in the pictures below friends greeting each other and going for a walk around the playground, helping a friend put their shoe back on and two boys extending their growing ability from caring for each other to taking care of the ‘baby’ together.
The toddler children are always keen to go for a walk around The Infants Home grounds. When they hear that they are going for a walk, the children go and get their hats and hold hands with each other. The children enjoy visiting their siblings in the older programs, and then are excited to explore the main lawn area. Lately, a favourite spot has been going to the big logs in the main lawn. The children are working out how to climb onto them, and then jump off. Their big smiles display their great sense of achievement and enjoyment of this challenging physical activity.
The children have been sharing ways to identify detail in their drawings as they draw pictures of themselves, and identifying how to connect, and make strokes, lines and swirling lines as they draw or add marks to their work. They have also been learning the concept of ‘self-portraits’ as they share stories about their families, friends and the people who they identify as being special to them such as their grandparents and cousins.
The children in Robinson House have been participating in many learning experiences around gardening such as learning about the process of germination and what plants need to grow, planting, watering the garden, labelling plants, making signs to remind everyone to look after the plants, and harvesting and eating our own produce. These experiences encourage sustainability practices. They teach where food comes from, encourage an appreciation and respect for the natural environment, and promote life-long healthy food choices for the children.
Family Day Care
Recently Randwick/South Sydney Family Day Care hosted a play-session in the park. The children collected all sorts of natural materials and then arranged them to form artwork in picture frames made from sticks. The group had lots of fun digging in compost and collecting compost in their buckets to bring back to spread on the garden at the Randwick hub.
At a Northern Beaches Family Day Care play-session, they found a real treasure at a second hand shop–a beautiful typewriter. They then talked about how you use it, and they quickly found out that it doesn’t work when all the keys are pushed at once. However, the best part of the typewriter is the ding at the end of the row!! This has been a great addition to our program as the children have been able to engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts as they discuss the letters on the typewriter.