Story by Educator Kunhee
Recently the children in Johnson House preschool room have experienced the world of dinosaur palaeontology. To begin to understand fossils, we started off with a brief video explaining how dinosaurs became extinct and how their bones transformed into fossils buried beneath the earth’s surface. One child proudly displayed her understanding, saying, “Dinosaurs died and became into fossils underground!”
With this fundamental knowledge in place, we jumped into the hands-on experience of excavating dinosaur fossils, playing as little palaeontologists. We commenced by unearthing small dinosaur fossils stuck in ice cubes, and maybe it was a bit easier for preschoolers like us, because we got to the fossils so quickly! As we honed our skills, we carefully excavated the larger dinosaur fossils in huge ice blocks. These took a way longer time to excavate.
Throughout this captivating experiment, the children not only learned about palaeontology and dinosaur fossil excavation, but they also cultivated their fine motor skills, patience, and sensory exploration. This hands-on experience also heightened their scientific awareness.
Story by Educator Ghaitri
Over the past few weeks, the children in Murray House infants have been showing an increasing interested in balls. Throwing, catching and kicking are just some of the ways we explore how balls work.
We used a range of different sized and textured balls for the children to explore. The children enjoyed exploring the sensory experience of rushing their hands through all the balls. They also enjoyed sitting on the balls, bouncing them, and throwing them to one another. It was so exciting to see a whole range of different balls in one space. The children were immersing themselves in the experience and developing some fundamental movement skills such as kicking and throwing, as well as building on their balance and hand-eye coordination skills.
Story by Playgroup Coordinator Rebecca
Educators, parents and carers often plan activities for children with an expectation of how these activities will run or turn out. When a child does not participate in an activity in the way that is expected we should not be discouraged—in a way we should be excited because the child has seen a different way to learn. As long as the child is no danger of injuring themselves or others, we need to let our children learn and discover in their own ways.
From our playgroups this week we would like to share some of the things that children can learn when things don’t go as planned. One of our activities was making ornaments using air drying clay. In this activity we expected the children to roll and squash the dough into any shape they liked and to then paint it and add glitter. Most of the children did this and were happy to have created their ornament. One child, however, took the opportunity to continuously move the clay between his hands and fingers, sometimes adding paint and glitter and then squashing it all together. This child did this many times before they were ready to make their ornament. What did this child learn? They learnt that clay can be sculpted into many different shapes, and that by pushing and pulling he could create anything his imagination desired. He learnt about mixing colours and how much glitter he could put on his creation before it would not stick anymore. He learnt that he was proud of what he could make. These were learning outcomes that we did not expect to come from this activity.
Another activity we had this week was a sensory one, consisting of a tub full of ping pong balls and items for the children to search for in amongst the balls. But nope, even before we got the items to search for into the tub, the children had tipped the balls out all over the ground. What did the children learn from this? They learnt about working together as a team to put the balls back into the tub and about how far the balls could roll, they learnt about the texture of the balls on their bodies as they sat in the tub and also about how much ping pong balls bounce!
Both children and adults can learn so much from unscripted play and exploration. At playgroup these are some of the moments we enjoy the most.