Story by Educator Nicky
In Gorton House preschool we always strive to support children’s feelings of connection to community, as the active members that they are, and we seek to do this in many ways. While we regularly make connections within our local community, we recently had the opportunity to explore how we could connect with others on a more global scale.
One of our casual Educators, Xiomara, informed us that she and her family were returning for a holiday to visit their home country Colombia. She also told us that she knew that in some of the more rural parts of her hometown, that there are many families and children who struggle to access some of life’s basic needs. Her close friend, a social worker, works closely with some of these families. Xiomara told us that her wish was to fill some suitcases with adult and children’s clothing that she could take to give to some of these families. Xiomara’s family of four planned to use only one of their allocated suitcases for their own belongings and hoped to fill their remaining luggage with donated clothing. She recalled how we had collected donations at Christmas last year for the Salvation Army, and wondered if we could support her wish. There was no doubt in our minds at all.
We engaged in conversations with children and families and made signs informing every one of our wish to support Xiomara’s quest. As usual, our community, the families in Gorton House, sprang into action. The children were delighted as they helped to sort through and fold the donated clothing before packing it into a suitcase Xiomara had brought. She was so very touched as the children held up clothing that they used to wear and talked about the children Colombia who would now wear these clothes—we felt a connection in that moment! We looked at the globe to see just where on the map Colombia was and found that it was very far away.
The children drew pictures to also pack into the suitcase, with messages of love. The suitcase was bursting, but we managed to get it closed with the help of several children standing and sitting on it!!! This opportunity also touched one of our families who, being from Colombia themselves, mentioned how special this felt and they loved that their child could be part of this. We couldn’t resist sending a teddy too, chosen by the children, hoping that it lands in the arms of a child who loves cuddles.
These are the moments that feel most special in our preschool room—the looking beyond our own experience and recognising that the world is an enormous place, and that connections can be forged even with people who live very far away.
Story by Educator Madhu
The children in Gorton House preschool are showing an interest into the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, written by Michael Rosen. After reading this book, the children started making a mind map, recalling the elements of the story and the order in which they are written in the book.
The children were able to work together to re-create the plot and retell the story. Once all the elements were discussed, the children then used their creativity to either draw or add collage materials to capture the elements of grass, river, snow and the forest that are featured in the book. As they created, some children even remembered the text from the story and would say “It’s beautiful day!” as they drew elements such as the sun.
Such experiences provide the children with the opportunity to strengthen their literacy skills as they recall and retell elements of the story. By working together, the children also learn to listen and respect each other’s ideas, take turns and communicate effectively.
Story by Educator Cathy
This week I introduced the story ‘Room on the Broom’ to the children in Robinson House, reading it with them at our pretend campfire.
Some of the children were familiar with the story and could predict what was going to happen next. ‘Room on the Broom’, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Alex Schaffer, is a wonderful picture book to read with children as it offers them the opportunity to build on their creative and expressive skills as they imagine they are the witch or some of the animals flying on the broom.
The children can also follow the witch’s adventures as she finds the animals and then comes across a dragon. The text in the story is repetitive and rhyming, so there were plenty of opportunities for the children to repeat the words in the story as I read with them. As we were reading the story, the children discussed what might be in a witch’s cauldron. Some of the suggestions were “worms”, “snails”, “grass”, “leaves”, “apples” and “bugs”, which could all be used to make a potion.
The children engaged in a pretend play experience. Pretending to be the witch, they chose a bucket or vessel as their cauldron and then filled it with natural resources that they pretended was their witch’s potion. The children collected sand, mud from the mud kitchen, leaves, grass, small twigs and bark. They had a wonderful time using their imaginations as they stirred their potions like the witch in the story.
Story by Playgroup Coordinator Rebecca
It was wonderful to see so many children and families at Rigby House for our first Redbug Playgroup for term 2. This week we had a visit from police officers from Burwood Police Station. They came to teach us about how we can keep our families safe while out in the community. The children enjoyed the visit and learnt about the the emergency number ‘000’.
This week we have also been trying to come up with some new ideas for painting with our children. At our Pathways Playgroup, Educator Heidi created a dinosaur environment that also included paints and paint brushes. The children were encouraged to paint the dinosaurs and to then wash them in soapy water. We had discussions with the children about what colours they thought dinosaurs might have been, what the children’s favourite colours are and what happens when we mixed two colours together. Having soapy water on hand also led to one child creating a ‘whirlpool’ for the dinosaurs which extended the activity into also cleaning up after ourselves. It is good for us to remember that even though an activity may be messy, there are many varied and amazing learning opportunities in these experiences for our children and ourselves.