Story by Educator Demi
After a recent Gorton House toddler room meeting, our team of educators had a look at our physical environment, and during that process we considered the potential learning opportunities for our children.
We have recently made some great changes to our physical environment. We have re-allocated each area, making the spaces a better fit our children’s current interests. One of the big changes for our outdoor area has been expanding the art and home corners as they are the two main interests for children that we have observed in the past few weeks.
Recently, when children were playing in the bushes, some leaves and branches got in their way, and they were trying to push them out of their way but were finding this hard to do. Emm… Maybe it was time to trim them as, after all the rain, the bushes did grow a lot! As I was cutting the branches, a few of the children came and asked me “What are you doing?”, and I replied, “I’m trimming the tree”. Some of the branches are about to fall onto the floor and look, they are turning yellow, which means they are getting dry. We need to cut them off and create space for the branches to grow”. Some children tried to help me with their hands, pulling the leaves off. I reminded them, “Children, remember we need to look after ourselves before taking care of our environment. I put my gloves on to protect myself from getting hurt. But you could you help me group all the leaves and branches together, and make sure no one takes any of them away”.
After cutting the branches it was time to put them into the bin. As Russell wheeled the bin into the yard the children gathered and offered help. Our children and educators cooperated well—some children were grouping all the leaves together; some were bending them in half, while others were passing them to an educator to put into the bin. While doing this we had a discussion about the different kinds of bins and what are they for, especially the green bin. “The green bin is for flowers, grass, sticks and dried leaves”, the children said as they pointed to the photo on the front of the bin.
We also left out some leaves and branches for the children to explore and play with, which they had fun with.
Story by Educator Yoshi
In Murray House infants, our children have been actively engaging in daily mark-making in the sandpit since last week. I placed a shallow layer of sand on a big container and demonstrated making marks such as lines and circles in the sand using my fingers. We looked at the different shapes and lines to further develop our shape recognition.
This experience drew the children’s interest, and they started making marks using their fingers and palms. Some of the children also explored this experience using mini vehicles on the sand, and they acknowledged the different marks they made. They all showed great concentration and confidently made marks with their bare hands and toy cars.
By allowing children to explore different mediums of mark-making, they can engage in sensory play and discover new exciting materials. This helps to stimulate and enhance their thinking skills, creativity and imagination.
Story by Playgroup Coordinator Rebecca
This week at playgroup we have been focussing on our fine motor skills. We did this using sensory tubs.
A sensory tub is a large container that is filled with materials and objects that will stimulate a child’s senses. The tubs can be filled with a variety of materials, such as water, sand, shredded paper—almost anything you can think of. Sensory tubs are easy to make and can provide a variety of learning experiences for children.
This week we had coloured chickpeas, with spoons and funnels made from the tops of water bottles in one sensory tub, and pom poms with tongs and an egg carton in the other. The children were able to explore colours, textures and their fine motor skills using items in the tubs. Some of the children were happy to run their hands through the tubs’ contents, feeling the texture of the objects. Some listened to the sounds the chickpeas made as they fell through their finger, and others used their fine motor skills to pick up the pom poms with the tongs. Some children even made patterns with the pom poms in the egg carton.
Sensory tubs provide children of all ages and stages of development with opportunities to explore and learn through play.