Story by Educators Gunjan and Sima
The children in Gorton House preschool room continue to enjoy regular cooking experiences and these opportunities are embedded within the program.
Educator Sima recently responded to the children’s interest in making bread (it had become a regular theme within their play) by exploring with them the many types of bread that are made around the world and inviting them to bake with her. Together they read a book called ‘Bread Around the World’ by Cynthia Rothman and discovered that bread varies not only in shape, density and size, but also by how and where it is cooked. Sima was really excited to point out the clay ovens shown in the book, and she explained to the children how in her home country, Iran, bread is often cooked in clay ovens, just like the ones they were seeing in the book. This led to several groups of children, over several days, joining Sima to make Turkish bread which was enjoyed, piping hot, for morning tea. Whilst they didn’t use a clay oven, the whole experience was still satisfying for everyone.
Sima and another educator, Gunjan, also highlighted to the children the Roti they also saw being cooked in the book. The Roti was being cooked on a Tova, which is a flat pan held over the heat, so that the Roti, which is a flat bread, can cook. Gunjan explained to the children that she often makes Roti on the Tova when she is at home, and that this is very common in India where she was born and lived for many years before coming to live in Australia.
Gunjan invited the children to make Roti with her over several days, including on Wednesday 8 March to celebrate Holi. Gunjan explained to the children that Holi is a festival of colours. It is usually celebrated in India in the first month of spring (our autumn) and that people throw colourful powder on each other. During the celebration families also share and eat sweet things, dance to music and enjoy the day with family and friends. Holi is usually a big celebration. Because it is a colourful festival, Gunjan and the children made colourful Roti, using spinach to turn some of it green, beetroot to turn some of it red and leaving some it white. Over two days, Roti was made and eaten, and on Holi day, we all wished everyone “Holi Hai” (happy Holi). After cooking and sharing the Roti, we delighted in throwing coloured powder on one another.
Gunjan felt happy to share this celebration with the children and to teach them about this part of her culture. She feels strongly that sharing parts of our lives, and showing joy in things that are sometimes the same and sometimes different in our cultures, is important, so that we all have a sense of the things that make us special. Everyone’s cultures and traditions are valued.
Story by Senior Occupational Therapist Justine
The children at Johnson House preschool have been practicing their fine and gross motor skills. Brightly coloured bugs and insects were placed on a wall with tape, but to get to these the children had to first move carefully across some equipment before reaching up to get the insects by peeling back the tape.
Often overlooked, gross motor skills heavily influence everyday tasks. For example, a child’s ability to maintain appropriate ‘table top posture’ (upper body support) affects their ability to participate in fine motor activities, such as writing, drawing and cutting, and their ability to sit upright to attend to instruction, which then impacts on their educational learning.
Having the bugs and insects placed on a vertical surface meant that the children were also working on their shoulder, arm and wrist strength and coordination, which are also foundational elements of grasp and writing development.
Story by Educator May
Upon the recommendation of staff in our onsite kitchen, several groups of children from Robinson House went out to check out our Kitchen Garden today. We found capsicums, eggplants, limes and a rock melon growing happily in our vegetable garden. Once again, we tasted the mint from the garden, with some children feigning enjoying the herbs but then spitting it out onto their hands when others weren’t looking.
After visiting the garden, Freya gathered her friends for races on the ramp. We zoomed fast on the track, only stopping to let Alan through with the lunch trolley.
To finish our adventure, we all sat on the grass and played ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ and a few rounds of ‘What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?’.
Story by Playgroup Coordinator Rebecca
What a crazy week weather-wise it has been for our Playgroups! From the heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday to the intense heat on Thursday, we have had a week of extreme weather.
Our Red Bug Playgroup was moved from Ashfield Park to our Rigby House community space this week due to the rain on Monday and it was wonderful to see so many families join us. Tuesday saw us deal with some very heavy rain and again our families made a special effort to join us at our Baby Time Playgroup.
However, it was on Thursday that the heat began to take a toll. This saw us create a ‘swimming pool and beach’ for the children to play in. While we expected the children to enjoy this activity, we were surprised by the myriad of learning opportunities that became apparent as the children played.
We observed children playing together, sharing and cooperating and interacting in a shared activity that progressed from pouring water onto the sand to burying and hiding toys and then finding them again.
This is a great reminder for us that when we think children are ‘just playing’ they are in fact learning and practicing vital skills.