Story by Educator Nicky
Having access to such a large expanse of natural grounds in Gorton House preschool and beyond into the wider The Infants’ Home grounds, means the children in Gorton House preschool have ongoing, first hand opportunities to observe a diverse array of mini beasts and other creatures in their natural habitats. These creatures have driven much interest and learning for our children over the past weeks, with children noticing the varying physical attributes of a range of bugs, and discussing and researching the lifecycles of cicadas, spiders, dragonflies, butterflies and a range of other creatures.
On a trip to the Goose Paddock recently a huge Golden Orb Weaver Spider was noticed and observed by the children for some time. The following day, when it rained quite heavily, the children wondered whether the spider would still be there, so we donned gumboots, raincoats and umbrellas to go and see for ourselves if the spider would hide from the rain or brave the weather conditions. They were amazed to find the spider right where we had last seen it, fully exposed to the elements and seemingly content. This prompted a child to lead her peers in search of other spiders we knew had homes along a wooden fence. She made and shared her discovery that although the Golden Orb Weaver didn’t mind the rain, many others had left their webs and seemed to have hidden away, and she shared that the stick spider also seemed to not mind the rain!
We have learnt about and watched many different types of spiders, learning their names, and gaining a shared understanding that some spiders are harmless while others are venomous. We were lucky to witness first hand a lady bug landing on a web and the spider then creeping out of its leaf cautiously towards it. We watched in awe as the ladybug jiggled and jiggled and freed itself just in time, causing the spider to retreat back into its leaf.
We have supported the children’s learning using a range of literature and reference books that have given them more detailed and factual information about many of these creatures. Children have led the inquiry with their questions, leading to emergent and meaningful learning. While the children learned about spiders and cicadas shedding their skin, a child who had been interested in dragonflies asked, “Do dragonflies have exoskeletons?” triggering a whole newline of enquiry. The children have also been involved in documenting, reflecting on, and sharing their learning through a large book that they actively contribute to and revisit frequently so they can share their experiences with their peers.
Story by Centre Director Amy
The children in Johnson House have been enjoying gardening, and we have been grateful for the many families who have recently donated the seeds they have obtained through the recent Woolworths Discovery Garden promotion. Educator Shireen has been working with the children to plant the many seeds which have been collected. The children have been learning about what they need to do to help the seeds grow into plants, as well as the responsibility required to ensure the plants remain healthy. The children have enjoyed following the steps required to plant the seeds and tend to them daily. As some of the seeds which were planted last week have started to grow, the Educators have been talking with the children about transplanting them into the larger garden soon so they can continue to grow bigger.
The children have developed their knowledge of the gardening process, learned about the variety of plants we are growing, and have work towards a common goal. This experience has also integrated mathematical concepts, such as counting seeds, measuring soil depth and counting leaves, with scientific concepts such how plants require sunlight and water for growth. It will be great to see the plants continue to grow within the Johnson House garden.
Story by Educator Jung
The children in Murray House toddlers have been showing a great interest in feeding and caring for the teddies in the room. To extend this learning, Educators created a new kitchen corner with lots of new resources. The children seemed fascinated with this new space. They baked imaginary cakes for their friends to share, and made some pizzas for their teddies and fed them. The children even brewed coffees for the Educators!
This new learning space provided lots of learning opportunities for the children in Murray House. As the children dramatised their familiar home experiences, they were developing important learning dispositions such as creativity, imagination, and curiosity. Children’s language was enriched through this play as they engaged in conversations about their roles and actions.
Story by Centre Director Isa
The children at Rigby House love to garden, and lately they have been enjoying planting seeds and then transferring the little seedlings to our vegetable garden.
It is so lovely to see them check on their seeds, and to see their excitement as they discover the first shoots appear.
Caring for our garden supports the children to learn about basic science and mathematical concepts, as they count the seeds and plants and measure and compare how tall the plants are. The children are also exploring scientific concepts as they observe seeds germinating and plants growing, and develop an understanding that plants require sunlight and water for growth.
In addition to these wonderful benefits from gardening, the process teaches children to be patient as they wait for the seeds to germinate and the plants to grow. They are also developing their sense of responsibility as they learn to take care of the seeds and plants to keep them healthy.
Story by Centre Director Faye-Maree
The children in Robinson House have been very busy learning about their emotions and emotional self-regulation. They have been provided with a range of experiences to help navigate this in a positive, age appropriate way, and have been busy making worry dolls and exploring with playdough.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Story by Educator Support Officer Maureen
Harmony Day at Paula’s Family Day Care
It was a hub of activity last week at Paula’s Family Day Care as the children celebrated Harmony Day.
The children took part in a discussion about their own uniqueness, before they were encouraged to paint a self-portrait, using earthy colours. As they painted, the discussions continued. “Look at mine”, one of the children said, “I have black curly hair and a smiley face”. These types of experiences help to promote in children a strong sense of who they are and an awareness of their connectedness to others.