Story by Educator Nicky
Cooking on the campfire continues to be a significant and regular part of the program in Gorton House preschool, and is always eagerly requested and planned for by and with the children. We have used this part of the program as another opportunity to discuss and explore healthy foods, which our bodies require to grow, as well as foods that, even though we may enjoy them, can be less healthy for us.
During these discussions we have talked about the vitamins and minerals found in different foods, and which foods these can be found in. For example, beans, eggs and meat contain protein which helps build our muscles, while green leafy vegetables contain iron which helps our blood to move oxygen around our bodies, and vegetables and grains contain fibre which helps you have softer poos!!! Carbohydrates found in some foods give us energy to play, run and climb.
We also discussed the high levels of less-healthy ingredients, like preservatives and other additives, including high levels of sugar that are in many processed foods. Recently, our children have requested two favourite items that we have cooked on the campfire in the past—marshmallow and sausages. There were discussions among the Educator team about offering these foods to children, given their high sugar, preservative and other additive content. Educators have been discussing these concerns with children and coming up with solutions for healthier, just as enjoyable options.
In the coming weeks we will be making our own sausages using mince and grated veges so that we can still have our much-loved and long awaited sausage sizzle. We will also be baking bread from scratch and toasting other loved items over the fire, such as steamed carrots, mushrooms and a variety of fruits.
In the past we have often grilled various fruits over the fire, and the children also enjoyed toasting various veges on sticks almost as much as they do those marshmallows! We have barbecued rice balls to use up left over rice, and to role model using left over items and reducing food waste. This week we gathered in the kitchen to make batter for banana pancakes, which we cooked on the campfire, and we chopped and then toasted carrots and soy mushrooms.
We hope these experiences and conversations provide children with information around health, food and their bodies’ nutrition requirements, as well as giving them a sense of empowerment over the choices and decisions they make around these. We will be involving families in some of these critical reflections and discussions in the coming weeks to seek their ideas and perspectives. And we are really looking forward to the many ‘cooking over the campfire’ opportunities that we will continue to share over the coming months.
Story by Centre Director Amy
Gardening has been a consistent interest for the children in Johnson House and recently the children were excited to see the lemons turning yellow on our small lemon tree in our playground. We have all been waiting for this moment and the children have shown great patience in waiting to picking them until they are ripe enough. There was no better way to utilise our fresh lemons than by making lemonade. We spoke about adding some other important ingredients to ensure the lemonade wasn’t too bitter. The children helped to pick mint from our garden and they also added a touch of honey. They were keen to help juice the lemons and they took turns to smell the lemons, commenting on their strong fragrance. Once all the ingredients were added the children enjoyed having a taste and they showed a sense of achievement with their homemade lemonade.
This was a great opportunity for the children to have a hands-on learning experience which also promoted great discussions about how different foods are made and where food comes from. They were able to work together, share and take on roles and responsibilities during the process, and they used the natural environment to help enhance their learning and understanding.
Story by Centre Director Faye-Maree
The children have been having lots of fun in Robinson House over the last couple of weeks. They have been exploring during nature week, taking walks in the goose paddock to see what they can spot from the nature list. The children have also been looking at old tree trunks, and they learned that the ‘rings’ in tree trunks give us information about how old a tree is.
We have also been working on the winter crop in our garden, and we recently planted broccoli, broad beans and carrots. We are waiting in anticipation to see when the plants will produce vegetables.
The children in the front room have been very curious about the rainbow lorikeets that they often see whilst enjoying outdoor play, which has led to lots of fun experiences around this topic such as making bird feeders and binoculars for bird spotting, and knitting rainbow lorikeets.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Planning and provocations in the North Shore Hub
Story by Educator Support Officer Alix
Over the past couple of weeks our team of Educators on the North Shore have been sharing the different ways they plan and set up provocations for children’ learning. Each Family Day Care service has unique ideas that consider children’s current learning motivations and embed learning across the different learning areas. They consider the resources they have available and how they can set these up to be aesthetically pleasing and to provoke children’s curiosity, sense of wonder and motivation to explore their ideas through play.
Children at Cockatoo Care in West Pymble have been exploring rainbows and what happens when you mix colours, using shaving foam and food dye. They also set up an inviting sensory tray, incorporating a dried bean mix and a selection of different cultural figures for open-ended and inclusive exploration. Amna’s Family Day Care in Willoughby created a provocation table with the intention of embedding numeracy learning by combining tactile number-based resources with literacy and early writing skills. Rita’s Family Day Care in Lane Cove also used literacy-focussed and hands-on resources to promote children’s numeracy learning and early subtraction skills with the text Five Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Rose’s Family Day Care in Willoughby set up four provocation nesting baskets, with differently themed materials in each. This was an open-ended experience to observe how the children would respond to the resources as a group and also as individuals, and to see if it would spark further ideas or interests for the children to pursue.
Celebrating Thai New Year
By Educator Support Officer Maureen
Last week the children at Dew Fagan’s Family Day Care service in the Randwick Hub celebrated Thai New Year, which is also called ‘Songkran Festival’ (water festival in Thailand). Dew decorated her service’s entrance with Thai flags to welcome the children and their families. The children dressed up in traditional Thai costumes and learned about the Thai culture. Dew used this as an opportunity to teach the children about respecting other cultures.