Story by Centre Director Amy
Opportunities to develop fine motor skills are a consistent element in the Johnson House preschool program.
Providing a range of mediums for the children to practice these skills helps enhance their learning and maintains their interest. Chalk drawing has recently been set up and the children have been busy using this medium to explore and create. Some children, who are refining their skills, enjoy the fact that the chalk can be easily wiped away if they are not entirely content with their original design, and they appreciate how quickly they can recreate their work! This has helped them to experience a feeling of success as they continue to develop their skills.
This space has also helped to promote relationships as small groups of children have been observed to chat with each other whilst drawing, whether this be about their creation or another topic of interest.
It has been lovely to see the children actively involved in these spaces within the program and to observe them to continue to enhance their learning and development in a range of ways.
Story by Educator Demi
In Gorton House toddlers, morning gathering has now become a routine. Recently the children have been really interested in reading books about feelings.
Every day after our Acknowledgment of Country the children put their hands up to vote for the book about feelings that they would like Educators to read with them. While reading the chosen book each day, the children have contributed to discussions about feelings, and they have been asking lots of questions. During these experiences the children have been developing their sense of agency and their understanding of feelings and emotions. The children have been encouraged by Educators to share their past experiences and how they are feeling at that moment.
Songs about feelings, such as ‘Dancing Face’, by Justine Clarke and ‘If You’re Happy and You know it’, have also been loved by the children, and we have changed the lyrics to ‘sad’, ‘tired’, ‘angry’ and lots of other feelings to act out as we sing.
During the day, some of the children have started to identify and label their emotions and to verbally communicate their feelings by saying “I’m feeling…”.
Story by Educator Denise
In celebration of Sydney WorldPride 2023, I invited the children in Robinson House to partake in reading three LGBTQIA+ stories alongside my special guest—a doll with rainbow eyes, dressed in a colourful unicorn costume whose name is ‘Iris’, which is derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘rainbow’.
Iris was adored by the children, and as we read, I used her as a model for using our ears and eyes to follow the stories. These stories aim to foster understanding and a sense of respect and compassion for how love can take many forms. The stories touch upon the subjects of family, gender fluidity and the origin of the rainbow flag, which has become a symbol of hope and inclusivity for the LGBTQIA+ community.
‘Julian Is a Mermaid’, written by Jessica Love, tells the story of a little boy named Julian who loves mermaids and who wants to participate in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. When his grandmother is showering, he uses various materials around their home to create a mermaid costume and he imagines himself as being one. His grandmother supports Julian’s interest by gifting him a pearl necklace and taking him to the parade to participate in it. The story touches upon the subject of gender fluidity in a heart-warming manner and shows how the support of family can give one the confidence to be comfortable in being oneself.
‘Our Subway Baby’, by Peter Mercurio, tells the true story of how he and his partner, Danny, found and eventually adopted baby Kevin and became a loving family. It is a heart-warming story that demonstrates that love is possible even against difficult obstacles. Danny first discovers the baby in a subway station, and he can’t stop thinking about the child and he visits him in hospital before he is placed in foster care. Even though Peter has initial doubts, the couple are eventually able to adopt the little boy, and they name him Kevin after a special family member who is close to them.
‘Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag’, is a picture book written by Rob Sanders. It tells the story of Harvey Milk, whose dream was to advocate for people’s freedom to live and love how they like. In his pursuit, he was elected as the first openly gay government official, and he cooperated with an artist named Gilbert Baker who helped create the Gay Pride Flag, a symbol of hope and inclusivity. Even after his assassination, Harvey’s dream to create an inclusive society lives on in the Rainbow Flag, which has undergone some changes to become the symbol we know today.
After reading these stories, the children were excited to receive a piece of pretend candy from Iris and they took turns to give the beautiful doll a cuddle, allowing them to express their nurturing skills and to practice sharing and negotiating. The children pretended to eat the sweets before ending with a discussion about how love comes in many different forms and how it is important to hold on to hope.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Story by Family Day Care Educator Nicola
At Family Day Care we have been celebrating WorldPride 2023 with lots of colourful resources and we have been looking at rainbows and talking about different family groups.
We created a ‘WALK WITH PRIDE’ mural using the children’s colourful footprints. The children all loved this activity, and they giggled a lot while painting those little tootsies in preparation for creating their footprints for the mural. Tessa, Axel and Nina were great at mixing the different paint colours and helping the younger children during this experience.
The children’s parents also loved this collaborative mural!