The children in Johnson House are settling in for the year, and we have been welcoming some new children who have transitioned from our toddler program, as well as welcoming back some of our existing children into the program. During each morning in Johnson House we have ‘check in’ groups, in which the children have the opportunity to participate in small groups where they introduce themselves, talk about their feelings, engage in mindfulness and then discuss the plan for the day. These groups help to instil a sense of belonging for the children, particularly at this time of year when new children are joining us.
Occupational therapist Lisa is a wonderful member of The Infants Home’s allied health team, and she works closely with the children in Murray House infants as part of our integrated team to support our children’s daily skills and physical development. This week Lisa brought a set of ‘Fascination Plates’ for our children to play with and to use to practice their motor skills. The Fascination Plates are soft pliable mats that are filled with different coloured liquids which the children can walk on or press with their hands, and what the colours change and mix. At first the children were curious about these new additions to their playground, and soon they were having great fun jumping and walking on the plates and touching them with their hands, and discovering the beautiful mix of colours they were creating as they interacted with the plates. The movement of the bubbles and the different colours inside the plates stimulated the sensory play experience as the children practiced their motor skills. We are very grateful to have Lisa coming to our program, and we thank her for working collaboratively with us to support our children’s learning and development.
A big welcome to our new children and their families to Murray House toddlers! As many of our children are new, building positive, trusting relationships with children, assisting them to develop relationships with their peers, and assisting them to develop a sense of belonging to our Murray House community continue to dominate our curriculum.
These pivotal and foundational components of our work with children are being fostered through warm, caring, and responsive interactions, as well as through quality, respectful and consistent care routines such as nappy changing, meal times, and sleep/rest times.
To facilitate the development of relationships we are continuing to revisit social games, which were introduced last week, as well as learning new games. This week we’ve introduced a team building game with a parachute. This game allows children to participate in small group, and to develop connectedness with others while they explore the concepts of ‘up/down’, ‘fast/slow’ while also developing their gross motor skills.
With consistent, warm and respectful interactions and care, it’s great to see many of our new children in Murray House toddlers starting to form secure and reciprocal relationships with their focus educator, with other familiar educators, and with their peers. With educators’ support they’re starting to learn to follow the routine of the day and to follow the room’s safety guidelines, such as sitting down when eating or scraping their bowl and cup after a meal. They’re settling well into Murray House toddlers’ room and are continuing to develop the confidence to explore their social and physical environments.
We’re continuing to facilitate many small group experiences to foster relationship development for children, such as sharing stories, songs, and games. At the moment their favourite game is shaking, lifting, and moving in circle with the parachute, as well as hiding under it while we’re singing ‘Where, oh where are the little children?’ They also enjoy playing ‘sleeping bunnies’ and ‘running’ to the educators. The running game is intentionally facilitated and inspired by the Circle of Security concept. It supports children to venture out to explore their environments then to come back to the educator as a secure base. It’s not only enhances their gross motor development but also assists them to feel safe, secure, confident and supported.
For the children who are moving to Robinson House, we’re also continuing to support our older children to familiarise themselves with Robinson House and the educators by taking them to visit regularly. The last group will transition from Murray House to Robinson House in the first week of February.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
The children at Angie’s Family Day Care in the St George/Sutherland Shire have been celebrating Chinese New Year. The children have been learning how to write the alphabet in Chinese this week, as well as learning about social graces and greeting each other with “Ni Hao” on arrival into care.
To expand on this experience the children cooked Chinese spring rolls, curry puffs and money bags. Angie said she wanted to allow the children to explore some of the many different tastes and textures of Chinese foods. The children really enjoyed the experience, and one of the children said “This money bag is expensive, it’s a hundred bucks!”, as she lifted up her money bag.
By encouraging children and families to participate in cultural activities and programs, educators are showing their respect for diversity as well as helping to strengthen children’s self-identity and promoting inclusive practice.