The children have recently demonstrated how competent and confident they are in play experiences that facilitate their fine motor development. This week the children chose to continue to engage in experiences that built on their existing skills. They had the opportunity to use paint rollers to create artworks, and they practiced their cutting skills using scissors. The children are very enthusiastic about cutting with the scissors and they have developed the skill of opening and closing the scissors to make a cut, without support from their educators. The children were very proud of their paper-cutting achievements!
The children in Johnson House preschool have been enjoying opportunities to work together in different areas of the program. The children have shown great problem-solving skills in being able to complete large floor puzzles and learning some new games. These games have helped to encourage social skill development, such as turn-taking and collaboration, as well as helping to refine language and listening skills. Within the program such games also help encourage children to make decisions, which can also support their developing sense of self, competence and confidence. This in turn helps to build children’s skills in negotiating and building relationships with others. Educators have been supporting the children by helping to guide their interactions and promoting their feelings of belonging and confidence within the preschool environment.
During January, the educators in Murray House infants are busy settling new children, learning about their routines, and developing close relationships with new families. The infants are starting to feel secure, safe, and connected with their primary focus-educator in our care environment. It’s lovely to see that most infants have begun to settle, happily waving goodbye to their caregivers during drop off, and then confidently exploring the room, engaging in play and getting to know their new friends. With this younger age group it is crucial to support their growing communication skills by utilising key word signs, many of which we have learned through music and movement!
Last week, Aunty Karen took a group of children for a walk to explore the ground of The Infants’ Home. They found and collected a variety of interesting found materials, such as tree bark, pods, seeds and dried leaves. When they came back from their walk the educators invited the toddlers to experiment with mark-making using the interesting materials they found on their walk. The children carefully investigated the texture of the leaves – “It’s bumpy!” exclaimed one child. They talked about the origins of the materials that they had gathered, and one of the children explained that “It comes from the tree!” One of the children playfully dipped her pointer finger into the yellow paint and she began to create circles on the surface of a tree bark. She laughed with delight, exclaiming “I dot dot with my finger, it got [y]lellow on my bark!” She soon added a bit of red paint to the bark and then soaked her whole hand in a pot of black paint. This experiment quickly turned into an exploration for all of the children, who made dots with their fingers, and created other finger-painted pictures such as “a rainbow”, “mummy and daddy”, and so on.
The children at Robinson House are continually learning about the importance of connections and building relationships with peers and educators. A big part of this learning has been becoming familiar with the daily flow of the day, especially the routines and small group intentional learning activities.
Each day we come together as a community for gathering. We share and pay our respect to the first nation’s people, and each other, as we do an acknowledgement to the land and greet each other. Together we reflect and share thoughts about some importance things to remember to ensure we are happy and feel secure and connected at Robinson House.
Our discussions and thoughts include concepts of fairness, and looking after each other, the natural environment and our learning spaces. The children often share what their families and they have been up to. This may be emailed or printed pictures of special events, holidays or items that are special to them that they bring in from home to share with their peers.
The children and educators also share some news about the happenings of the day and fun learning and projects of interests which are emerging. The educators work closely with the children in small groups to extend children’s interest through planned learning opportunities.
Family Day Care
To support our Inner West Educators, Debbie and Barbara from our coordination unit organised an excursion for educators and children from Inner West services to visit two of our scheme’s Northern Beaches Educators. The goal of the excursion was to explore how other Educators are setting up their environments, to investigate different learning areas and to learn what underpins their theories.\
The Family Day Care spaces on the Northern Beaches use natural, aesthetically pleasing and open-ended materials, adopt a minimalist approach and have well defined spaces. By actually visiting these services, Educators from the Inner West were able to gain a deeper understanding of the how these spaces are set up to support children’s learning, and the excursion gave them the opportunity to develop professionally and to build professional relationships with other Educators within the broader scheme.
The excursion also enabled children’s learning to be extended as they had the opportunity to cross two of Sydney’s iconic bridges, engage with other children and enjoy an outdoor picnic under the shade of the trees at Leanne’s Family Day Care Service.