Story by Educator Alisa
In Johnson House we continued to brainstorm ideas for how we were going to make a bird’s nest using natural materials. The children had been busy collecting natural materials to help follow through with this idea, and discussions were sparked about what shape the nest would have and how we were going to bind the nest-making materials together. Suggestions from the children included “it will be round like a circle” or “a semi-circle”. One of the children said, “Did you know birds use mud to make a nest? They stick the sticks, small branches, twigs and leaves together, and she added, “Do you know what makes mud? You have to mix dirt and water”.
The children saw some pipe cleaners in our basket and thought that these could help bind the materials together, since we didn’t have mud at hand. To make the base of the nest, the children chose long pine cones, bark, small branches and thin sticks.
One afternoon during the week we saw a baby bird in our playground. The children offered it the birds’ nest they had made in the morning to live in, and some fresh water to drink. They were in awe of the small noisy miner bird and its fluffy feathers, and how softly it chirped. The children likened this to how they had learnt how to talk when they were younger.
It was great to see children collaborate with their peers to brainstorm and to share their ideas about what they know about birds and how they make their nests.
Story by Educator Jung
The children’s interest in animals is still ongoing in Murray House infants. This interest has been supported throughout this year using a range of materials and learning experiences. The children have enjoyed reading books about animals, watching puppet stories, and singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm using Auslan (Australian sign language) to represent the animals mentioned in the song.
To extend this learning further, and to guide our children to connect with and develop a positive relationship with the living things in our community, educator Latha organised for a pet cat to visit the children in Murray House. This was achieved with the help of our causal educator Tina, who kindly offered to bring in her friendly pet cat for the children. The children were curious and excited, and displayed confidence while interacting with Tina’s cat.
There are many articles talking about the importance of including animals as a resource in the early childhood setting. This experience enabled the children to see, feel and observe a real cat closely, and to learn to show respect, to approach animals gently and to develop a positive relationship with them.
Story by Educator Denise
Bittangabee Tribe: Learning About Aboriginal Symbols
Educator Mandy has been reading the book Bittangabee Tribe: An Aboriginal story from Coastal New South Wales, written by Beryl Cruse, to the children in Murray House toddlers. The story narrates the lifestyle of the Bittangabee Tribe and their strong connections, knowledge and values with their families and the natural environment.
Mandy and the children discussed aspects of the Bittangabee Tribe’s lifestyle as shown through the illustrated symbols and corresponding photos. The children were interested in the formation of the symbols and their meanings. Mandy extended this interest by creating a learning space with Aboriginal symbols from the storybook and some drawing resources. Mandy and the children explored the symbols more closely and discussed and noted the shapes that created them. The children worked together to make pencil drawings based on these symbols and they created their own stories. This experience further developed their curiosity, creativity and imagination and promoted their respect for other cultures.
Story by Centre Director Isa
To support Rigby House’s children’s interest in dinosaurs, the educators set up dinosaurs in the sand pit, along with branches, leaves, sticks and lengths of fabric. As the children played, these natural, open-ended materials became ‘food’ for the dinosaurs to eat, as well as trees to shelter under, mountains to climb and roads to walk along.
Then the children decided that the dinosaurs needed a place to live, and a lovely collaborative play scenario ensued. They listened to each other as they shared their ideas for building a shelter for the dinosaurs. They worked together to find ways to make the branches stand to create a shelter that did not fall, and then they created a roof to protect the dinosaurs from the sun, wind and rain.
The use of open-ended materials provided the children with opportunities to be designers, builders, problem-solvers and collaborators as they worked together to build a shelter for the dinosaurs.
Story by Marie-Aimee
The children in Robinson House are always very enthusiastic about singing, dancing and playing percussion instruments. Recently, in the outdoor environment, the children built on their interest in music experiences by dancing with scarves, singing and moving with our egg shaker instruments and playing some singing games together.
The scarves provided the children with an opportunity to use a prop as they moved, and several of the children enjoyed dancing around the large tree and playing a game of statues with the scarves. The children also enjoyed playing a new game called Kangaroo, Skippy Roo, a musical circle game that helps children to develop their voice recognition skills.
As the children engaged in the music experiences, they were continuing to develop their understanding of musical concepts such as loud and soft sounds, tempo, rhythm and beat. The children are also continuing to develop their language skills as they sing lyrics to familiar songs and learn new vocabulary in new songs. Through the dancing and movement games they also continued to exercise and develop the large muscles in their legs.