Story by Educator Nicky
In the lead up to Easter, some of the children in Gorton House preschool instigated a conversation about Easter, and they eagerly shared ideas around how they thought we should celebrate Easter within the preschool room. Their key suggestions were: “We should make lots of Easter eggs out of paper and hide them so other kids can find them and we can even hide eggs in the carpark for parents, the parents then have to search for the eggs when they come to pick up their kids, but we’ll have to make signs and write on them so that parents know they have to search for eggs.”
The children were bouncing with joy and enthusiasm as they made these plans and that very afternoon we followed the children’s lead, supplying the paper and drawing materials needed as children drew on their own current knowledge on Easter egg drawing and decorating, and then carefully cutting the eggs out. There was a very creative and collective team spirit as the children worked together on shared goals and gathered the completed eggs in baskets – and they watched with satisfaction as the baskets were soon overflowing with paper eggs.
Over the following weeks the children continued to designs eggs, and we also explored making 3-D eggs using papier-mâché. We thoughtfully upcycled, using only recycled and/or biodegradable products (so we weren’t adding to unnecessary plastics/landfill in any way). The children also began discussing the need for more baskets to carry the eggs, which we made by decorating old food containers and boxes and attaching handles to them.
Finally, on each day of the week preceding Easter, the children engaged in their own, long-awaited for, Easter egg hunts, taking turns to hide the eggs for others to find, and then involving their families in hunting for eggs on their arrival in the afternoons (albeit by the big tree rather than in the car park, as we considered potential safety risks). The children made the signs needed to alert families to the egg hunts and these were hung up when needed.
Just this week we celebrated orthodox Easter. Many of our preschool children celebrated Easter on Sunday April 24, and going to church and dying boiled eggs can be a significant part of this celebration, so educators brought in dye this week and the children helped to dye enough eggs for everyone. Some children and their families talked about going to church together and carrying a lighted candle along a procession. Several children talked about their experiences with family just days before, in which they cracked the eggs against another to see who had the “champion egg”. They anticipated that they would also crack eggs with friends in preschool to see which preschool friend had the champion egg. We gathered that afternoon, dyed eggs ready and shared out to all by the children, and the cracking of eggs began—so much fun! We especially value showing the many ways events can be acknowledged and celebrated within one space.
Story by Educator Shireen
The children in Johnson House preschool have been keen to discuss some of their favourite foods, which prompted a discussion about rice paper rolls. To extend on this, and to introduce different foods to the children, we decided to make our own rice paper rolls. First the children helped to pick some spinach from our onsite vegetable patch. The educators then provided a variety of other foods the children could also use to make the rolls. The educator first role modelled how to soak the rice paper in water, and the children observed and felt the rice paper changing from hard to soft. They then helped to soak the remaining rice paper sheets. With guidance, the children selected the ingredients they preferred and added them to their rice paper roll. They then enjoyed eating them and spoke of the tastes and textures, describing them as “chewy”, “slippery” and even a bit “crunchy!”. The children gained a lot of knowledge and hands on learning by watching, touching, smelling and tasting. Lots of fun was had by all!
Story by Educator Asima
In the Johnson House toddler program, the children have started to be involved in small integrated groups, which involves our educators and Allied Health team working together to design and implement weekly groups which focus on specific skills. The intentional teaching plan for the current group is to help introduce understanding of emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, calmness and fear. Experiences are developed and built on over the term, and the children are invited to join in both familiar and new learning experiences.
During the first group the children were very enthusiastic about the visuals and a big poster of the ‘Colour Monster’. They also responded excitedly to the ‘Goldfish’ song, following the song cues and moving around the room squealing joyfully. We look forward to coming together next week for more fun.