Story by Centre Director Amy
The children in Johnson House are always willing and eager to explore the many aspects of our natural environment. Nature can bring about many play opportunities and learning experiences and it helps children to learn about and develop an appreciation of the world around them.
We have recently been emphasising the joy of nature during ‘Nature Play Week’ (14 to 25 April). ‘Nature play’ is a term used to describe the creation of simple play opportunities in the natural environment. Nature play encourages children to see the natural environment as a place to enjoy, play, imagine, relax and explore.
One of the experiences the children enjoyed was going on a nature scavenger hunt. Using a checklist, the children searched The Infants’ Home’s outdoor play spaces for insects and natural materials, finding a butterfly, bees, a fly, ants and a witchetty grub. The children had exposure to written words alongside visuals, and they were encouraged to respond when they found something listed on the scavenger hunt list by ticking a box or circling what they had seen. This experience extended upon the children’s interest in nature and supported their literacy development.
Story by Educator Jung
The children in Murray House love eating carrots, and carrots have been their most favourite vegetable during lunchtime. The children have also been talking about how much they enjoy eating carrots at home. One child said during lunch, ‘I have lots of carrots at home’. Another child added, ‘My mum gives me carrots at home, I like carrots too’.
To extend on this, Educators planted some carrots in our vege patch so that the children could watch them grow. The children were all excited about participating in the seed sowing process. They made small holes in the soil, put the seeds in the holes and then covered them with dirt. When children had finished planting the seed, they remembered to give them lots of water.
The children were interested in touching the tiny seeds and feeling how small they were. They were also curious about how such small seeds could grow into carrots. Most of all, they were looking forward to munching into a freshly grown carrot from the garden when it was ready!
This experience is providing lots of learning opportunities for the children in Murray House. They are learning to appreciate and care for the natural environment as they visit each day to observe the garden. Through this journey the children will also learn about scientific and mathematical concepts.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Story by Educator Support Officer Maureen
Our Family Day Care Educators in Erskineville continue to offer the children ‘loose parts play’ using various items from around the house, including recycled items and small things that the children pick up and collect from round the neighbourhood as they go on excursions to local parks and to do school pickups for older children.
There is no right or wrong to this open-ended learning, it is simply about providing provocative learning spaces by adding different textures, colours, shapes, natural items and moving parts. It’s a joy to sit back and observe the children explore and use their imaginations as they create their own play, and to listen to their use of language to collaborate and solve problems. One minute loose parts were balanced and piled on top of one another, and then the next minute three children were all in squashed in a cardboard box giggling and laughing as they sailed off into the sunset!
Story by Playgroup Coordinator Rebecca
At Playgroups this week we have been working on our fine motor skills. The children used cotton buds to ‘write’ on paint boards, which we made by putting paint inside large snap lock bags and sealing them tight. The children loved this activity and their grownups are also going to do this with them at home. The children also rolled and kneaded playdough, which helps them to develop the muscles in their hands. Cutting activities are also fun, and the children really enjoyed cutting up spaghetti worms!