Story by Educator Nicky
The past weeks have seen the integrated teams across all of Gorton House supporting the transitions of children into new spaces and have worked in partnerships with children and families to make these transitions as smooth and positive as possible. We’ve aimed to respect children’s voices and agency during transitions, as children navigate new relationships and new environments.
We see these moments approached by children with both enthusiasm and sometimes uncertainty. We recognise that how we support these transitions as adults makes all the difference, so we respond with intention to follow children’s cues and leads. Very often, orientation visits between rooms (eg, from the babies to the toddlers’ room, or the toddlers’ room to the preschool room) begin well before formal transition dates, and we find that many of the children, when supported to be part of decision-making processes, as is their right, show enthusiasm for the new spaces. Other children, who may feel more cautious or uncertain are heard by adults, and their right to re-visit their previous space, and feel that closeness of longer established, trusting relationships, is respected and supported.
We see responsiveness to what individual children and families need being as key. In our babies’ room, where the team have supported the transition of younger babies and toddlers into an early childhood service for the first time ever, the educators have commented that the orientation processes undertaken alongside those babies and children have, to date, resulted in this group of new children settling in more smoothly than they have ever experienced. We are always reflecting on how to support transitions and change as respectfully and mindfully as possible; our practices are always evolving alongside reflection, so we are really grateful to be seeing the positive outcomes of this process for everyone involved. We haven’t really been focused on photos while supporting transitions, so the attached photos are just of children enjoying their day, while making new friends!
Story by Educator Asima
In Johnson House toddlers we have noticed a huge interest in singing and music making sessions by our children for the last few days, and we extended on this interest by combining these experiences with sensory and exploratory materials such as sand and play dough. Our intention was to enhance children’s social play and to build on the relationships amongst the participants as it is only the second week here for most of our new children. We had playdough and kinetic sand with small twigs set up in a big tray with a farm with small farm animals. This helped children to explore various materials, allowing them to practice reaching, grasping and hand-eye coordination. Creativity was combined with imagination as our children placed the farm animals and named them or mimicked the sounds the animals make. To add music, we played the most popular rhyme, ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ on our device. There was lots of joyful squealing and everyone clapped, swayed and hummed along with the familiar verses. It was great to see everyone benefitting from this shared learning experience and developing multiple skills.
Story by Educator Rosie
In the Murray House toddler room, the children have been showing an interest in colours. They often spontaneously identify and name the colours they see in their learning environment. To follow-up on this interest, the children have been provided with a variety of learning experiences such as watercolour painting, sensory bottles and coloured ice cubes.
This week’s colour mixing experience, involved the children experimenting and practicing science skills. It incorporated using fine motor skills with eye droppers, engaging finger grasping and squeezing with small muscle movements. The primary colours red, blue and yellow were provided and the children used the eye droppers to get some coloured water and drip it onto paper towels. The children were excited when they saw the coloured water spreading fast and they observed the absorbent reaction of the paper towels. When the primary colours met on the paper towels, some children noticed more colours appearing and they shouted out excitedly “Look green colour”, “I make pink, orange” etc. The children enjoyed repetitive colour mixing while experimenting with the colour changes, reinforcing their capabilities and knowledge. This experience helped the children to learn about primary and secondary colours, while developing scientific thinking skills such as cause and effect, comparing and making predictions.
Cooking Play in the Mud Kitchen
Story by Educator Andrew
Today in Robinson House we extended on our outdoor kitchen project by heading out on a very exciting treasure hunt to forage for items we could use in our dramatic play! We set out on a mission to find all sorts of new interesting natural resources we could add to our newly revamped mud kitchen to extend on our play.
We first made our way to our huge front yard and found all kinds of interesting items: ‘hot chips’, ‘pasta’, ‘noodles’, ‘chicken nuggets and ‘cherries’ (to name a few), which were added to our collections. We heard many other creative ideas of how children intended to use their bounty along the way.
Next, we made our way across The Infants’ Home grounds, past the gardens and up to the kitchen garden, finding herbs, seed pods and other great items.
The next destination was the big tree, where we were lucky enough to again add to our now almost overflowing baskets.
With a quick stop off to say hello to the fish tank, we were on our way back!
We made our way straight to the mud kitchen and couldn’t wait to use all the fascinating ingredients we had gathered.
What an exciting morning we enjoyed! What started as a morning of exploration, ended with an incredible example of dramatic play! Orders were being taken, meals were being cooked and served and conversations were being shared. Thank you everyone for a great morning!
Story by Educator Andrew
River made his way over to our construction zone which is quickly becoming his favourite learning area at Robinson House!
Kruz and Oliver had just begun work on a brick construction project and River was very eager to join in, “Can I build?,” he asked, as he took a brick in his hand.
River continued to add bricks, working in partnership with his new friends, carefully placing the very heavy bricks into position.
Next, he and his friends began adding seed pods that had fallen from a tree above their work, “These are pom poms,” River said, as he placed them inside the cavity of their project.
He next began laying the very final layer, which was the roof of their structure.
Wonderful team work River, you certainly approached this with confidence and enjoyed a wonderful moment of collaborative play with your new friends. It is very clear that you’ve got a love for construction-based play, we will certainly continue to offer you plenty of opportunities to further develop your friendships through this kind of play.
A Picnic in the Veggie Patch
Story by Educator May
Today the older girls and younger girls in Robinson House went out on a garden getaway to the veggie patch at the front of The Infants’ Home. On the way there, we found some rosemary which we touched and then smelt on our hands. “Come look at the tadpoles,” said Freya as she directed seven other girls to investigate the fountain.
Eventually we got to the veggie patch! Leila rolled out the mat and everyone helped set up the picnic. “Look there’s bees,” said Adelaide. Several children looked under the veggie patch at the bugs flying underneath. “I’ve got a dandelion,” said Eleanora. Soon Penelope was also picking dandelions. “Look at this” shouted Lalolagi, directing everyone to look at the big hanging purple plants. We found several things in the garden, including a small chilli plant, banana leaves, and pink, yellow and white flowers. When we found the mint leaves, a few of us tried them. “I like it” said Amalia after finishing her mint leaf.
After picking bits and bobs we put them in teapots and made pretend tea. Amalia set up a birthday party and when she was ready, she invited all the girls to join on the picnic mat. We all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ together and Amalia blew her candles out. Leila liked the game so much that she too pretended it was her birthday party. While out near the veggie patch, we had races, picked flowers and made many friends. Once we returned, we showed our flowers to the rest of the children. Perhaps the most popular thing we collected was a lime, which we opened. The children were able to smell the citrus scent and they tried eating bits of lime. “I like it,” said Leila. “It’s a bit sweet,” agreed Louis.
Story by Playgroup Coordinator Rebecca
At playgroup this week we have been focussing on our fine motor skills through playdough and pom pom sorting. These activities help children to develop the strength and control needed to manipulate everyday items.
The squeezing, rolling, shaping of playdough and using tongs and fingers to pick up pom poms strengthens children’s fingers and hands. This strength allows children to do things for themselves, for example, holding a cup, feeding themselves, or brushing their own teeth.
These activities also help children to learn about things they may see and use in their everyday lives. The experience of a variety of textures teaches children the differences between hard and soft, squishy and hard, rough and smooth. We can discuss colours and textures and talk with children about what they see, feel or make.
At Red Bug this week, Lucas was playing with the playdough. After sitting quietly with him and watching what he was doing he said, “This is me,” and pointed to the playdough with the Mr Potato Head parts in it. We talked about the shapes of the parts and the expression on his playdough face. This led to us making funny faces at each other and then to me giving Lucas the camera so he could take pictures of his playdough.
These activities may look simple to us, but to our children they are moments of learning, creativity and self-exploration.