Literacy is an important aspect of the Johnson House preschool program and the educators embed this element into many aspects of children’s learning. The children’s recent interest in and curiosity about letters has seen experiences implemented by the educators to help extend on this. Creating letters using a range of materials has been just one aspect of this project. The children have used their own knowledge, as well as learning from each other, to create letters linked to their name and to learn new letters. They have been able to observe letters within the environment through texts and visual prompts which has allowed for more knowledge to be gained and conversations to be shared amongst peers.
The children in Murray House have been exploring the natural environment and the living things around them. This week educator Latha discovered a live earthworm in our bush with a group of children, and they spent time together to observe its movement. The children were curious to see and touch the worm. Once they were ready to feel it, they carefully came closer to the worm, and when it wiggled, the children all wiggled their fingers with excitement and yelled “wiggles!”
This learning was extended by inviting a group of the children to visit the compost bin with scraps of vegetables and fruits. The children took the opportunity to tip the scraps of food into the compost bin and to observe the way the organic waste was being mixed up in the soil for the worms. Latha also led a discussion with the children about the importance of caring for the delicate living creatures around us. It has been a rewarding experience for our children to develop awareness of the sustainable practice in Murray House, as well as connecting closely with the natural environment and living things.
Learning through art
The children at Rigby House are wonderful communicators and they are using complex language to express their ideas and feelings. To continue to support their expressive language, educators have been implementing a lovely large scale painting experience.
During this open-ended experience the children are encouraged to choose colours, and as they paint they talk about their ideas, what they are doing and what their painting is about. The children’s stories have been about dinosaurs and butterflies, observations they have made, and stories, songs, and experiences they are currently enjoying and participating in.
There are many benefits to this large scale painting: the children’s whole body is engaged in the experience, promoting crossing of the midline which supports coordination and brain development. It also supports the children to develop their ability to focus and engage in experience for increased periods of time.
Educators supported the children to revisit their work on subsequent days, promoting the children’s creative thinking as they added new ideas to their paintings, as well as to the stories they were telling us.
Although we all enjoy the artwork that children create, it is the process for this which is most important. The process of making art provides children with enjoyment and relaxation, and supports learning and the development of many skills.
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Chick Hatching Program at Cockatoo Family Day Care
Following the interest of children at Cockatoo Family Day Care in the life cycle of silkworms, their educator acquired some chicken eggs for the children to watch hatch before rearing the chicks for two weeks.
Eleven eggs arrived on the Monday and were placed in an incubator. Then on Tuesday the children watched in amazement as the first chick hatched out of its egg. They patiently stood around the incubator and watched as the tiny wet chick pushed its way out of the egg. The children noticed that four of the other eggs had been pecked from the inside, and they knew that these would hatch soon too. On the following morning the children arrived to find that the remainder of the chicks had hatched overnight and were all dry and fluffy! They moved the chicks to the brooding box, where they all huddled under the nice warm light. The children gave them some sawdust to scratch in and some food and water.
Over the following days the children watched as the chicks grew. They lost the ‘egg tooth’ that had helped them crack open their egg and white feathers started to grow on their wings through the soft downy yellow feathers. The children were given many opportunities to hold and touch the chicks, and to feed them and to help clean the chicken coop. Some of the children were very eager and happy to touch and hold the chicks, while others where happier to watch them from afar.
This experience provided the children with the opportunity to learn about life cycles, growth and development and how to be gentle with small animals. It also encouraged social interactions among the children and promoted the development of their caring and nurturing skills.
To follow up on their interest in life cycles the children at Cockatoo Family Day Care will make sure they check on the silkworm cocoons to see if the moths have emerged yet!
It’s been another fun week at playgroups, and this week Occupational Therapist Lisa from The Infants’ Home visited us to chat with families about children’s development. The children enjoyed making masks and glasses using glitter, feathers and gemstones. Water and sand play were also popular. During group time the children did some dancing and they listened to this week’s story, The Very Itchy Bear, by Nick Bland.