Twirling, Spinning and Catching
To support the children’s existing interest in physical play experiences in Johnson House toddlers, team leader and educator Cathy offered the children the opportunity to move with hoops. The children were eager to roll their hoops and chase after them, to get into the middle of the hoops and twirl around the outdoor environment and to spin the hoops around in a circle. Using the hoops with the children as a resource in their physical play follows on from their interest in moving with the scarves in the outdoor environment. As the children engaged in this play experience, they were continuing to facilitate the development of their gross motor skills and building the large muscles in their legs and feet. Through this experience the children were also continuing to build on their spatial awareness as they negotiated manoeuvring the hoop around the outdoor space. The children were very careful as they pushed and rolled the hoops to make sure they didn’t get in the way of their peers.
The children in Johnson House preschool have been busy builders recently. Using recycled materials they have been working together to build, design and create a range of skyscrapers and buildings, including libraries and office towers. This has been a great opportunity for the children to use their existing knowledge and to link this to books they have been reading and discussing, and then to work together on a communal project. Within this experience, concepts of height, length and dimension have also been incorporated, helping to add to the children’s learning.
Over the past few weeks the children in Murray House infants have been observed exploring marks and symbols. The sandpit has been our children’s favourite place to explore marks and to represent their ideas in their play. One child said “Circle… wiggles”, and another child joined in, exclaiming “Sssss… snake” It was amazing to see the different perspectives from which individual children interpret marks and symbols using their imaginations!
This play was extended by educator Dalia. She created a space with paint for the children to freely explore their mark making experiences. Music has been played to facilitate and stimulate children’s movement and expression. The children all seemed excited use to their fingers for expression, with lots of vigorous movements being used. It has been an enjoyable experience that has supported the development of children’s language and literacy.
The children in Murray House toddlers have been engaging in a variety of experiences to develop their awareness of sustainability and caring for our environment. This includes reading picture books about recycling, turning boots into pot plants, looking after our worm farms and participating in gardening experiences. Recently the children have been making their own paper pulp creations with educator Denise. The process begins with tearing or cutting up used paper, allowing it to soak and disintegrate in water, blending it into a fine mushy pulp, then moulding it with their hands or in silicone moulds to create the desired shapes. They then need to wait for the shapes to dry and harden. The children persist through this long process of making the their own ‘paper’, and develop an awareness that making paper is a long process that we sometimes take for granted as paper is so easily accessible. The children will now use their new paper shapes for creative experiences such as making necklaces.
The Rigby House children have made strong connections to nature. They enjoy going on walks around our grounds at The Infants’ Home and observing our flora and fauna. They like collecting fallen leaves and other natural objects, and lately they have been arriving at Rigby House with beautiful leaves that they have collected on their way.
To extend on the children’s interest in and knowledge of leaves, the educators have provided them with a beautiful leaf print experience in which the children paint the leaves and then press them onto paper. The children have learnt to lift the leaves carefully, and are delighted to see the beautiful print left by their leaf.
As they paint the leaves and make the prints, the children are able to explore the leaves more closely. They can feel the texture and structure of the leaves, and the veins that run through them. The educators take have taken the opportunity to talk to the children about their observations and together they have discussed where they leaves have come from, their colour and shape, and how they grow. The educators and children all enjoy the beautiful leaf art work that the children created, and this provides opportunities for the children to talk about and share their ideas and to continue to learn more about leaves and nature.
This week at Robinson House there has been an explosion of varied interests and ‘rabbit holes’ into which the children and educators have gone. Relays, touch footy, collage, herb-tasting, and marble-painting have all been jostling in the mix of these interests. Performing, drama games and dramatic play have featured heavily in our curriculum too. For a while the children have been interested in arranging chairs in rows and inviting audiences of peers and educators to watch them put on a show: “The show is about to begin!” is a call that has been resonating around our playground. To take this further educators have invited children to join them in the courtyard for some more structured dramatic play and drama games.
In our courtyard drama space educators tell the children that they are in a world where, with the help of their imaginations, they can turn into anything! Sitting in a circle on the mat they have been practising call and response chants like “Boom Chicka Boom” in different voices: loud, soft, angry, sad, surprised, and old. The children’s story ‘Room on the Broom’ has also captured the children’s imaginations and with educators’ support, they have been performing this narrative for their peers. Through their reenactment of this book the children have explored the voice and embodiment of frogs, dogs, cats, birds, witches and dragons. Understanding themselves to be creators and meaning-makers, the children have also come up with their own suggestions, for example, maybe the dragon becomes a friend!
Drama and dramatic play is wonderful for practising perspective-taking, negotiation of roles and collaborative storytelling. Moreover, it is a way for children to express lots of big and exciting feelings and modes of communication in a supported space.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
The children at Cockatoo Family Day Care at West Pymble recently enjoyed a special visit from the Gordon Fire Brigade.
During the visit the crew talked to the children about calling the emergency number ‘000’ if there was a fire and how to ‘get down low and go go go’ if there is a fire. The children also practised this with the firefighters.
The children got to see what the firefighters wear when they go into a fire, and they learned that the firefighters need to have a torch so that they can see and a radio so that they can communicate with the rest of the crew.
The firefighters also spoke to the children about smoke alarms and how these help you in a fire by letting you know that it’s time to get out.
The best part for the children was the visit to the fire truck which the children were allowed get into to explore!