The Gorton House preschool children have absolutely loved the rain this week!!! Whilst some might find the rain restrictive, we donned our gumboots, raincoats or umbrellas and ventured out to explore. It was wonderful and the children loved it!!! We enjoyed walks in our very own, rain-drenched Gorton playground, and then explored further beyond onto our huge lawn and even into the goose-paddock where we found the biggest and deepest puddles we could have dreamt of. The delight as children squelched, stomped and splashed through the soggy leaves and then into big puddles was enormous. We heard giggles, laughter and shouts of excited joy. We explored all the spaces that we usually enjoy in sunny weather and experienced such joy from these same spaces, although this time they provided a completely different experience.
Many families supported our enjoyment of the rain by ensuring their children had the wet weather gear they needed. One child, upon arriving on Wednesday and recalling all the fun she had had the previous day, explained she had also brought a spare raincoat in case any friends had forgotten theirs. Children with umbrellas invited peers who didn’t have umbrellas to take walks in the rain with them—unprompted by educators. The children showed an intrinsic desire to want to ensure everyone was included in this play. We believe that actively supporting children to enjoy and experience a wide range of weather conditions leads to a positive attitude and appreciation of nature. We don’t need to hide away from and fear different types of weather. Instead we can venture out and notice the changes in our natural environment and appreciate the wet and the puddles and the joy of sharing these experiences with friends.
Learning about nature, weather patterns and the impact of having no rain or lots of rain, is not only scientific learning first-hand, it also supports an appreciation and growing understanding of our environment. When we appreciate and understand something, we may be more inclined to care about it and to try to protect and care for it.
The children in Johnson House preschool have been practicing yoga both within the program and out in the common areas of the Infants’ Home’s grounds. Using a variety of books has provided a story and inspiration for a range of yoga poses the children can learn. We have also used yoga as a tool to continue to embed our ongoing practice of mindfulness, where we aim to focus on being present and in the moment. The children have enjoyed the opportunity to revisit past poses they have learned, as well as perfecting new ones. Most of the children’s favourite poses are those that represent animals. Being able to follow instructions, focusing on the purpose of the experience, maintaining attention and improving physical skills are just some of the great elements of implementing yoga within our program.
The children in Johnson House toddlers are always very enthusiastic to engage in pretend play in the mud kitchen. With some water added to the mud the children were excited to stir and mix their ingredients. They decided together they were going to cook ‘pancakes’. Some of the pancake mixture was very colourful as it had some pink flowers in it. The children were demonstrating that they can continue to follow their interests and play in experiences they have engaged in previously. They are continuing to build on their role playing and imaginative skills as they engage in pretend play.
Recently cars and trucks have been an interest for some of the children in Murray House infants. The children have been observed pushing the trucks around the playground, simultaneously practicing their motor skills and exploring cause and effect as they roll them down and up the ramp outside the playground. The children also have been investigating the ways in which each part truck body functions and works. They have tried pushing different buttons, and lifting and tilting the tray of the dump truck to investigate. The children’s play has been extended further with reading books about trucks and the children have been naming the transportation that they recognise. Trucks have now become an object that our children value in their play.
To follow up on the children’s interest, educator Latha set up an experience with cars, trucks, logs and planks of wood. This allowed children the opportunity to create and build roads, slides and bridges, with some guidance from educators. The children used the materials to manipulate and experiment with trial and error, and motion. They slid the truck down and ran the cars under and over the bridge. We also noticed that the children’s play was developing into pretend play they began to use sounds and words to express their imaginations.
Murray House toddlers have been enthusiastically engaging in the Bear Hunt project which we started in June. This dramatic play project focuses on the children’s language and imaginative abilities, and recently it gradually led to a construction experience as the children voiced a desire to build a house to keep themselves safe from the bear. Incorporating our recycling project in the STEM experience, the materials we chose for the house building are the recycled food grade containers which we have been collecting on a continuous basis in partnership with families and other centres at The Infants’ Home.
Alongside our ongoing pretend bear hunts, a construction site has been set up in the outdoor playground, with the children’s assistance, to provide them with an environment where they can create, practice, explore methods for construction and solve problems. We are currently scaffolding the children’s learning by exploring ways to attach the containers securely through experimenting with different adhesive materials and tools such as masking tape, PVA glue, and double sided tape.
The beautiful Rainbow Snake Dreamtime story has become a favourite of the children at Rigby House.
The children request this story often from their educators, and we also often hear them ‘read’ the story to themselves or together with their peers. This story has also provoked their interest in rainbows and the colours of the rainbow.
To extend on this interest an educator implemented a simple rainbow experiment for the children to observe how colours mix, change and create new colours.
The children watched as drops of primary colours were dropped onto the surface of a dish of milk and then they were invited to gently mix the colours.There were many “oohs and ahhs” from the children as they watched the colours change. They then excitedly referred to their Rainbow Snake book and pointed out all the colours that were in both the dish and in the story’s pictures.
The opportunity to observe the transformation of colours supported the children to think in more complex ways, and to use more descriptive language as they described what was happening and compared and matched the new colours that were formed in the experiment to those in the picture book.
For weeks the children in Robinson House have been observed rolling cars and balls on ramps in the outdoor play area. The availability of these resources and the set-up of this space has allowed children to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) concepts such as force. Most recently we have extended this STEM exploration with a different resource, a Marble Run construction game, which allows the children to transfer and adapt from one experience to another.
The Marble Run comes with a variety of pieces that children put together to construct a track or route for the marbles to roll through. The children have been excited to test out the tracks hey have built by running the marbles through their constructions. Sometimes they find that the marbles get stuck at a certain part of their track, offering them opportunities to experiment and problem solve. Challenges like these also allow them to persist through a different experience. It has also been lovely to see some of the children share ideas with their friends about how they can reconstruct their mazes when their marbles are stuck.
Some of the children found that they can making bigger tracks when they combine their resources, thus providing opportunities for team work and collaboration. This experience has been an opportunity to build skills that are essential for STEM, in particularly hypothesising, experimenting and problem-solving.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Cooking is an essential life skill and it has always been a big part of the curriculum at Sarah’s Family Day Care Sydney Wide service in Kirrawee.
It’s a tradition that when anyone has a birthday at Sarah’s, the children make a birthday cake for an afternoon birthday party. When cooking Sarah uses all natural ingredients, such as wholemeal flour, dates as sweeteners and rice malt.
A recipe book is always displayed for Sarah and the children to refer to, as this enables them to boost their comprehension skills and to understand the different food preparation processes such as blending or mixing.
The best way for children to learn is through experience, and weighing and measuring the ingredients helps them to form the early foundations of mathematics.
Sarah says that the children also cook foods from around the world as this enables her to scaffold the children’s learning by talking with them about the country the food originates from. For example, they may talk about the clothing or traditional costumes people wear in that country or learn a few simple words such as “hello”, “goodbye” and “thank you” in that country’s language.
Cooking is also lots of fun and helps builds collaborative relationships between children as they work together to create their master pieces.