To support the development of children’s sensory motor skills, the educators in Johnson House toddlers recently set up a ‘goop play’ experience (‘goop’, ‘gloop’ or ‘slime’ is made from cornflour, water and non-toxic colouring. It has an interesting consistency that can change back and forth between solid to liquid, depending on the amount of being pressure applied to it). Goop allows children to develop their fine motor skills as they manipulate it.
The children in Johnson House toddlers demonstrated their wonder at how the goop felt hard at some times but then at others could became soft and gooey, depending on how they manipulated it with their hands. The children were also intrigued by how the goop fell down from their hands in strings and dollops.
The children in Johnson House preschool continue to enjoy doing yoga, and have now been observed independently initiating this experience with their peers. They have been using yoga cards for inspiration, and have also been introduced to some books such as “ABC Yoga”, helping them to learn new poses and positions. Yoga provides the opportunity for the children to not only learn physical skills; it also helps increase concentration and attention, as well as supporting children to be actively involved in group experiences. Using tools such as picture cards and books to give guidance and be resources that children can refer to helps increase their active participation and learning.
Experimenting with cause and effect with toy cars has been one of the children’s favourite play activities in Murray House infants. The children enjoy pushing the trucks up and down the slide and the ramp outside in the playground.
To support children’s interest in this play, educator Rosie created a space with a variety of toy vehicles, such as cars and trucks, and visual signs for the children to engage in making meaning of symbols and texts whilst designing their imaginative traffic roads.
Rosie extended the play further after observing a group of children creating patterns using car wheels in the sand. A painting experience was set up with cardboard boxes and cars with ramps for children to investigate and explore the movement of the cars as the rolled down the ramps. They dipped the cars’ wheels into the paint, and as they pushed the cars down the ramp, they seemed fascinated to discover the patterns that the painted tyres revealed as they ran across a large sheet of paper. The children used their words to describe what they saw, for example, using the word ‘crash’ when one car ran into one another. This experience allowed the children to experiment with the movement of objects using a variety of materials and to engage with words that are associated with cars and movement.
The children in Murray House toddlers have been engaging in a few kitchen experiences with educator Anne. From banana-strawberry smoothies to watermelon slushies, the children have learned some delicious and healthy ways of keeping themselves cool this summer! As they cut up the fruits before they went into the blender, the children had the opportunity to learn how to use butter knives safely and to practice their fine motor skills.
They also made watermelon slushies as the children love watermelons, which have high a water content and are naturally sweet. When Anne explained the process of making watermelon slushies to the children they were initially bewildered, perhaps because, based on their prior knowledge and experiences, they usually get smoothies and milkshakes (not slushies) when they put fruit into a blender. First, the children placed the cut watermelon into the freezer, and then put the frozen watermelon pieces into a blender, before blitzing them to a slushie consistency. The children were very surprised that they got slushies instead of liquid smoothies. As they enjoyed their cool and healthy treats, they engaged in conversations about making nutritious choices, and how these healthy options tasted just like a treat. The children were making comments such as “So yummy!” and “The watermelon is cold, like ice cream!”
The children lingered, hoping for seconds, but alas there was only enough for everyone to have one serve each. We will make more next time and we look forward to making more of these throughout the summer.
At Robinson House the children enjoy sharing stories about upcoming events, current affairs, and things happening in the local and global environment and community. An example of this has been incidental discussions about the bushfires and how they’ve affected the lives of a lot of people and animals. The children have shared how seeing and hearing stories about families’ homes being burnt, and animals trying to escape the fires has affected them. This has generated discussions about caring for other people and creatures, and custodianship of Country.
Together a learning play space was created where the children can role play how to care for animals hurt in the fire in a pretend veterinarian clinic, or draw and write about their knowledge of the recent fire events.
Another significant event that has been a big topic of discussion is going to primary school next year, as some of our peers from Robinson House will be heading to school in a few months. While this experience is exciting, it can also bring upon mixed emotions for children. BB (our trusted teddy bear at Robinson House), his buddy Tigger, and his superhero friends have shared their experiences from their orientations with the children. BB shared how he’d meet his superhero friends through families and on orientation day, and how he’d learnt how unique, talented and cool they all are.
For example Malik (Spiderman) is a refugee from Palestine. He shared with BB all the fun games, such as soccer, that he’d learnt in his country and is now looking forward to playing on the school playground. Cane (Captain America) loves painting, and he shared this interest with BB. James and Sammy, (Superman and Thor) taught BB how to say “hello” in sign language, and reminded BB that he can also teach them how to play Stuck in the Mud. BB has been helping his fellow peers at Robinson House talk through some of their overwhelming feelings, as well as encouraging them to share their experiences from orientation like visiting the canteen and school library.
School readiness is much more than just practicing letters and numbers; children’s social and emotional readiness is of the utmost importance. Through storytelling, drama games, excursions and discussions we are trying to give our preschoolers every possible strategy to feel calm and confident in entering the primary school environment.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Recently a group of educators and staff from the coordination unit at the Family Day Care Sydney Wide Northern Beaches hub began a fortnightly playgroup program for children at a local nursing home.
The children met some of the lovely residents, who enjoyed a morning of singing with the children and worked together with them at the playdough table.
This first visit was a special morning that was filled with so much joy and laughter as our new ‘grand-friends’ enjoyed spending time with the children.
It has been another busy and fun week at playgroup, with end of year festivities continuing. Using playdough the children decorated trees and candy sticks with glitter and gemstones. At the craft table the children painted ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree and more cards and letters were sent to Santa. The children also made fairy bread and decorated biscuits to look like reindeers. During group time we read ‘Pig the Elf’ and ‘Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer’.