The children in Johnson House preschool really enjoy the book Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson. To extend on this interest, the children have been given the opportunity to act out the story using a range of props. They took turns to pretend to be different characters in the story, as they recalled the story’s plot. They worked together, showing enjoyment as the book came to life. Such experiences help to foster children’s language development, as well as skills in literacy, as they learn to understand texts and to use this as a tool for active participation within the program.
Recently the children have been very interested in physical play, and to extend on this we played some games with the hoops. The children were very confident as they balanced in the hoops, used their bodies to manoeuvre the hoops around the outdoor environment, jumped between the hoops and rolled them. As the children engaged in this experience they were continuing to support their gross motor development. They were learning about spatial awareness and strengthening the muscles in their legs and feet.
The children in Murray House infants have begun using lots of words while playing. They love to name the things around them, describe their actions, and talk about what they see. Educator Dalia planned small group experiences based on the children’s interest in language to allow more opportunities for them to talk and interact. Arthur, Ashton & Beecher (2014) suggest that planning small group experiences for infants and toddlers is a great way to foster their language development. Dali used resources such as visual cards, books and props to model and lead discussions. The children curious and wanted to see and feel the resources and respond to them with actions and sounds. One child said, “Moo!” after picking up a cow. Another child said “Pig!’ when she found a pig in the treasure bag. As the children participated, they waited, and listened or responded to their names and objects.
Bok Choy is one of the vegetables the children in Murray House toddlers love eating whenever we have noodles for lunch. Its tender texture makes it a children’s favourite. Bringing in some Bok Choy cuttings from home, educator Alisa engaged the children in growing the cuttings in water. Placing the Bok Choy heads inside clear jars, the children also enthusiastically helped give these a mist using a spray bottle. This activity enabled the children to practice and refine their fine motor control, especially as this plant only needs a small amount of water. We also planted some Bok Choy seedlings in the garden that one of our casual educators, Jessica, also shared with us.
The children continued to observe and monitor the growth of our Bok Choy plants. They were surprised to find that there were leaves growing in the middle of the layers. They noted their observations as follows: “Big leaves are growing in some of the plants“, “Small leaves are growing underneath the Bok Choy heads“, “Small leaves are growing among the small leaves in the middle” and “Baby plants are growing within the big leaves“.
Meanwhile, in the garden, the children enthusiastically helped water the growing Bok Choy plants. We have already spotted some small seeds in the middle of the green leaves that will soon bloom with small flowers. The children have also noticed that there were holes in the leaves, and have inferred that some insects might be eating these leaves. We will continue to watch the growth of our Bok Choy plants over the next few weeks!
The children in Rigby House are very interested in numbers and counting. They recognise numbers in books, signs and on objects. They count everything they see, and they count in all of the experiences they participate in throughout the day in Rigby House.
A favourite game for the children is to sort, compare, match and then count various items. They do this with the natural items they collect from our walks around the grounds, as well as when they they play matching and sorting games. Some of the children even decided to sort and separate all the magantiec letters and numbers!
Recently at the playdough table, the children have developed their own counting game where they each make small balls with the playdough, line them up and then count them.
The educators have been supporting the children’s learning by asking what happens if they add one more ball and what will happen if they take one away? The children are exploring early mathematical concepts and learning about addition and subtraction as they play.
As part of the integrated groups in Robinson House, occupational therapist Lisa and educators Miriam and Katie have been engaging the children in some STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) experiences. Over the past few weeks the children have been playing with Geoboards and rubber bands of different colours and thickness. They stretch the rubber bands across some nails pinned on to the Geoboard, which allows them to exercise their finger muscles, thus developing their fine motor skills. They started off with making lines and then progressed to making geometrical shapes of different sizes—triangles, squares and rectangles. More recently, some of the children have been interested in making “X marks the spot”, and others have been challenging themselves to create a love heart, which can be quite tricky because they are required to make curve-like lines on nails set up as a grid. The children persisted and cooperated with each other to make love hearts on the Geoboard. We can’t wait to see what other shapes, designs and patterns we can make on our Geoboards in the next few weeks!
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Every Wednesday morning the children at Paula’s Family Day Care in Lugarno visit the local Anglican Church to take part in a program called ‘Junior Jivers’.
Craft experiences such as playdough and painting are offered before the children then head towards the stage to sing, dance and play musical instruments. The music session is led by two volunteers, Sarah who is an accomplished violinist, and Gavin who plays the guitar.
Just like mathematics, reading, writing and science, music and movement experiences play an important role in a child’s development and have many benefits.
When children take part in music and movement activities they are able to have fun, be creative, and dance and burn off energy. They develop and refine their social skills as they work as a team, learn to share and learn how to be creative in a group environment. Following music and movement instructions has also been shown to improve children’s memories, cognitive development, learning skills and expressive abilities.
This week our Community Playgroups welcomed spring by ‘planting’ seeds on cotton wool in plastic cups. The children arranged the cotton wool, counted the seeds, and watered them. They also enjoyed making gardens on paper plates at the craft table and using flowers to paint. At group time the children danced, jumped and skipped with the parachute, enjoyed singing and read the story books Barry the Fish with Fingers and the Hairy-Scary Monster.