To follow the children’s ongoing interest in volcanoes in Johnson House toddlers, the educators provided them with visual art experience based around volcanoes that incorporated painting and collage.
Educators used pictures of volcanoes to stimulate the children’s creativity and to discuss basic art concepts such as, lines, shapes, patterns and colours.
The children became very involved in painting and sticking on the paper, and they shared their ideas and understanding about their art activities. For example, one of the children painted with blue and said, “I am painting a blue eruption!” she also added, “Blue fire!”
Through this experience the children developed their creativity and explored new ideas. They were also exploring their sensory and motor skills as they cut and glued differently textures paper.
Pretend play has been one of our children’s ongoing interests, and this play has been extended by including a kitchen corner, a dress-up corner and dolls with cots and prams in the room. The children love dramatising real-world experiences by making ‘cups of tea’ and sharing with the educators, dressing up like adults or patting the dolls to sleep.
Last week the children were observed developing their play further by initiating interactions with other children and taking on roles to dramatise familiar experiences, for example, nurturing the babies. The children used the dolls (or other toys) as active participants in their pretend play and they invited other children to take turns in some of the role play. When the children were pushing the prams around the room, they laughed with joy, and one child exclaimed “I push my friend!” as she engaged in shared dramatic play. Educators in Murray House infants are pleased to see the way the children care for and nurture each other while playing and to observe the connections the children have with their world.
Remember Shum Shum the stick insect, and the little gecko that visited Murray House toddlers many weeks ago? Recently educator Alisa also discovered a bird’s nest perched in the branches above the veranda in Murray House toddlers. This allowed for another spontaneous learning experience, which has been extended through a variety of activities for the children to continue developing an understanding of their natural environment. Looking at the nest from above, from the veranda, they observed birds flying to the nest and hypothesised how it was made, and they narrated possible stories about the Mummy/ Daddy bird caring for their eggs or baby birds, and Mummy/ Daddy bird bringing food for the baby birds. The children made these hypotheses and stories based on their prior knowledge, often relating it to their experiences of home. Their comments included, “When I was a baby, my mummy gave me food” suggesting this is how the Mummy/ Daddy Bird look after the baby birds. These discussions continued as they read picture books like Owl Babies, and looked at pictures of birds’ nests. As the children continued to inquire about the habitat of these ingenious birds, they illustrated their ideas with some oil pastels. Perhaps we can go for a walk to pick up some twigs and make our own bird’s nest!
The children in Rigby House enjoy spending time in the outdoors, and they have formed a wonderful connection with the plants that are in our environment. The children notice the changes that occur in our plants with the changing seasons, as well as noticing the many insects and birds that make their homes in these plants.
To extend on this interest educators have been providing the children with experiences to learn about how plants grow, and our responsibility in caring for our natural environment.
The children have been busy preparing garden beds, choosing vegetable seeds, planting them and checking on them daily to water them and to see if they have germinated, or how much they have grown. It is lovely to see how delighted the children are when they notice the first green shoots appear. During art experiences the children have expressed their ideas by painting tomato seeds, and images of the appearances of the first green shoots in the garden beds.
Our older children have been busy digging and creating a garden bed along our playground fence. They are so delighted with their project that they wanted to ‘clean’ the bricks that are edging the garden bed, and they have expressed interest in painting the bricks.
It is lovely to see the wonder and awe in children’s faces as they come to understand that the tiny seeds they have planted contain a little plant which will grow with their care, water and some sunshine. Nature is truly amazing!
Mealtimes and Gathering time at Robinson House preschool offer great opportunities for a range of discussions to take place. As a community, we often engage in topics that empower us to consider the rights of others, their feelings, the importance of our own self-identity, and the importance of sustainability and looking after the natural environment and all creatures, big and small. They are also times when we can share and learn about our country’s history and to acknowledge the First Nations people and the importance of looking after Gadigal land.
Over the past few weeks we have been unpacking some important questions: “Why is it important to look after the land?”, “What happens to all the rubbish when it’s not disposed of correctly” and “
Why is the ice melting and why we don’t have enough water in the dam?” Children’s thoughts on the topic of climate change and the affect this is having on our planet has encouraged some powerful discussions.
Families who have been participating in these discussions sent some pictures of themselves and their children attending the recent Global Climate Strike. This evoked some more discussions about the powerful impact our voices can have in making a difference to global topics and issues. Educators have been reading books such as ‘Whadayamean’ by John Burningham, which is a book about raising awareness of important global issues. The children have started to illustrate and write their own book, which they have called ‘The superhero dragon and his superhero plant protectors, the kids’. This book includes a collection of drawings on thoughts from the children on global issues. This is just one example of how the children at Robinson House are reminded and encouraged to be active participants in society who can have a powerful impact by sharing their ideas and stories.
Family Day Care Sydney Wide
Outdoor play is a big part of Estella’s Family Day Care Sydney Wide service in Bexley North. Estella sets up experiences from her indoor environment in the outdoor setting. These experiences include activities such as playdough, painting, story books, drawing and even home corner, and they encourage the children to play outdoors for long periods of time. Putting educational equipment outdoors helps the children to think of learning as an ongoing process instead of just something that is confined to indoors.
Children’s imaginations are often stimulated by the objects around them, and these object can enhance children’s creativity. Outdoor play helps children to feel happier and calmer, which means they are often more willing to join in games and activities, and them likely to talk to other children and make friends. Estella says the children especially look forward to playing parachute games.
During outdoor play children’s independence increases as they learn to take risks and negotiate unfamiliar equipment. Outdoor play also helps children to connect with nature, giving them the opportunity to talk and learn about their natural world. At Estella’s service as one of the children found a snail in the yard and wanted to know more about it.
Outdoor play is great fun and promotes happy, healthy and strong children.