20 Dec Collinswood Family Newsletter December 2019
From the Director
Welcome to the last newsletter for 2019, it has been a very busy few weeks here at the centre with lots of children transitioning up to their next classroom, as well as ELC graduations, Bunnings visits, school visits, dance performances, new enrolments, cooking classes and lots of culturally festive experiences and activities throughout the whole centre. We have been very lucky to have three special guests visit us this last week who have bought in their fabulous instruments and put on a great show for the children. A big thank you to Franco’s Mum, Macarena, who played us lots of nursery rhymes on her keyboard. Another big thank you to one of our talented Educators Tom, and his wife Liu. Tom and Liu also played us music on their keyboard; they then made every effort to impress with a fantastic duo on their Chinese Zither and Chinese Red Drum. The children loved listening to the big loud drums and watching Liu’s arms gracefully glide over the Zither.
We would like to thank all families who have generously donated toys and books to The Smith Family appeal. Jodie has delivered all of the generous gifts to the showground, which were received with much appreciation. It is very humbling being surrounded by a community that gives so thanks again.
In light of the recent Chicken Pox outbreak, I would like to take this opportunity to remind families about infectious illnesses and exclusion periods. We work hard to eliminate any spread of infection throughout the centre by following specific cleaning routines and regularly disinfecting resources, surfaces and furniture. We encourage and monitor thorough hand washing techniques and teach the children to cough and sneeze into their elbow. On top of all of this, children are sent home if they present with any symptoms we feel may be contagious. As frustrating as this can be sometimes, we trust that you understand the reasons why and appreciate our efforts in minimising any spread of infection. If you feel your child is unwell or presenting with symptoms at home, please do not bring them into care until you know they are not contagious. We really do appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
Immunisations. We are required to keep updated immunisation records of all children in our care. If your child has recently had an immunisation and we have not yet been updated could you please bring in their blue book for us to photocopy. Alternatively, you can access your child’s immunisation record through your MyGov account and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Casual Days/Booking requests. If you want to make any amendments to your child’s current booking, we ask that they be done through My Family Lounge. The simplest way to do this is by editing their current booking. If you are having trouble navigating My Family Lounge please ring the centre and Stella or myself can talk you through the process or email email@example.com
We require all casual day bookings in writing so please address them to the above email or fill out a request slip located in admin.
End of Year Party. On Friday the 3rd of January, we are hosting our End of Year Party. It is a little late in the season, but we were required to postpone it due to the outbreak of Chicken Pox. We are excited to have Mr Oopy and Farmer Darcy join us again this year, along with Happy Feet, glitter tattoos, a cake stall and sausage sizzle. We hope you can all join us for a fun beginning to the New Year. Please note that we will have to close the carpark off at 5.15pm to allow for set up, we apologise for the inconvenience.
Transitions. With a large number of children having transitioned last week there have been lots of ‘Farewells’ and ‘Welcomes’ happening throughout the centre. Educators are always a little sad to see children graduate to the next age group or off to kindergarten and school so it can be an emotional week. So far, the children have settled in really well to their new environments and are already busy learning new skills and routines.
With lots of children transitioning this past month, we thought it was a perfect opportunity for a few staff members to change rooms too. The bulk of staffing has remained the same; however, we needed to take into consideration a balance in each classroom and how beneficial it is for a familiar educator to be with the children, so we have moved six educators to support this balance. I hope that you are all slowly getting to know who your child’s educators are, please do not hesitate to ask if you are unsure. Sadly, we have also had some staff leave us. Despina has taken a job as an OSHC Director in a local school, Tatum has accepted a teaching contract in the Northern suburbs and Tayla is starting work with the DCP in the New Year. All three educators have been highly valued members of our team for many years and will be hugely missed. We will do our best to ensure replacements run smoothly and effectively.
Please pack a hat for your child, if no hat is supplied children will need to remain inside or under the verandah.
Label all belongings. It is easier to keep track of your child’s belongings if they are named and we can pop them back in their bags.
Don’t forget we are closed on the Public Holidays.
Finally, wishing you all a very safe and happy Christmas and New Year. I hope you all get to enjoy some quality time with Family and Friends and look forward to what the New Year may bring.
Christmas Charging – Statements will be emailed to you on Friday 20th December and payment will be processed on Friday 27th December. Please ensure sufficient funds are held in your nominate account to cover your payments.
Signing In and Out – Please remember to sign your child/ren in and out on the iPad at every attendance. This is an important step not only for claiming CCS but also in case of an emergency or evacuation.
Ceasing Care – 4 weeks’ notice is required when you no longer require care . Please request a Notice of Intention to Leave form from your Centre Director when required and remember that your child must attend their last day (minimum stay on last day is 1 hour) for CCS to be claimable. This is a DHS (Centrelink) ruling.
Casual Days – Any casual day request are to be emailed to your Centre Director only. Any cancellations require 24 hours’ notice.
Vacation Care Cancellations – Please remember that one weeks’ notice is required to cancel any pre-booked Vacation Care.
Centrelink – My Gov – It is the families responsibility to regularly check their MyGov to complete any tasks and read any message. Any changes to your Child Care Subsidy entitlements is managed between the family and DHS (Centrelink). We are not able to answer queries or resolve CCS issues.
Throughout the term the Educators have introduced neighbourhood walks in a multi seater pram. This has stemmed from the children’s emerging interest in transportation such as waving to the planes and cars. They have also been associating the sounds that they make with the corresponding picture cards and wooden modes of transportation. The children have responded positively, and it has also allowed opportunities for the children to build an understanding of their natural environments and the wider community. This has extended and built the children’s verbal and non-verbal language and vocabulary with discussions on familiar objects and other items of interests that the children can observe whilst outdoors i.e.: planes, flowers, cars, trucks and animals.
The neighbourhood walks and outdoor exploration has stimulated a common interest of nature play and investigating natural resources amongst the children. This has prompted Educators to plan and implement a range of experiences which has offered open ended opportunities such as: nature trays, sand and animal play, an assortment of flowers and leaves in ice, water infused with leaves and herbs and playdough with natural materials. The children were also able to express themselves creatively when using natural resources in paint and craft experiences.
We have incorporated a practical life shelf within the classroom which has been helpful in facilitating one to one lessons with the trays and baskets. The children are developing a range of skills and processes such as: transferring, pouring, mashing, cleaning and mathematical concepts such as matching and exploring notions of on and off, size, shape and cause and effect. Teaching practical life skills is also beneficial in their development of fine motor skills, small movement control and muscular strength which is fundamental to all future writing and drawing ability. It is also valuable for achieving success when they have the ability to complete tasks for themselves.
We celebrated Diwali with children proudly wearing traditional dresses along side their educators. They expressed their delight through vocalization of excitement when dancing to Bollywood music. The children had the opportunity to participate in a range of art and craft experiences such as flowers Rangoli and creating a firework affect with the use of cylinder tubes and paint. It was a wonderful way for the Educators to share their culture, heritage and traditions with the children as it presents opportunities for new understandings and developing positive attitudes towards diversity.
On behalf of the Nursery team, we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The Nursery Team, Rosa, Aristea, Sonia, Casey, Shivani and Jess
During the past few months in the Waddler room, the educators have begun Grace and Courtesy lessons with the children. These lessons are implemented as small group lessons during morning and afternoon work cycles. The educators have been focusing on role modelling and encouraging manners, such as ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’, walking around prepared beds during sleep times as opposed to over them, pushing in our chair at the table when we are finished using them and mindful sharing and turn taking. It has been fascinating to see the children engage in these lessons; they have demonstrated abilities to listen, follow instructions, and understand the actions of the task.
During the early years of childhood, children use their senses to explore and try to make sense of the world around them. They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving, and hearing. In Waddlers, during these past months, the children have been engaging in several different sensorial activities, including; indoor/outdoor water play, painting using cars and leaves, pasting with colour sand, the sensory boxes containing rice and sand, and creative play with playdough and cloud foam. The children appear to enjoy getting their hand messy while stimulating their senses during these types of activities.
Practical life has been an essential aspect of the waddler room focus during this spring and summer. The children have been provided with one on one lessons with their educators on how to complete the practical life activity. Then they are left to explore the experience at their own pace, only providing guidance and support when required. During the following activities, the children have been able to demonstrate a high level of concentration and improvement of fine motor skills. Montessori practical life lessons are essential as a basis in the waddler room as the children are being to develop a sense of order, increasing independence through the care of self and the environment and, developing respect for their community by using materials appropriately and cleaning up afterward. The children have spent time developing and learning a new skill that they can link to their lives at home with their families. Our primary focus has been based on pouring liquids and dry ingredients such as rice. The children have extended on this skill during the past months by pouring their glasses of water during meal times. It has been an exciting journey watching the children practice and master the skill of pouring water without spilling. When the children have had a spill, we have encouraged them to clean and care for their environment, wiping up the mess with a sponge or flannel. Other practical life lessons we have focused on are transferring dried chickpeas with a spoon, matching socks, tonging, and window washing.
The children have also engaged in care of self-activities such as hand washing and packing our shoes into sleep bags at rest time. These activities provide a means for children to become physically independent. As the children began to show an increased interest in literacy and numeracy over the winter and autumn months, the educators have provided extended activities to the children to facilitate this. We have spent time exploring size using wooden stacking towers, identifying and naming small, medium and large in sorting activities, identifying and naming colours such a red, yellow and blue, reading books such as ‘Where is the Green Sheep’ and counting and colour books, singing nursery rhymes and using the felt board for interactive story time. The children favourite felt board story has been ‘Pete the Cat” they appear to enjoy singing along to the song and identifying all the colours of Pete’s shoes. Our outdoor work time has been exhilarating as the weather has begun to warm up.
The children have spent time engaging in water play activities. They appear to enjoy splashing in the water and getting wet and cooling down in the warm spring weather. The educators have created nature play experiences for the children outside, such as an Amazon jungle with plants, sand, and jungle animals. The children appeared to enjoy using their imaginations while playing with the animals outside. Spring has sprung…it’s time to water things! As we have spent time learning about vegetables and plants during the winter months, the educators have extended on this interest by teaching the children how to care for our environment and tending to and watering our new vegetable patch. As educators, we believe that the garden is such a beautiful place for the children to learn about the world including, how to plant seeds, water the garden and watch things grow, just as we do! We look forward to picking the vegetables once they are big enough and using them in the kitchen.
From all of the team in Waddler 1, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Sincerely, Waddler 1 Team.
As part of the Waddler two program over the past few weeks, the Educators and children have been busy creating a shop for their classroom. This has been an exciting extension on their recent interest in role-play and dress ups. The children have enjoyed helping their families collect real items from home and using them within their play experiences
The children have also enjoyed taking part in cooking experiences and making delicious snacks such as scones and cookies to share amongst their peers. Through these experiences, they are developing their spatial awareness and Grace and Courtesy skills. The Educators are enthusiastic about extending on this new interest by providing more practical life experiences.
As the festive season approaches, the Educators will be providing a variety of different experiences and discussing with the children how people around the world celebrate at this time of year. We would love your family input as to how your family celebrates so please feel free to come in and let us know or you are welcome to jot it down on our program.
From all the Educator’s in Waddler Two we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
Dear Pre-Kindy Families,
We are almost at the end of the year!
Since our last newsletter, both Pre-Kindy 1 and 2 have been very busy engaging in fun and exciting experiences and events such as the ‘Eat A Rainbow’ project and Bunnings Incursion, Diwali, Grandparents Day and Crazy Hair Day.
EAT A RAINBOW PROJECT
The Pre-Kindy ‘Eat A Rainbow’ Project was inspired by the children identifying the various fruits and vegetables that were in their childcare meals. We began to look at where these fruits and vegetables grow and the things they need to be able to grow, such as sun, water and soil. This led to Pre-Kindy taking responsibility for the vegetable gardens in the outside yard, preparing the soil and planting new Broccoli, Spinach, Beetroot, Carrot, Snow Pea, Tomato and Corn seedlings. The children loved to watch these seedlings grow and turn into edible vegetables. Tying in with this, we also received a special incursion visit from Bunnings, where the children learned about and helped to make worm farms and new vegetable gardens for the balcony.
In the weeks following, the Pre-Kindy rooms included the ‘Eat A Rainbow’ project in their programs, focusing on a different colour of the rainbow each fortnight. Within this the children were provided with a range of common and unusual fruits and vegetables to explore with their senses of touch, sight, taste and smell. Cooking experiences were a bit hit within the rooms. The favourite cooking experience proved to be the making of the vegetable pizzas at the end of the project, as the children expressed their knowledge and understanding of different vegetables as they selected ingredients for their own individual pizzas.
To celebrate multiculturalism , we decided to celebrate Diwali ( the festival of light ). We made flash cards to make children familiar with the festival and it’s celebration. By planning and implementing different activities such as decorating earthen lamps and making coconut balls the children had hands on experience about Diwali. Children also got an opportunity to come in the centre all dressed up in their cultural attires. Parents also shared their love and togetherness by visiting the centre and putting on henna tattoos on little hands
On Friday 27th of September, the Pre-Kindy 1 and 2 rooms came together to celebrate and participate in a ‘Grandparents and Special Friends Day’. On this day, the children were able to invite their grandparents or special friends into their learning environment and participate in some fun activities. Some of the children’s favourite activities on the day included the arts and crafts table, the biscuit decorating table, the book reading station and the games station. The children were very excited to show their Grandparents and Special Friends around, introducing them to their peers and educators and reading through their learning journey books. Throughout this time, a morning tea of fruit, sandwiches, muffins and scones was also enjoyed by everyone.
We wish all children and families a safe and happy Christmas. We look forward to seeing you in the New year.
The Pre Kindy 1 and 2 teams
What a busy time of the year in our Kindy 1 room. We have just started a new group project ’Our Community.’ Our focus in this project is for the children to have the opportunity to get out and get involved with their community. Last week we took a small group of our children on an excursion to our local Bunnings Warehouse at Windsor Gardens. The children got to use public transport and travel on the bus which they thought was a lot of fun, looking out the window at all the interesting things that were happening in their community . At Bunnings the children got to participate in an organised lesson that was co-ordinated by a lady named Eleni. The children used different colour paints to paint garden stakes to be put in our centres vegetable garden.
We also have started taking small groups of children for walks around the block. The children have enjoyed the opportunity to go walking in their community, enjoying the outside environment, seeing different people and our neighbours, cars, buses, houses and picking flowers to bring back to put in a vase for our dining table.
Grace and Courtesy lessons – In K1 we have been implementing using our manners by saying ‘’excuse me’’ and waiting patiently until the person is able to speak to them. The Montessori Method is based upon the belief that children have an innate sense of dignity that guides their behaviours. These Montessori principles help you to teach good manners to your child that allows them to grow up with a respectful attitude that stands out to others. Some families would have noticed when they are dropping their children off to our room that before the children enter our room in the morning they are greeted by an Educator, with a handshake,’’ good morning and how are you’’? Which is an important tradition in the Montessori philosophy. It has taken a couple of weeks to implement this but we are now hearing confident replies by the children and the children are asking how the Educator is feeling. It helps children learn lessons of Grace and Courtesy and smoothly transitions a child from home to their Kindy 1 room.
Montessori Meal Times. Lunch and snack times are opportunities for children to practice independence and to develop important life skills such as preparation of food, preparation of meal space, table setting, manners, healthy food options, and clean-up. We have recently introduced placing a table cloth on our dining table at meal times and placing a vase of fresh flowers in the centre of the table. The children really enjoy doing this and it has made meal times feel like a real celebration of life; eating together and enjoying each other’s company in a beautiful calm environment.
We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy new year,
Thank you. Jodie, Chelsea, Renisha and Winnie.
We have been learning…
We finished our Phonics project by learning the sounds of all letters in the ABC. As requested by the children, we played games and learned songs inspired in the Jolly Phonics method. Some of our older children were ready to work with two or three letters sigh words and beginning sounds. Others focused on rhyming and name recognition. Many of our children are having interesting attempts at writing their names and familiar words! Sounding letters, reading and writing are now part of our every day program, as we explore with different texts and media.
Many children in the Kindy 2 Room showed an especial interest in the 5 senses. It started from a book about the topic that Kirra read to some of our children and soon many of them were mentioning words such as “sight”, “hearing” and “touch”.
We planned for sensorial exploration and spent one week on each of the senses, discovering how they work and learning and developing language around it.
To explore our sense of sight we worked on different activities: we used magnifying glasses and binoculars, we explored with coloured water through a microscope and used a plasma lamp to “look at” and draw what we saw.
We used sound effects games to match cards with the sounds we heard. We talked about sound levels and applied this to the use of our “soft and loud voices” in the environment. We made “phones” using plastic cups and string to practice our voice levels. Our favourite activity was the Montessori sound cylinders, which we explored with Ali, our Montessori mentor.
We used sensory balloons and socks to play matching games, using different textures such as oats, flour, rice and pasta to feel and “guess”. We are still enjoying our “mystery box”, putting our hands in and guessing and describing the objects we felt inside the box. We are still working with the Montessori textured tablets as part of our exploration.
We explored our sense of smell by making and playing with scented playdough, using essential oils and smelling scented candles. We collected flowers and leaves in the yard to use our sense of smell to identify them. We explored an activity inspired in the Montessori smelling bottles to match cards with the smells in the bottles, which included cloves, sage, basil and rosemary. The children were quite good at transferring knowledge to associate this smells with foods they know, such as pasta, ginger bread, rice and soup.
Although we faced some challenges to explore our sense of taste, due to all of us focusing on transitions, we still managed to talk about different tastes: we learned about sweet, sour, salty, spicy, hot and bitter, using these words to describe different flavours during meal times. Some of our children had a “tasting” session, trying different foods including soy sauce, vegemite, sweet chilli, honey, maple syrup, mushrooms, jam and bitter (unsweet) chocolate.
We have been having visits of a group of children from Kindy 1 who soon will be joining us in Kindy 2. With them, we have been focusing on building relationships. The Kindy 2 children have been fantastic at making everybody feel welcome, showing them around the room, sharing resources and activities and engaging in collaborative play. We play a game every morning, welcoming Kindy 1 during their visit and learning their names and the things they like to do. These visits have been very successful for both Kindy 1 and Kindy 2 children. We see many friendships in the making!
We celebrated Diwali, Indian festival of lights with the children and families. Many of our children had the opportunity to explore different cultural aspects, such as observing traditional clothing, getting Henna tattoos and decorating “Rangolis”. We had beautiful input of some of our children families! Manya and Pakhi’s mums were here to give us Henna tattoos and decorated Rangolis with us!
Some of the children in the Kindy 2 room had the opportunity to attend a workshop at Bunnings. They enjoyed exploring different materials and tools to make some beautiful pieces of craft as presents for their families. They also got involved in decorating some wooden stacks to be used in our centre herb garden. We hope this was the first of many workshops we attend, giving more children the opportunity to engage in this activity.
We will be learning…
Until the end of this year, we will focus on Christmas! Our children have been working on exploring Australian traditional celebrations. We have been using books and stories to explore how families come together to celebrate Christmas in Australia. We will be working on a little present for the children to take home and continue our exploration of Christmas trees. In the room, we have stated a tradition of decorating Christmas trees every day, giving the children the opportunity to be ‘in charge’ of the Christmas decorations. We will be working on different Christmas crafts to continue refining our fine motor skills and creativity. We will be exploring some Christmas traditions from different cultures.
Parent Input Project
We will like to say than you to Manya’s and Pakhi’s mums for leading the activities during Diwali celebrations. The children enjoyed interacting with you and getting their beautiful Henna tattoos done!
We are looking forward to have Megan, Eanna’s sister playing the Trombone for us during her school holidays.
We will like to remind you…
We have been working on our Parent Input project as a way to grow stronger relationships with our families. We invite you to participate by leading a small activity with our Kindy 2 children. All you need to do is to share 30 to 60 minutes of your time. We can provide essential resources for you to lead the activity. Some examples are:
· A gardening session with the children, planting some seeds or saplings in one of our garden beds in the yard. We provide seeds, soil, watering cans and basic gardening tools.
· A cooking or baking session, making a simple dish with the children. We provide kitchen tools and ingredients.
· Story time, reading a couple of stories to our children. We can provide books or you can share your family favourite with us.
· Physical activity session. You can ‘coach’ our children in one particular sport you like or simply come up with some games for us to play in the yard.
· Yoga session. If you do yoga, would you like to show us some of your moves?
· Arts and Craft session. You might like to show as how to make a puppet, a toy or anything of the sort. We provide materials.
· Singing/dancing: do you play an instrument? Come and gave us a little concert! We can do the singing if you are shy… Or you can teach us some dancing moves!
· Instructive session. If you work have experience/knowledge of a topic that might be interesting for us, come and teach us! (Dental care, nutrition, emergency services, etc.)
· Excursion. Do you work/volunteer or frequent a place we could visit?
Thank you for your ongoing support
Juliana and the Kindy 2 team.
What a busy and fun filled term we have had in ELC!
As we finished meeting the 5 characters from the “You Can Do It” social-emotional skills program, the children have been demonstrating such growth in the areas of resilience, persistence, getting along with others, organisation and confidence. These are great skills to keep practising, as many of the children continue their successful learning journey at school next year. We have been reading books and having many discussions with the children about getting ready for school. Children have been excited to share about their own experiences visiting their school and buying their special new uniforms.
Children have also been excited to have special visitors in the rooms during our November “Special Person’s Month”. The children are always keen to share with others about the achievements and successes they have during work cycle. It was lovely to meet so many of the children’s special people, and we hope you enjoyed exploring the room with them.
Throughout the term we have explored the Diwali celebration and Christmas around the world. Children have been able to build upon their knowledge of the seven continents, which we learnt earlier in the year, by discovering the many similar and different ways Christmas is celebrated throughout those continents.
This term we were lucky to have two wonderful university pre-service teachers also contribute to the children’s program and experiences. Sopha shared with us Christmas traditions from her family’s country, the Philippines, and Mel shared about the festive traditions she experienced first-hand in Germany and Europe.
While discovering the many different symbols, stories and celebrations from around the world, children were invited to create many little treasures that reflected their learning. They loved being creative with many different materials and collecting all their gifts into their very own Christmas tin. Some children also enjoyed the practical life activity of wrapping each gift themselves.
The children show so much pride in their work and we hope they enjoy unpacking and sharing the little gifts with their family.
Have a safe and happy Christmas from the ELC team.