From the director
I would firstly like to welcome all our new families, we are so pleased that you have decided to join our Precious Cargo family.
We have also had quite a few new educators join our team whom are settling in well. Our teams are now as follows:
Assistant directors/Educational Leaders: Savi and Caitlin
Montessori Mentor: Jacki
Nursery: Ang and Michelle
Waddlers: Ping, Simran, Jeevan, Eliza, and Kaye
Pre Kindy: Bec, Orel, Annie, Olivia, Lalita, and Emily
Kindy: Jacki, Sam, Vicki, Stephanie and Shaquille
ELC: Amelia, Chris, Himani, Lisa and Laurel
We also have casual staff who cover when staff are unwell or take annual leave and obviously our teams will continue to grow as the service grows.
We are running Playgroup again this year. It is held on a Monday from 9:30-11:00. Lisa is running a wonderful program for children aged 6 weeks – 3 years. If you know anyone who would enjoy coming please let them know. It is free of charge and you just need to supply a snack and a drink for your child. It’s a great introduction to Montessori.
Our next Acquaintance night is on Tuesday 30th April from 6:00pm – 7:30pm.
It is a great opportunity to have a chat to some of the educators, have a look at the beautiful work your children have been doing and also meet other parents. Please email Karen if you would like to attend for catering purposes.
Have you ever wondered why your child is fascinated with how you fold the towels, set the table, or mop the floor? Children, like all human beings, want to communicate with others, to do important work, and contribute to society.
This desire is particularly strong in young children as they develop the mental and physical skills to stand, walk, use their hands, and participate in real work.
To capture this interest, and direct it purposefully, Doctor Maria Montessori developed Practical Life exercises. These activities help children to understand, and participate in their world, while also assisting them in developing the inner building blocks of their person during the critical first six years of life.
What is Practical Life?
Practical Life activities are purposeful tasks that simulate the activities involved in everyday life. Often called ‘family work,’ typical Practical Life activities include sweeping, dusting, and food preparation.
The child observes these activities within their world and gains knowledge of them through experience using Practical Life materials in the prepared environment of the Montessori classroom. Practical Life activities are culture specific and provide children with the opportunity to develop a sense of being and belonging by participating in the activities of daily life.
What is the Purpose and Aim of Practical Life Exercises?
The purpose and aim of Practical Life exercises is to help children develop coordination of movement, gain independence, adapt to their society, and develop the ability to concentrate.
Through the repetition of Practical Life activities, children learn to develop their gross and fine motor skills, problem solve effectively, and establish a strong sense of self by actively contributing to their world.
Five Areas of Practical Life
Within the Montessori Curriculum, activities of Practical Life revolve around five key areas, including: Preliminary Exercises, Care of Self, Care for the Environment, Grace and Courtesy, and Control of Movement.
In the Preliminary Exercises, children learn the basic movements of all societies, such as pouring, folding and carrying.
Care of Self incorporates activities connected with personal care and the maintenance involved in everyday life, such as washing hands, and getting dressed.
Care for the Environment is focused on teaching children how to interact with their environment in a way that exhibits love and respect. Typical activities include: watering a plant, washing a table, and arranging flowers.
Through Grace and Courtesy exercises children learn the skills associated with social interactions. Key activities include greetings, introducing oneself, and how to appropriately interrupt others.
Control of Movement is focused on teaching children to refine and coordinate control of their bodies through activities such as walking on the line and the silence game.
Characteristics of Practical Life Exercises
In order to be effective, it is essential that children are given access to real Practical Life materials that are familiar, breakable and functional whenever possible.
Children increase their self-confidence when they are given the opportunity to use real things, which corresponds with a greater level of respect when caring for the materials.
Practical Life exercises must also be related to the child’s time and culture. This way, children learn how to complete the activities for themselves, and can then apply this knowledge within their home environment.
In the Montessori classroom, Practical Life exercises will be arranged left to right, from easiest to hardest, and are often colour coded to help facilitate a sense of order. This structure is important as children needs to know that every material has a place.
Example Practical Life Activities
• Carrying a Mat
• Sit and Stand from a Chair
• Carrying a Tray
• Turning pages of a Book
• Spooning Grains
• Pouring Grains
Care of the Person
• Washing Hands
• Dressing Frame
• Polishing Shoes
• Preparing a Snack
Care of The Environment
• Dusting a Table
• Arranging Flowers
• Setting a Table
Grace and Courtesy
• Greeting a Person
• Introduction of One’s Self
• Offering Help
Control of Movement
• Walking on the Line
• Silence Game
Kids in the kitchen
Muffin pan fried rice cups
⦁ 1 cup brown rice
⦁ 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
⦁ 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
⦁ 2 shortcut bacon rashers, trimmed, finely chopped
⦁ 12 square wonton wrappers
⦁ 1/2 cup frozen peas
⦁ 300g can corn kernels, drained
⦁ 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
⦁ 3 eggs, lightly beaten
Cook rice following absorption method on packet. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add bacon. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden. Add to rice. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
Preheat oven to 220°C/200C fan-forced. Grease a 12-hole (1/3-cup-capacity) muffin pan. Line holes with wonton wrappers.
Add peas, corn, hoisin sauce and egg to rice mixture. Season with pepper. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared pan holes, pressing to compact. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch.
Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Using a butter knife, carefully lift cups from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by Emily Winfield Martin | Book Review
Written and Illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
Age Range: 3-7
Hardback Book: 36 pages
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books (2015)
What to expect: Growing up, aspirations, professions
Every child is unique, and parents can’t wait to see what they will one day be!
Emily Winfield Martin’s delightful book dreams of what children will someday grow to be. Every child is different and completely unique. We follow beautifully illustrated children as they discover themselves. A girl might grow to be in a garage band or become an actress, while a sweet little boy could be a gardener with his friends. The next boy is a tailor for tiny animal friends, and the next girl is a toy doctor. And beyond that, we see that children are really more than just professions. Young girls and boys are shown being kind, clever and bold, loving and brave.
Perhaps the most beautiful image is of a girl standing beside a dark wood, being “brave and bright/so no shadows can stay.” Because there is more to being something in life than just a profession. At the end of the book, all of the children we have met along the way are showcased in an outstanding foldout page. Children are dressed as whatever they wish to someday be: ballerinas and bears and musicians and robots. There is no wrong answer, and that’s what is so great about this book. Childhood is a time of wonder.
This is a gorgeous book with warm and playful illustrations featuring a diverse set of children. Little ones will be drawn to the pictures, quickly pointing out which one matches what they themselves want to be. The surprise of a double foldout page at the end is a very exciting treat for children too, and my daughter wanted to look at it over and again. The prose is sweet and rhyming, drawing children in and lulling them (hopefully) to sleep before bedtime.
The children in nursery have been working in the garden. They planted some carrot seeds which they are watering every day and watching for when they peep through the soil and begin to grow.
Gardening engages all of the senses. Squish your hands in the dirt, how does it feel? Let’s add some water, what does it look now? What does it smell like? We grew vegetables, how do they taste? Hear the crunch when you bite the carrot! This then leads on to healthy eating. It’s always so much more fun to eat when you have grown it yourself.
From picking up tiny seeds, to pulling weeds, and gently caring for the seedling and plants, gardening encourages the development of fine motor skills every step of the way.
Gardening is also a great way to introduce maths skills. How many seeds can you plant in each row? How much water do they need? Math can also be a big part of gardening!
It also introduces children to scientific concept such as; what makes the leaves green? What do plants need to thrive? How much water do they need? This leads onto responsibility as plants require a lot of care. Forgetting to water them could lead to them dying. Learning how to care for plants is a great lesson in responsibility. Once children see how much time and effort goes into gardening they will become more empathetic towards those who help put food on the tables every day. We use this time to talk about the importance of local farmers and taking care of our planet be recycling and not littering.
The children celebrated Harmony Day by creating a Harmony Day poster. The educators painted their little hands and they hand printed it. It symbolises togetherness and belonging. Harmony day is about celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. We try to create this in our service everyday but it lovely to be able to show case it on Harmony Day.
The children in the Waddlers room recently explored water beads. They set them up in the sensory containers outside. They children were keen to launch their hands straight in and explore the interesting texture that is created when the water is added. They talked about how they felt as well as the many different colours. During this group experience the children built relationships with each other as well as with the educators.
Water beads is an open – ended experience and hands on sensory experience. They are so much fun and if you drop them on the floor they bounce, they are soft, squishy and smooth to touch, not slimy at all.
They promote learning and development in areas such as fine motor, coordination, exploration, colours, sensory and creativity. Water beads also introduce children to scientific and mathematical concepts such as absorption. It promotes scientific thinking skill such as predicting, observations, reasoning and so much more!
We have been using the music room every day and the last couple of weeks concentrating on musical instruments. The children love the musical instruments and exploring all the different sounds that they can make.
Infants recognise the melody of a song long before they understand the words. Quiet, background music can be soothing for children, especially at sleep time. Children love to dance to music. The key to toddler music is repetition, which encourages language and memorisation. Silly songs make them laugh.
The other day when the children were watering the garden, they found a caterpillar munching on the leaves of our mini lemon tree. The children were so excited they pointed it out to all the children and invited them to come and have a look. Whist watching our new found friend we found a cocoon. The educator explained to the children the life cycle of a caterpillar and what the cocoon is and what it is used for.
This was a great experience as the children gained first-hand knowledge about the butterfly life cycle by observing it in real time. We learnt about what caterpillars and butterflies need to live. This first-hand experience assisted the children to make personal connections to the natural world.
Luka brought in his World Globe to show his peers. He told everyone that he is from the Panda (China) and that he now lives in the Koala (Australia) They discussed where each family comes from and included was Europe, England, Asia, China and India. This was a great experience to broaden children’s understanding of the world in which they live.
The Kindy children has been exploring volcanos. They have been learning Volcanoes have many different shapes and sizes. Some look like steep mountains (stratovolcanoes), others look like bumps (shield volcanoes) and some are flat with a hole (a crater or caldera) in the centre that is often filled with water. The shape of the volcano and how explosively it erupts depend largely on how “sticky” and how “fizzy” (how much gas) the magma is that is erupted. For example, if you try to blow bubbles in cooking oil though a straw, the bubbles can escape quite easily because the cooking oil is runny. If you try to blow bubbles in jam or peanut butter you would find it very difficult because the jam and peanut butter are very sticky – they wouldn’t move much at all if you tried to pour them out of the jar. It is the same with volcanoes. When magma rises towards the surface, gas bubbles start to form. Whether or not they can escape as the magma is rising affects how explosive the eruption will be. Where the magma is runny like cooking oil and doesn’t have much bubbly gas mixed in it, such as places like Hawaii, then we see lots of slow-moving lava flows and shield volcanoes. Lava is what we call magma when it reaches the surface. However, where the magma is very sticky, like jam or peanut butter, and if it contains a lot of bubbly gas then the gas can get stuck and eruptions can be very powerful and explosive, like the recent eruptions at Fuego volcano in Guatemala.
The children did their own volcano experiment in the sandpit using a plastic bottle, vinegar and bicarb soda.
In ELC the children have been talking about the human body and exploring how the skeleton protects our organs and our muscles protect our bones. The children asked questions about what organs are so they then discussed the functions of the main organs such as the heart, lungs and liver, and of course the biggest organ of all, the skin. These types of conversations encourage children’s curiosity and develop dispositions for learning such as enthusiasm, persistence, problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating.
The children celebrated the Jewish festival Purim. The children and teachers made and decorated masks.
Every year Jewish people from all over the world wear fancy dress to celebrate the beginning of the fesitival. Purim celebrates the courage of a Jewish girl called Esther who married the King of Persia, and saved the Jewish people living there from being killed over 2000 years ago.