New friends from Nature

This week, the children participated in their final Nature Play incursion with Cameron. The session opened with a story called ‘The Colour Monsters’ which showed how certain feelings and emotions can be represented through colour. The children then had the opportunity to select their very own natural material/item to create their own colour friend based up the concepts explored in the story.

Ojasvi – “Green is calm, relaxing.”

Imogen – “I’m making a black scared. But yellow means happy.”

Frankie – “I’m making it bedtime.” (chose green and black which represented night time in the story)

Blaise – “His name is called Hoodia because he is the best.”

Mishka – “I made a chocolate.” (using brown crayon to colour her friend)

 

The children were then given the provocation to create homes for their new colour friends using the natural materials. Here are some of their wonderful ideas…

Daniel – “Mine is a wolf and a fire – the Little Pigs”

Kabir – “Mine is a bigger and bigger house, and it works.”

Andreas – “I am building a stick fort. A house.”

Avelyn – ““My idea is to put rocks on the side of the house and a bedroom with a table. There is bricks there which the wolf can’t blow down.”

Joel – “I’m making a factory house. I have a hammer, hammer, hammer. I got a screw driver and (picked up semi circle piece) it’s a window.

The children have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the series of Nature Play incursions. These incursions have promoted a growing appreciation and care for natural and constructed environments. Therefore making valuable contributions to our learning inquiry for term 2.

Observing Change

This week the children have used their developing knowledge of natural and man-made/ built environments to observe changes occurring within the ELC. In doing so, they have made connections between they prior learning to transfer and adapt the relevant knowledge between a range of different experiences. The children have been encouraged to use play, reflection and investigation as authentic opportunities for making predictions, generalisations and applying reflective thinking to consider how and why things change.

The children have used the creative arts such as mark-making through drawing, painting and writing to express their ideas and make meaning of what is happening to their beans.

Some children shared their observations:

Daniel – “I put water in it. There is roots.”

Tesi – “Mine has roots and a stem and leaves on the top. And half of it is a bean. Half of it is green and the other one is lots of yellow. It has big beans and little beans.

Joel – “It has roots. I can see roots and beans.”

These responses show the children’s developing understanding of the parts of a plant as informed by our shared learning experiences and ongoing investigation.

Later in the week, some construction works have been undertaken in the ELC. This has included workers removing the large garden bed in the outdoor environment and are replacing it with pavers to increase the usability of the space for children’s play. The children were eager to observe the process.

Some children shared their observations:

Eva – “He is taking the bricks and digging.”

Leo – “He is digging the bricks.”

Avelyn – “I can see the tractor. He is building a house.”

Mishka – “That floor is slippery. It is dangerous. He is finding treasure.”

The children participated in a shared reflection during group time to sort and categorise certain things as natural or man-made:

Joel – “Natural is like nature with wood and leaves and seeds.”

Aria – “Man-made is when it is in a factory.”

Tesi – “Man-made means it is built by people.”

We are very impressed by the children’s learning over the course of this term!

Our plants are living!

A few weeks ago, the children were given the opportunity to plant their own black beans. They followed the simple process of filling a clear cup with cotton wool balls, placing individual beans inside using one finger, and using the water sprayer to moisten the wool. The children then placed their bean cups onto a windowsill that catches sunlight throughout the day.

They children were curious to find out what they might become.

Some children suggested:

Kabir – “It is beans, it will grow into flowers.”

Blaise – “It will turn into a new body inside.”

Agam – “A turtle.”

The children have continued to document the changes,using their developing observation abilities to monitor the life cycle from bean to plant.

Ojasvi – “It’s going to crack out, then it’s growing some arms.”

Xavier – “It’s like a baby blueberry.”

Kanish – “It’s turning into a zig-zag. We have to grow it!”

The children have consistently watered their beans and ensured they have sunlight exposure to support their growth.

We have also read several books about seeds and growth, with children beginning to use relevant language and vocabulary within their responses.

Olivia – “There is the stem and maybe a leaf coming.”

Kunal – “The rain is cold, the sun comes out and it’s turns to a flower.”

Edward – “I can see the seeds they are going to grow.”

Imogen – “I can see it growing to a plant.”

In the coming weeks, we look forward to extending children’s learning about plants through the integration of key literacy terms and biology concepts, specifically what living things need to grow and survive. This has been a wonderful learning journey so far!

Continuation of Reconciliation Week learning

‘Reconciliation’ is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As a Nation, we strive towards equity, unity and mutual respect as we come together and connect with one another. The theme for 2020’s Reconciliation Week is all Australians are ‘In This Together’ and signifies that every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.

Last Tuesday was National Sorry Day. On this day, the children listened to the story ‘Sorry Day’ by Coral Vass (2018), which delicately uncovers the truths about the stolen generations. This sparked authentic learning conversations about our countries past and why it is so important we all participate in National Sorry Day on May 26. Some children shared…

  • “They sad cause they not with their family.” – Blaise
  •  “That is not a good choice.” – Immi
  •  “That makes me sad too.” – Aria
  •  “We say sorry to them Aboriginal people.” – Olivia
  •  “We can help them to be happy again, and fill buckets.” – Ellara

Furthermore, over the past fortnight, the children have continually been exposed to a range of experiences that represent Indigenous peoples culture’s and their unique contributions to Australian society. This has included sharing a range of Dreaming stories, such as ‘Welcome to Country’ by Aunty Joy Murphy & Lisa Kenedy (2016), learning to sing ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes/ Mukarta, Kartaka, Mampa, Tidna’ in the Kaurna language [the local language of the Adelaide region], as well as participating in several visual arts experiences based on traditional patterns, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags as well as the dreaming story ‘the Rainbow Serpent’. Interestingly, during Andreas’ visit to the library he noticed the story ‘Welcome to Country’ and chose this to borrow this to take him to his family. Thus, making excellent connections to his learning in his class.

On Friday this week, the whole ELC celebrated ‘World Environment Day’ with a shared Prayer time about God’s creation of the Earth and it’s inhabitants. Later on we re-visited the story ‘Welcome to Country’ which explores the connections between Indigenous peoples and the land. The children made some clear associations between their Indigenous learning and the natural environment, which has been a focus on inquiry so far this term.

  • “Like the environment” – Blaise
  •  “The people have land and we land together.” – Tesi
  •  “We can do natural things.” – Joel
  •  “We can grow things in the ground.” – Mason

We look forward to continuing this learning as we make further connections with and understandings about our First Peoples in the future.

Nature Play

On Tuesday, the children participated in a Nature Play SA incursion led by Cameron. The theme for the visit was ‘Cubbies and Dens’. During the incursion, the children engaged in a range of nature-based songs, games and activities. This included matching sounds and actions to animal images, reading the story ‘Not a Stick’ by Antoinette Portis, building their own cubbies, and creating colourful flag buntings to decorate them.

The children had a wonderful time during the incursion and continued to build forts and dens using many recycled materials throughout the week. We would love it if you could bring in any fabrics, tarps or other materials to assist us with our future creations.

The children also had the opportunity to plant their own beans in cotton wool as a connection to living and non-living things. As a provocation, they were asked what they think the beans may turn into. Here are a few of the responses…

Kanish – “Seeds turn into a apple tree.”

Kabir – “It is beans, it will grow into flowers.”

Blaise – “It will turn into a new body inside.”

Eva – “A spider maybe.”

Agam – “A turtle.”

Frankie – “They might turn into strawberry.”

We look forward to finding out what they grow into in the next few weeks, whilst supporting the children’s learning through links to the ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ story.

Learning in the ELC and beyond…

This week we continued to develop the children’s sense of belonging to Alive ELC, as well as the wider Holy Family School community.

At the beginning of the week, the children noticed that our pet turtle Strawberry’s tank was looking “a little bit dirty and smelly” (Imogen). This lead to some group problem solving where we discussed how we could help to fix the problem. The children shared their thoughts, including – “maybe we can take the water out” (Tesi), “and put in the clean water now” (Blaise). In response, both the Murraya [3-4 years] and Grevillea [4-5 years] children were eager to assist. The children took turns to scoop the water out using a small bucket, which we then re-used to water plants in the yard. Afterwards, we used the hose to refill the tank much to the amusement of all involved. Once the tank was full, we noticed that it was still dirty so we figured it was best to give Strawberry some fresh air. Many of the children took turns patting and waving to her in the yard.

Later in the week, Gerry the animal keeper at the School organised for some Year 6 students to come and fix Strawberry’s tank once and for all. They were more than willing to share their knowledge about caring for Strawberry. They even let the children help pump out water using a special device called a siphon.

Other adventures during the week, led groups of Grevillea and Murraya children to explore other areas of the school and meet new friends along the way. This included visiting the MUDLA where some children shared a lesson with a class from Holy Family about the Bearded Dragon. Some children were even brave enough to pat the lizard. Leo excitedly exclaimed, “I love the lizard!” after his turn. A group of older children also went to explore the school grounds including the playground (which was unfortunately still closed), the oval, the MUDLA and the courtyard full of leaves. Lexi was happy to share, “This is my big school soon, you know?”

We look forward to further connecting with the Holy Family School and their living creatures in the future.

Making connections between our learning environments and nature

This week, we have extended upon the children’s interest in the natural world by participating in our first Nature Play SA incursion, observing and documenting the growth of our caterpillars into chrysalis’ and butterflies, as well as taking nature inspired walks in the school grounds. On Tuesday, the children were actively engaged in an incursion called ‘Nature Arts and Crafts’ where they were introduced to Cameron and Maria who used Zoom to share a range of nature based songs, stories and games. The children really enjoyed the story ‘the Magic stick’ and finding their own ‘magic’ items in the garden, including one that was smooth and one that was bumpy. They then used their collections as well as sticks, leaves, seedpods, rocks, yarn and other materials to design their own natural masterpieces. These included:

Eva – “It’s a instrument thing. There is a drum and a guitar and a piano and you press them to make music.”

Xavier – “It’s a plate with a leaf and a stick going in there (inside the yarn).”

Jaylah – “It’s my pretty sticking. There is lots of leaves on there.”

These were shared with Cameron, Maria and Oscar and Emmett Standing (who joined us in the Zoom call). They were very impressed with our creations, as we were with Oscar and Emmett’s wonderful designs. We look forward to our next incursion on Tuesday 26th of May.

This week we also saw the wonderful transformation of our caterpillars into both Chrysalis’ and Butterflies. We noticed that there was a very big butterfly in the enclosure and the flowers inside didn’t look like they had much pollen left to feed it. When asked what we could do to help look after the butterfly (and perhaps find it some food), the children had some wonderful ideas, such as:

Tesi – “Get some flowers and take them outside to the flowers, just the butterflies.”

Imogen – “We could go for a little walk and release the butterfly.”

On Thursday, we took the children on a walk into Holy Family to release the biggest butterfly into the flowerbeds. They took the opportunity to not only release the flowers but also collect new flowers for our soon to be butterflies, as well as some beautiful coloured leaves for future arts and crafts experiences.

 

Explorations of the natural world

In the past few weeks, the children have demonstrated a keen interest in the natural world, which seems to have stemmed from the Moths that have been visiting our playground. This helped to guide our learning throughout the week as children were exposed to many engagements with the natural and living world.

Originally, we were curious to find out what Moths were visiting. Blaise suggested, “Lunar Moths”, whilst Charlotte instead believed they were in fact “Rain Moths.” After our research, we concluded that they were most likely rain moths and proceeded to investigate their appearance and life cycle. The children used matching experiences to represent their ideas. Throughout this process, Olivia communicated an interesting idea, “After they’ve been a caterpillar they go to a chrysalis and after a chrysalis they become a moth or maybe a moth.”

Building upon this theory, we looked into the Very Hungry Caterpillar story and uncovered that butterflies and moths do typically share the same lifecycle. Excitingly for us our caterpillar enclosure arrived on Thursday and we began to closely observe what we saw. Max shared, “It goes upside down like a silk and gets cocoon and transforms into a caterpillar.” Mattia observed, “The little caterpillar is eating the leaf”, and Mattia stated, “It gonna turn into a butterfly.” Amazingly, on Friday we had our first butterfly appearing from a Chrysalis. We therefore placed some colourful flowers into their enclosure to help feed them over the weekend. This excitement coincided with further visits from the Rain Moths, which children used as real-life models for their paintings. Noticing that the moths were perhaps a little overwhelmed we decided to place them on a tree in the yard. Tesi stated, “That is their nature. That’s where they live,  like their home.” Thus, Making a wonderful connection between the living world and a sense of belonging which we also experience as people.

Extending upon the notions of being grateful and caring for God’s creations in the living world, we also discussed how we could help to look after our new caterpillars and butterflies. Here were a few wonderful ideas.
Xavier – “By sitting down with the caterpillar.”
Aria – “Don’t unzip their home.”
Joel – “We look and listen and not poke them or break their home.”
Max – “To eat plant stems and leaves.”

Over the coming weeks we look forward to continuing our explorations into the natural and living world. This will include looking into the life-cycles of other creatures and continuing to observe and care for other living creatures at our ELC and Holy Family School.

 

Harmony Week

This week we have been learning about Harmony Day – a day that encourages all people to participate in their community with respect for cultural and religious diversity as well as helping to foster sense of belonging for everyone. The children engaged in a range of activities to explore the notion of togetherness and belonging as part of the local, national and international community. This included identifying and painting ‘flags of the world’, making a classroom wreath of identity and listening and responding to music from various cultures.

On Friday 20th of March, on Harmony Day, the Marraya children read the story “I’m Australian Too” by Mem Fox and sang the song ‘We are One’ which celebrates diversity in Australian society. Afterwards, the children discussed where they and their families are from. The countries included Ireland, Greece, Vietnam and India. The Gravillea children played a dice game with questions related to their families, such as ‘Where were you born?’, ‘Where is your family from?’ The children gave some wonderful responses and we learned a lot about others within our classroom community.

 

 

Ash Wednesday

Today we celebrated Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of Lent, a special time of 40 days in the lead up to Easter. During Lent, we are called to live the values of the Gospels such as kindness and compassion and to give to others.

This afternoon, children in St Anne had a special prayer service for Ash Wednesday. They learnt that purple is the colour used to represent the Lenten season and that the cross with ash on our foreheads reminds us to be kind and think of others, just like Jesus. We discussed ways we could fill each other’s buckets during Lent.

Charlotte said ‘Joel fills my bucket when he runs with me’.

Oscar said ‘my mum plays with me and that really fills up my bucket’.

Kunal said ‘I can help my friends and play with them’.

Children were invited to receive the ashes if they wished.