Schemas and learning through play and exploration

Schemas are described as patterns of behaviour which allow children to explore and express developing ideas and thoughts through play and exploration. The repetitive action of schematic play allow children to construct meaning in what they are doing.

Children learn best through opportunities to engage in active learning through hands on experiences. These opportunities allow children to problem solve, question, predict, explore, hypothesise, imagine and develop independent choices and decisions.

Children use play to develop understandings through their senes and movements as they interact with their environment, teachers, peers and resources.  Therefore, we carefully curate our learning environments to provide children with many opportunities to interact with a wide variety of materials and tools. We also support children’s schematic play patterns by building on children’s interests to engage in deep and sustained learning experiences.

The most common types of schema include:

  • Trajectory
  • Rotation
  • Enclosing
  • Enveloping
  • Transporting
  • Connecting
  • Positioning
  • Orientation

Over the past weeks, teachers and educators have observed children’s transporting schemas. This includes moving items from place to place, carrying objects in their hands, pockets or filling containers and buckets with collected objects and moving them to other places in our ELC. There has also been in a special interest in water play, filling buckets and containers with water and moving them around the centre.

This week we have provided children with items of varied shape, size and capacity including measuring jugs, cups, yoghurt and milk containers and spoons as well as different tubs and trays of water.

The children have been filling containers and transferring water to other containers or tubs of water. Through this experience, children have been building on and developing many skills and strategies.

This includes numeracy skills and demonstrating an understanding of measurement. Specifically, capacity and how containers can hold different amounts. Children have also been observed growing their mathematical vocabulary, using words such as fully, empty, overflowing, little, big and comparative language such as more than.

Alexander was observed pouring water from a jug into a container.

Alexander: “It filled up”

Nicole (teacher): “It’s overflowing now. Water is going over the top of the container”.

Alexander: “But I still got some left” (indicating that water was still remaining in the jug, despite the container being full).

Children have developed their social skills, too. Tavae and Henry worked collaboratively, taking it in turns to hold the container whilst the other poured water into it.

 

 

 

 

Creating Irresistible Learning with Loose Parts

As teachers and educators, we continually reflect upon our practice, observe and document children’s learning and incorporate children’s interests into the program to enable excellent learning outcomes for our children.

Over the past weeks, the teachers have been focusing on creating irresistible learning environments by providing opportunities for children to interact with a variety of materials and tools to express their knowledge, feelings, thoughts and understandings. Our teachers – Nicole, Michelle and Emmaline, along with our educators Palwinder, Namita and Alex have been researching the following question:

‘Where is the irresistible invitation? Providing environments and experiences that entice the imagination and create irresistible invitations for learning through play’.

We have been experimenting with providing a variety of loose parts in children’s play. Loose parts enables our children to explore the many possibilities of learning. Children bring to the materials their creativity, imagination, abstract thinking and problem solving skills.

As seen in this photo, Tavae has used loose parts to count and match the dots on the dice. With the dice and small wooden rounds, Tavae demonstrated his numeracy understandings and abilities – one to one correspondence when counting and matching amounts.

“Children do not wait for our permission to think. Indeed, children are bursting with ideas that are always impatient to escape through language (and we say a hundred languages) to connect and communicate with the things of the world.”  Loris Malaguzzi.

What is Nature? What Grows?

As we continue our project and inquiry ‘growth’, we are incorporating the use of digital technologies as a tool for children to express and further explore their knowledge, understandings, theories and concepts of our natural world.

Today the following questions were posed to the children whilst sitting outside in our garden:

What is nature?

What grows?

Children’s initial responses were:

Frankie: leaves

Krisha: tree

Kunal: I see birds.

Charlie: The trees and pears.

Ojasvi: I see it up there (points to the tree), the leaf.

These children were then invited to use the iPads to take photos e.g. Frankie to take a photo of leaves, Krisha of a tree, etc.

Arabella viewed one of her photos more closely.

Nicole: (teacher): What do you see?

Arabella: A leaf.

Nicole: Do you notice anything about this leaf?

Arabella: I see the lines on the leaf, a long line.

Nicole: I see that line too. Can you see any other lines?

Arabella: Some go there and there.

Nicole: I can see those lines too. I wonder why the leaves have these lines?

Arabella: They there to grow.

Other children such as Will, Liam, Ellara, Xavier and Jon became intrigued by the children photographing our environment. They added their theories about nature and growth and also took photos of their ideas.

Krisha: It’s the grass

Xavier: the tree

Omelia: the leaf

Jon: I photo the tree, the sky, the tree the sky.

Ojasvi: And the tree fell down.

Jon: I take photo of the grass.

Ellara: Plants and nature is Australian.

Will: A tree and I also took a photo of the sun and me.

During our afternoon group meeting, we shared the photos that children took during the day.

The questions were again posed to the children:

What is nature?

What grows?

The children responded:

Jon: Water

Arabella: Flowers

Olivia: Plants

Ellara: We can make the grow by seeds and water

Charlie: You put the seed in the ground and it grows

Kunal: I photo of the sun.

Sharing learning, ideas and understandings with each other enables children to not only express their own learning but to also learn from others. This group meeting gave children the opportunity to contribute to a growing and collective understanding of nature and the environment. Group meetings also encourage the understanding that learning is not a linear or isolated process but rather collaborative, ongoing and lifelong.

The children’s ideas and theories of nature and growth have evolved over the day and will continue to do so as we explore these questions in different ways, with different materials and tools and through opportunities to share with each other.

 

 

 

 

Exploring our Curriculum – Ecology and Numeracy

ECOLOGY

We explored some stems of cut sunflowers and sunflower seeds in the beautiful sunshine today. The children weren’t given the name of the flower or any information about it prior to interacting with it. They instinctively smelt the flower and invited me to do the same. They used their sense of touch to feel the petals and the centre of the flower – “it tickles” said Charlotte. They held the sunflower seeds in their hands and then planted them into our garden bed. They have a growing understanding of what plants need to grow – water and sun.

Charlotte: It’s a flower.
Omelia: It needs water.
Sarah: It’s big.
Omelia: And it needs sun
Charlotte: I want a sunflower for my mum.
Sarah: When is my seed growing.? Do you have to wait for it?
Mishka: Wow! You smell it. It a flower (Nicole gave her a seed). It for the birdy. They like it. They eat the seeds.
Will: It’s a yellow flower. It smells.
Tesi: I know what this is, it’s a sunflower. It look like the sun!

NUMERACY

We have begun to create our own shop with cash registers and some empty food and household boxes. Henry, Tarun, Jon and Xavier loved playing the shopkeeper and customer.

At our shop the children were taking the items to the light/dark room and then bringing them back to the cash registers at the table.

They were using greetings as they approached the cashiers – ‘hello!’ The cashiers were making a ‘beeping’ sound as they processed the items through the cash register. The cashiers were pressing numbers on the cash registers and then telling the customer the amount of money the item cost ‘$30 dollars’. The customers were passing money to the cashiers and then then saying ‘thank you, bye’.

Children were developing their oral language, engaging in transactional language, exchanging greetings and using their experiences in context; demonstrating numeracy understanding and concepts including number and money.

BRIANNA’S FAREWELL

The children have begun creating a farewell book for Brianna by creating an artwork for her and sharing what they are grateful for and love most about Brianna.

Tesi: Thank you Brianna for making all the lovely food for us. I like it when Brianna read stories to me.
Deanna: Brianna read me books and she make lovely food.
Simon: Brianna make me happy. She fills my bucket.
Charlotte: Brianna puts glitter in my bucket. She play with me.
Xavier: Brianna read stories to me.
Omelia: Thank you for Brianna being outside. Brianna play with me.
Joel: I like Brianna because she gives me food and does the prayer circle song.
Tavae: Brianna helps me with the blocks.
Will: I like her making lunch for us because I love it a lot.
Sarah: I like the food

PRAYER

During prayer today we read the book ‘Will You Fill My Bucket?’ by Carol McCloud. We then shared ways others have filled our bucket today.

Will: Tavae filled my bucket by playing with the trucks.

Joel: Mum and Dad make me feel nice and filled my bucket and I pat my dogs and that fill their bucket.

Simon: My mum and dad filled my bucket. They make me happy.

SPECKS OF GOLD

Tesi: My speck of gold is seeing all the pictures and seeing myself.
Jon: Playing in the sand and the water and doing the shopping.
Joel: Playing PJ masks and playing with Tesi and Omelia.
Mishka: Doctors.
Simon: Playing my friends.
Omelia: My speck of gold is playing with Tesi and Xavier and Joel and Sarah.
Xavier: Playing with Omelia.

Belonging Inquiry – Moon Lantern Festival

Our Philosophy:

We recognise the role of context and environment in children’s learning and therefore we will extend children’s learning experience into the wider community through connections with the school and wider school community.

Today we celebrated the Moon Lantern Festival with Holy Family Catholic School.

We attended the assembly at the school where we learnt more about the Moon Lantern Festival, watched some children perform a traditional Vietnamese dance and were enthralled by the lion dance (performed by Mr Stramare, Mrs Nicosia and Miss Batifuoco).

Mr White and Mr Slater also announced the winners of the lantern making competition – and ELC won! We won a prize for creativity. We were very proud!

For lunch, Brianna prepared fried rice and it was delicious!

Our Day – Tuesday 10th September 2019

 

We have had a beautiful day, enjoying the sunshine and engaging in lots of learning.

Our day began with some singing. Janine is a wonderful singer and guitarist. She played ‘Wheels on the Bus’ for us. We loved singing along with the actions.

This morning, a group of children visited the library. We read the book ‘Allergic Alpaca’

We discussed different parts of the story and shared what we liked about the book.

Will: She kicked the apple away and I liked the funny voice you were doing Nicole.
Arielle: The apples falling down.
Tesi: There was an avalanche and made boom, crash.
Omelia: There was apples falling on the tree.
Xavier: The applies.
Ellara: I liked about doing stuff the alpaca.

We then chose some picture books to read with a friend.

Once back at the ELC, we helped Nicole to clean our chicks brooding box and fill up their food and water containers. We then observed our chicks, and held them gently. They are so soft.

The theme of prayer today was belonging. We shared where we feel we belong and why.

In home 2, we engaged in a variety of provocations based on our interests and our inquiry projects of ‘belonging’ and ‘growth’. Some of us also worked with Nicole in a focused learning group, focused on writing our names and identifying the letters in our names.

Outside we enjoyed the glorious sunshine. We have been building our ‘belonging’ with group games. Today we were skipping together and playing games with the rope ‘jump the snake’.

Finally, we shared our specks of gold for the day.

Growth Inquiry – Chicks

Our Philosophy:

We will foster a sense of wonderment of the natural environment and resources as an integral part of children’s learning and support children to become ecologically conscious and to understand the interdependence of all living things.

We have been observing the growth of our chickens and taking care of them by changing their water and feeding them. We have also learnt how to handle the chicks very carefully and show kindness towards them when holding them.

We are beginning to notice some changes in our chicks such as their size and the shape and size of the feathers on their wings.

EARLY YEARS LEARNING FRAMEWORK

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world.

 

Family and Baby Photos

Dear Families,

This term our inquiry learning foci are ‘belonging’ and ‘growth’. To help develop children’s learning and understandings as they investigate through these inquiries it would be wonderful if you could please provide:

  • A family photo
  • 3-5 photos of your child that show how they have grown and changed e.g. a photo of them as a baby, 1 year old, 3 years old, etc

You are welcome to provide a printed copy of your photos or you can email them to Nicole.Tropeano-Atyeo@holyfamily.catholic.edu.au

 

Thank you so much for your support,

 

Nicole

Lead Teacher

Alive Early Learning

‘Living With Pets’ – Safety Talk

Our Philosophy:

We will provide and emergent and responsive curriculum for all children based from the philosophy of the service, provocations of educators and a child’s strength and interests as well as the interest of the group.

We will foster a sense of wonderment of the natural environment and resources as an integral part of children’s learning and support children to become ecologically conscious and to understand the interdependence of all living things.

On Wednesday afternoon a group of our children attended a safety talk with R/1TD and R/1GC in the school titled ‘Living Safely with Pets’.

As we continue to learn through our ‘growth’ inquiry, this talk was a wonderful opportunity for children to learn more about how to take care of living things – themselves and their pets.

We met a beautiful dog called Darcy whose owner taught us how to keep ourselves safe around dogs, including how to approach an unknown dog we would like to pat and what to do when faced with an angry dog.

EARLY YEARS LEARNING FRAMEWORK

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.