Belonging, Being and Becoming

At Alive ELC, we are committed to the enacting of the Early Years Learning Framework and strive to uphold the vision for children’s learning which is opitimised by the notions of Belonging, Being and Becoming.

We appreciate children’s identities and their experiences of belonging to their family, culture groups, neighbourhoods and the wider community. Recently, we have focused on individual and family portraiture, as well as community and cultural events, such as the mid-autumn festival where children created their own moon lanterns for the Holy Family School celebration. Furthermore, our continual promotion of relationships between children, educators and families are seen as fundamental to who children are and who they can become.

We celebrate the here and now in children’s lives and honour their time to be, to seek and to make meaning of their world. Recently, this has included role-play and imaginative explorations, as well as creating racetracks to explore identity and take on the roles of e.g. track marshal and traffic light attendant. Thus, promoting the collaboration, co-operation and sense of being as part of our early learning community.

In accordance to our Alive vision, we are committed to being a learning environment where futures begin. Our practices therefore, reflect and respond to the significant changes that contribute to who the children are becoming as valued members of society. This includes providing children with opportunities to develop their own unique identities, knowledge, understandings, capacities, skills and relationships. We value our connection to Holy Family School and use this partnership to provide meaningful opportunities for children to actively participate in experiences on offer in the school. Recently, this has included Buddy class visits, Dining Hall, Library visits and Whole School assemblies.

Caring for our World – Ecological understandings and choices

This week, something unfortunate occurred when the head of the tap burst off shooting water off into a large puddle in the playground. When this occurred, the children were given the provocation, “I wonder what we can do with the water?”

Mason – “It could go on the plants.”

Ryder – “They (the plants) drink the water.”

Xavier – “It makes them (the plants) grow so we don’t waste water.”

Tavae – “It drinks them (the water) and the sun helps them (the plants) grow too.”

The children made made further ecological connections to the term inquiry and our ongoing focus on spirituality.

Imogen – “The plants are God’s creation. If we don’t look after them they would die and he would be sad.”

Olivia F – “God also created the water so we can’t waste that either. That’s why we use it to water the plants. It makes them grow.”

The children demonstrated their problem-solving abilities whilst suggesting creative and innovative solutions which turned a problem to a success. We are proud of the children and the way they were able to use their own evolving knowledge to care for aspects of our natural world.

Connections to the School

This week the children have continued to develop their connections to the Holy Family School Community. This has included visiting the Log Park, participating in Spanish class as well as joining year 3 for ‘investigate play’ time on Friday morning. We see these visits as valuable opportunities for children to engage with and develop a sense of belonging to the School Community. Thus, providing authentic learning engagements that will help children to build connections and partnerships that support them in feeling confident in their transition to School. The social and varying contextual aspects will contribute to the transitions of all children including those moving on to Holy Family or to a school on a different site.

We look forward to building further connections with Holy Family over the course of this year and beyond.

Caring for our play resources

Over the course of the term, the children have been introduced to a range of new and exciting resources to play with. This week, there was a specific interest in the ‘coloured walking platforms’ which involve children using the plastic base platform, foot bands and ropes to integrate whole body movements.

The ‘coloured walking platforms’ encourage children to develop fundamental movement skills such as balance, control and co-ordination, as well as crossing the midline and maintaining core strength and stability. Throughout the week, the children demonstrated their perseverance and resilience whilst problem-solving how to use the resources. This also enabled children to make connections between past movement experiences and to integrate similar thinking in their engagements.

Furthermore, having ongoing access to the walking platforms seemed to support the children in exploring positive social skills and behaviours. Many children were observed inviting others to use the walking platforms as well as role modelling and instructing their friends on how to use them effectively. This also included embedding themes and ideas from familiar stories into imaginative play opportunities.

Exposure to a variety of resources will continue to promote children’s evolving sense of pride and responsibility towards their environments and the objects within them. We will use this to emphasise the need to care for and respecting our shared resources and possessions so that we can enjoy them together both now and into the future.

I measure and compare my world

As part of our inquiry for term 3, the children have been encouraged to observe and investigate aspects of the world around them. Over the past fortnight, several children have demonstrated their evolving inquisition towards the quantifiable attributes of objects such as their height, length and weight. This has coincided with exposure to our new measurement resources, such as metre rulers, tape measures, 30m winding measure and formal weight scales. The children have extended their theories and meaning making in collaboration with their friends.

Certain investigations have included, exploring the weight of small bears in comparison to counters, working out how many blocks their are in a metre ruler,  finding out how many blocks for fit on a scooterboard, as well as lots of measuring of ourselves.

This has raised some interesting ideas in relation to the concept of measurement:

Xavier – “This is heavier (counters) then those (bears).”

Mason – “That one (ruler) is longer than that (block).”

Jon – “This is very heavy (blocks).”

Tavae – “Mine is even heavier too (blocks).”

We will continue to scaffold children’s learning by embedding relevant language and drawing their attention towards possible comparisons that can be made between objects. This will support them in developing further understandings about measurement as well as the interconnectivity between themselves, their resources, their environments and the world around them.

What is an Inquiry? What is our Inquiry?

This term in St Anne’s, our learning will be guided by the Inquiry topic: How do we care for ourselves, our friends, our resources and our world? An inquiry offers a meaningful opportunity for children to have their evolving curiousities, passions and theories acknowledged and reflected in the learning program. Throughout the inquiry process, educators and the environments play an integral role in the scaffolding and co-constructing of children’s knowledge. Moreover, social interactions and learning relationships are seen as the basis of all learning in early childhood education. Through meaningful collaboration and co-operation children are therefore supported in developing an authentic sense of belonging to their communities and the world around them.

A current passion driving our inquiry is investigations into the abstract portraiture of the visual artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. This has encouraged children to express their knowledge through multiple forms of expression including collage, mark-making and designing 3D model arrangements. Throughout these experiences, the children have experimented with and explored the artistic concepts of colour, shape, symmetry, position and balance. Furthermore, the underlying theme of healthy nutrition has supported children in considering and developing meaningful understandings about healthy nutrition being one way that we can care for ourselves.

We look forward to exploring new ways of expressing our knowledge over the coming weeks.

How do we care for ourselves, our friends, our resources and our world?

Welcome back to term 3,

This term, our learning will be guided by the Inquiry topic: How do we care for ourselves, our friends, our resources and our world?

In week one, the children have been encouraged to explore a range of open-ended play opportunities to express their ideas and knowledge with new and existing learning materials and play resources. The educators have closely observed how the children have interacted and shared their knowledge in collaboration with those around them. This information will be used to inform future planning for our inquiry.

In the classroom, the children have thoroughly enjoyed exploring our new light room resources. They experimented with making shadows, puppets and investigating the scientific concepts of reflection and refraction whilst moving the torches at different angles in front of the transparent, coloured sensory blocks.

Some children were eager to shared their ideas:

Eva – “It can make a crocodile shadow with the lights.”

Lovenne – “When I put the light in my hand it can look like blood because it’s red.”

Joel – “That glows on the wall. Because it’s like see through but glowing.”

The children have also experimented with loose parts materials that Steve collected from ‘It’s not Garbage’. The children used their imagination to create ‘spinning tops’ (Ryan and Kabir), ‘bracelets’ (Jon and Ojasvi) and ‘music strings’ (Xavier) using items such as CD’s, elastic strings, piping rings and pipe cleaners.

In the outdoor classroom, the children have been exposed to new physical activity equipment. They have used the scooter boards to move around the play space using their developing gross motor strength, balance, control and co-ordination. Resources, such as scooter boards are a safe way for children to expand their energy in a safe way, whilst also capitalising on the existing playground design. The children were also intrigued by the new bike which they helped Steve to build. We look forward to using these bikes in the coming weeks.

We would love any feedback on how your child(ren) care for themselves, their friends, their resources and their world to help support our inquiry over the course of this term.

Thank you in advance.

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!