We have been lucky in the Cocoon to have had the opportunity to be together as a group. The children took full advantage of this opportunity as, for many, it was the one chance in recent months to play and socialise with children other than their siblings.
We found that the children just needed to "Be" in our ECC space for the first couple of weeks of term. To play freely, socialise and enjoy themselves. As educators, we have been very mindful that the children's world is very different and often confusing at the moment. The children have many wonderings and questions that we have addressed. However, the overarching fact that they are children and need to be children is significantly relevant right now. Whether we have had children in the centre or at home, we have ensured that they are getting the chance to connect.
Upon returning, we decided to continue with our inquiry unit of "Sharing the Planet." There were still many significant investigations underway, and the children's interests remained.
In the coming weeks, we will integrate our next unit of inquiry, "How the world works." We have started to see some relevant links that we feed nicely into this new unit that will focus around the central idea that, 'We construct theories about how the world works through playful exploration. 'During this unit, we hope to be looking at the design, construction, and building and experimenting with force, change, and function.
Do I need to wear a mask?
With new restrictions in place, we took to opportunity to discuss with the children their thoughts and understandings about keeping safe. Tracy from Penbank found an extremely relevant social story about wearing a facemask, and it provided an excellent provocation for discussion.
"Wearing a mask helps you not get coronavirus or bugs." Lara
What does a mask cover?
"mouth and nose." Scarlett
"How do you eat?" Sid
"How do you drink with it on." Billie
"I haven't got one is that ok?" Sid
A few children have decided that they wanted to wear a mask to and from school. However, we made sure they understood that they are not required to and that we are taking other safety measures like handwashing and regular cleaning to keep them safe throughout the day.
VEYLDF: Wellbeing; Children show increasing independence and competence in personal hygiene, care, and safety for themselves and others.
'Playground for the Birds': Sharing the Planet Inquiry
Upon returning to The ECC, the children continued to want to invite more wildlife into our garden. We were interested to know precisely what wildlife was currently coming to visit. The children were particularly interested in Birds. They decided to get out the binoculars and watch and record the variety of birds that they saw.
After a few days, we had a better idea of our birdlife and used it to decide what we should include in our' Playground for the Birds' in the ECC garden.
"There were 5 magpies." Theo
"Lots of noisy minors. They have orange beaks." Sid
"Waa came a lot too." Charlie
"And the Kookaburras. They laugh a lot." Byron
We have decided that there should be some birdhouses and birdbaths. Using a technique we had learned from Donna at the creek, the children made some pinch pot birdbaths out of clay. We are excited to see how they turn out after being fired in the Kiln. We are now trying to figure out how to arrange the birdbaths in the garden. There have been some exciting designs being created that include slides and waterfalls!
Why do birds need water?
"To have a bath." Isla
"Hey, birds don't even have baths; they just pick out the bugs with their beak." Charlie
"At my house, the chicken made a dirt bath in the veggie patch."Charlie
What happens if they get hot?
"Once it gets windy, they will come out of the nest and feel the wind and get cool." Charlie
"No, they use the breeze and fly." Isla
We watched some Australian birds using birdbaths.
"They love it!" Charlie
"Look at their feathers." Isla
"It's like he's swimming." Lara
-Children develop skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesizing, researching, and investigation.
-Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another.
Light in Space
Our inquiry into shadows and light has led us out into space.
The children became interested in planets in particular Earth. We discovered that many of the children were extremely knowledgeable about our universe.
"There is stuff all around the world called the atmosphere. The world is a circle." Jack
"It's a 3D circle." Maya "Yes, you call that shape a sphere." Emma
"The Earth spins, it spins into the dark and the light." Jack
"When it's dark, its bedtime." Amelie
"I have a globe, and I look at countries." Noah
"My grandparents live in another country; they came in a plane and spoke another language." Shreya
Byron found an exciting project in one of the books he was researching. He and a few the children were keen to make their globe and explore how Earth spun through light and darkness. Over a few sessions, the children worked collaboratively through many steps to create a Paper Mache Earth complete with countries and oceans.
Inside they created their planetarium and using a torch to represent the sun they explored day and night.
Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination, and reflexivity.
Campfires at the creek
Two weeks ago, at the creek, we had our very first campfire. In previous weeks the children had been busy collecting sticks and using imaginary play to act out a campfire. They were extremely excited to have an actual real fire.
However, before lighting the fire, we had to run through a safety briefing to ensure that everyone and our creek space was safe.
"We need red rope." Billie
"You can't walk in the rope." Amelie
"For safety, we had a little fire.' Scarlett
The children took turns to add a stick to the fire. Together we enjoyed singing a few songs and taking in the warmth of the flames.
This week we again had another campfire. The purpose was slightly different, though, as we used the fire to cook, toasting marshmallows.
We are saddened to know that we are moving back to our Continuous Learning Plan. However, we remain very positive that we will stay in contact and provide a rich, meaningful, and play-based program for your children.
We look forward to seeing you, your child, and possibly the whole family on Zoom soon.
Take care of each other, stay safe, and please don't hesitate to contact either us or the school for support. We are in this together and here for you.
EMMA, RACHELLE, KELLIE, MILLY & LISA