Early Learning Group News
What an excellent start to the year! It feels like minutes ago that your little ones came through the door yet, here we are half-way through the term! How far they have come in a short time.
"Who We Are"
"We are learning about ourselves and others as part of a learning community."
An inquiry into:
- How do my emotions impact myself and others?
- What choices can I make for my own and others wellbeing?
- How can I contribute to our learning community?
Our first Unit of Inquiry this year has provided us with an opportunity to support the children's sense of belonging to the Woodleigh learning community and help them feel valued and recognised for who they are and what they bring to our group.
As the children transition from home to our school community, our focus is on developing their sense of identity and supporting their emotional wellbeing.
We are currently working on helping the children develop vital skills such as saying goodbye and settling in for the day, learning the names of our friends and managing our feelings as we know to be part of a group.
We will be examining a broad range of emotions and reflecting on how they can impact us and others. As the children begin to understand belonging to a group and work with others, they will be challenged to use their prior knowledge to create solutions to everyday problems.
As we work together to develop a class agreement and establish rules for a happy year together, we will explore ways to show respect, be caring, open-minded and balanced. These learner attributes will be focussed on throughout the year but are of particular significance as we begin our year together.
We began the year with short group times that promoted learning each other's names, helped children learn the routines, and developed the children's ideas around how we can be respectful to ourselves, others, and the environment by being safe, fair, and kind.
We are incredibly proud of how well the children have settled into routines, become familiar with our space, and adjusted to having full days at Penbank. It has been a fantastic way to start the year.
The 3-year-old learners have all been interviewed by Tracy to share some thoughts about themselves, including their name, family members, interests, and the things they can do. This process has allowed the children to reflect on what makes them unique and different from the children around them. This learning experience has supported the children in feeling recognised and valued for who they are and developing their sense of identity.
We have also spent lots of time exploring social norms and how to be within groups. We have been thinking about personal space and learning appropriate ways to react when others enter our personal space. We have also explored taking turns and stepping back and waiting, even when we want to a turn now! The children have loved reading stories about playing safely on equipment, showing kindness and being a "space invader", and it is great to see them relating their learning to these simple stories.
As we progress into the term, we will be moving into exploring more about families. Families are a big part of a child's self-identity, and as such, we will start to think about what makes our family important to us, where our families come from, and how our family might be different to our peers'.
The four-year-old group has used the Woodleigh leaf to promote children's thoughts about how we can have a great year together, where everyone feels safe, we are fair and treating each other with kindness. The children identified the leaf is part of their uniform and can be found around the school and in abundance in nature. Some children collected leaves, and we then drew them using the light table, and many of the children shared ideas such as sharing, being gentle and taking turns. We now have a beautiful display of them in our room.
Being part of the ELC is an integral part of a child's life where they learn about self-identity and their relationships with others (outside of family). In our program, the children have the opportunity to practice social skills. For many children, the four-year-old year is when maturation allows children to understand how they can regulate their emotions. To support children as they learn techniques for calming themselves and finding quiet and relaxation, we practice simple tai chi, breathing and visualisation exercises in each session. It can be more challenging for some children than others, and we commend the whole group for their efforts. By the end of the exercises, there is a beautiful sense of peace in the room.
To support the children's connection to the ELC and help them feel recognised and valued at Kinder, we have begun our Kinder Family Tree. Some children have started sharing their "All About Us" family page at group time. They are lovely, and the information is fantastic for discussing and acknowledging the family's uniqueness and individuality and similarities. We share one All About Me page each day to allow the children to concentrate and focus on the mat. Thank you to the families who have returned the pages but don't worry if you haven't yet. We are taking our time sharing!
We started to explore the broader school grounds, with groups visiting areas of interest while also practising how we safely walk together. Our walks are also a great time to voice ideas, thoughts and listen to one another. Many of us feel that animals provide a special connection to nature, and the Penbank chooks have been a real tonic for many children. We have enjoyed watching, holding and petting the chickens. A favourite spot has been the mulberry tree, which provides a beautiful natural cubby space for us to sit and talk. Some children have also wandered to the school veggie patch and used the visits to promote discussion about growing vegetables ourselves, and others have now been to the library.
We have begun Bush Kinder with such great enthusiasm. Our orientation was very successful and allowed the children to start to get a sense of the site whilst also setting the guidelines for safety and learning the procedures and expectations. We will become more familiar with the routines every week, and we look forward to exploring the space through the rest of the term!
Always provide a full set of spare clothes – name everything, please!
Please bring in a pair of gumboots to keep at the ELC
On Bush Kinder days for the 4-year-old group, please bring spare clothes in a separate bag (the children won't then have to carry all their extra clothes to Bush Kinder).
Reviewing the amount of food provided in lunch boxes - We have noticed that some children have been bringing so much food that they cannot eat it all. While educators will always encourage children to eat, we do not wish to force children to eat all of their food when there is too much. Please review how much food is coming home in their boxes and adjust the amount given accordingly.
MEL, TRACY, CADI, SALLY, DEBORAH & LISA
Early Learning Teachers