Early Learning Group News
As we have recently transitioned into two worlds, one of online home learning and one of on-site school learning, one of our challenges is to build connection and continuity between these two contexts. Our continuous learning plan aims to be that bridge, and over it, we can offer many rich learning experiences that are equally sustaining and developmentally engaging for the children.
A fantastic opportunity does exist to deepen our partnerships with families as we virtually step into each other's homes. By creating a welcoming and inclusive online and on-site environment, all involved in teamwork, children, families, and teachers are given opportunities to engage in ongoing learning and development.
We have enjoyed revisiting our Unit of Inquiry, "Who We Are," as we learn more about the children's lives at home and support them in connecting, whether they are learning online or on-site.
Recently, Kirsty Liljegren, an educational consultant, permitted us to share her thoughts and responses. We hope you find them helpful.
"I have been having conversations with families who are anxious about what it means for children to be missing school. It is impactful in so many ways, and of course, is circumstantial—a few thoughts from me in the hope that it reassures and eases some of the angst.
- Life is learning-it doesn't start and stop as children walk through the centre or school gates. You are your child's first teacher, and you always will be.
- Ordinary everyday moments are full of potential. Learning is sparked and enabled through curiosity, wonder, imagination, creativity, and conversation.
- Play is the vehicle for learning-children learn through being active with body, hearts, and mind working in harmony.
- The outdoors is an enriching classroom.
- Reading together is a verbal cuddle at any age.
- The arts support expression, communication, and the generation of ideas.
- Small moments matter; whatever you can manage is ok, be kind to yourself."
(Kirsty Liljegren, 2021)
The move to online learning
Both three and four-year-old groups have had an excellent start to online learning activities. It has been encouraging to see the feedback from families as the children engage with the learning activities. The small group Zoom sessions have been a truly positive experience for many children. We are so encouraged to see many of our quieter children feel confident to share more with their friends in the comfort of their home environment. We all hope to return to our regular program soon and make the most of this different way of learning and its benefits.
We celebrated Book Week with a dress-up day and many literature-rich activities. We were pleased to see so many budding authors amongst the children, with children writing their books with the help of their families at home or the educators on-site.
Reading storybooks has been of particular interest to our three-year-old group as many children participate in the MS Readathon this month. We have set up a book exchange for all families in the ELG courtyard. Please feel free to take a book home to read and bring a book back to replace it. Once again, we applaud the children's effort with the read-a-thon and their developing love of literacy.
As we draw towards the end of Term 3, we will continue a concentrated effort on fine motor skill development. Developing muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrists is a pre-cursor for writing in later years. The children are involved in lots of playful experiences to strengthen these muscles all year round. The 3-year-old group has practiced finger rhymes to isolate different fingers, learn how to hold a pencil, and use scissors correctly. In the coming weeks, the four-year-old group will build on this and write letters to each other to encourage drawing/writing development and stay connected.
Heading into Term Four, we will be investigating "How We Express Ourselves." This unit of inquiry will look at aspects of spoken language, visual arts, written language, and body language. We look forward to the learning this will bring.
MEL, TRACY, CADI, SALLY, DEBORAH & LISA
Early Learning Teachers