2 A Note from Nerrilee Adventures - Rated as “Exceeding” against the National Quality Standards.On 30 and 31 January 2014, as children and parents started care for the first time, ‘old’ Adventurers returned and staff were familiarising themselves with the children and new routines, we were also being closely watched and rated against a prescriptive set of criteria (National Quality Standards – NQS) determined by ACECQA (Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority).The provision of quality childcare is always our priority. It is essential that all staff understand the regulatory environment we work in, our mandatory and legislative reporting responsibilities, the current best practice in terms of caring for young children and the provision of an excellent educational program, which is constantly being reviewed in light of new research.I am delighted to officially announce that Adventures staff pulled together during our quality accreditation and rating visit and have been recognised as “Exceeding” the National Quality Standards. What is truly reassuring, is that we operated as we would on any other day (minus the butterflies)!So what does it mean:The quality standards are both comprehensive and demanding which means that it is often a challenge for services to “Meet” the standards. Based on figures available in Nov 2013 only 14% of services have received “Exceeding”, 29% “Meeting” 56% “Working Towards” the NQS.We are fortunate to have a committed team of exceptional educators and such a supportive parent body to work with to ultimately make Adventures a great place for young children to grow and learn.
3 ADVENTURES APPROVED FOR PENNANT HILLS!! On Wednesday 12 March 2014 Hornsby Council unanimously approved our development application to build a brand new Adventures Preschool and Long Day Care at:23 Bellamy Street, Pennant Hillsfor updates on the new development.
4 Winners to be announced on Wed 30 April. Breaking NewsWinners to be announced on Wed 30 April.Thank you for voting!
5 Adventures Diary 2nd March – Clean Up Australia Day 17th March - St Patrick’s Day (Wear Green)21st March – Harmony Day ( Wear Orange)27th March – Crazy Hair Day (World’s Greatest Shave)29th March- Earth Hour18th April- Good Friday20th April- Easter21st April- Easter Monday25th April- ANZAC Day27th April – Adventures 5th Birthday6th May – National Asthma Day (Wear PJ’s to School)11th May – Mother’s Day9th June – Queens BirthdayCentre ClosedFriday 18th AprilMonday 21st AprilFriday 25th AprilMonday 9th June
6 Congratulations Rochelle With her usual grace and composure, Rochelle has successfully completed her Bachelor of Teaching graduating on: Friday 28 March 2014 from the University of New England
7 National Quality Framework Quality Assurance RatingThe rating systemThe National Quality Standard is accompanied by a national quality rating and assessment process that reflects a national approach to the assessment and reporting of the quality of education and care services across the variety of service settings.The availability of this information promotes transparency and accountability and will help parents make informed choices regarding the quality of education and care at a service. Each service will receive a rating for each quality area and an overall rating. These ratings must be displayed by the service and will be published on the website of the new national body, ACECQA, and the MyChild website.Five rating levelsThere are five rating levels within the national quality rating and assessment process.Excellent—indicates that a service demonstrates excellence and is recognised as a sector leader (services who have received Exceeding as their rating can go for Excellence but will need to pay for this process to happen).Exceeds National Quality Standard—indicates that a service is exceeding the National Quality Standard.Meets National Quality Standard—indicates that a service is meeting the National Quality Standard.Working towards National Quality Standard—indicates that a service is working towards meeting the National Quality Standard.Significant improvement required—indicates that a service is not meeting the National Quality Standard and that the regulator is working closely with the service to immediately improve its quality (otherwise the service’s approval to operate will be withdrawn).The objectives of the National Quality Framework are:To ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending education and care servicesTo improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care servicesTo promote continuous improvement in the provision of quality education and care servicesTo establish a system of national integration and shared responsibility between participating jurisdictions and the Commonwealth in the administration of the National Quality FrameworkTo improve public knowledge, and access to information, about the quality of education and care servicesTo reduce the regulatory and administrative burden for education and care services by enabling information to be shared between participating jurisdictions and the Commonwealth.Improvements:Staff room upgrade; updating the staffroom to allow the staff a restful place to have their breaks.Gardening with the children, to continue our focus on sustainabilityHigher Toddler (2-3yrs) ratio. Providing the children with more staff in the high peaks of the day.
8 What do we mean by ‘positive behaviour’ For young children, learning what is considered positive or desirable behaviour is complex. The EYLF Early Years Learning Framework) and the NQS (National Quality Standards, especially Quality Areas 1, 4 and 5) suggest that over time children learn to:Regulate their behaviour, become less impulsive and more thoughtful about actionIdentify and accept their feelings and express them appropriatelyShow respect and concern for othersRecognise others’ feelings and respond appropriatelyBe comfortable with diversity and differenceIdentify and understand the kinds of behaviour expected in different contexts and situations- for example, in their family and at preschoolThe aim is for children eventually to be able to guide their behaviour without always relying on adult guidance or external rewards or punishments- in other words, to be motivated internally by care and respect for self, others and the physical world. This is a lifelong and challenging aim to achieve. It takes a long time, a lifetime, to learn what positive behaviour is and to act in positive ways. And there are many twists and turns, confusing directions, obstacles and setbacks along the way.As adults we fail at times to act within the rules and do what we should do- for example, we drive over the speed limit or eat too much!
9 Screen Time and the implications for children’s health In today’s society we are increasingly using electronic media as a means of communication, education and recreation.Social media is fast becoming the main method of young people keeping in touch. There has been a rapid increase in the variety of television channels and the amount of electronic film clips and data being uploaded and much of the education program is now run online on computers.This has led to a rapid increase in the amount of screen time our children are experiencing. Many investigators have looked at how this may be affecting our children and several recommendations have been made by health authorities about optimal screen times for differing stages of the developing brain.The newborn baby has an immature brain with a very large number of incompletely developed pathways which go on to develop full sensory awareness and motor control his or her body, to intentionally propel and move arms and legs, to develop an awareness of the body’s position in space, and determine whether s/he is sitting, standing or walking.In the first two years of life there is rapid maturation of the brain and nervous system and strengthening of the muscular system as the baby learns to move around, walk and talk. During this time of rapid coding and programming of the developing brain under the age of two, children should have no screen time at all. They already have enough new sensations bombarding their learning centres from the messages coming from their own bodies, as well as their surrounding environment and through the voices of those around them. It is somewhat like a new library sorting out its filing system and reference manual, so that it can match and evaluate new experiences.
10 It is thought that the flickering and constant verbal noise from television can be quite unsettling to a young baby. Their eyes are drawn to the ever-changing bright lights and they can be seen to stare at the screen in a non-interactive way.From two years of age it is recommended that children should have no more than one to two hours of television viewing each day. It is becoming more common for children of this age to be allowed to play with iPads and mobile phones to keep them occupied, but this really constitutes screen time and should be calculated in the recommended time usage at this age.On commencing school, the use of computers and television will increase with the curriculum, but the recommendation remains that there should be no more than two hours of recreational screen time, including games, videos or phone screens per day.Increased levels of screen watching can lead to:Increased levels of emotional distressAnxiety and depressionIncreased levels of obesitySleep disturbancesWe must not forget that social media, video games and computer usage are all considered to be screen usage time and should be included in the calculation of total screen time.It is strongly recommended that television should not be used in bedrooms or at meal times or homework times. Television viewing in younger children should be co-viewing which offers the opportunity not only to monitor what is being viewed, but also provides a discussion medium for what is viewed.With the advent of spring and summer, children should be encouraged to play outdoors and to be involved in more active play for their general fitness, as well as their balance and coordination.
11 Child Protection Policy Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and many of the principles within the Convention are embedded within child protection legislation. Whilst Parents and Educators/Staff are responsible for the safety and welfare of children in their care, protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect is the responsibility of the whole community.Educators/staff at this Service believe they have a responsibility to all children attending the Service to defend their right to care and protection. To support this right, the Service will follow the procedures covered within this policy, when dealing with any reportable allegations, to ensure the protection of all children attending the Education and Care Service. Approved Providers, Nominated Supervisors, Educators, and Staff Members are aware of their responsibilities to respond to every child at risk of abuse or neglect.The Service believes it also has a responsibility to its employees to defend their right to confidentiality unless allegations against them are substantiated. The Education and Care Service will ensure all groups affected by this policy, are aware of the roles and responsibilities that the Education and Care Service has in relation to Child Protection.The Education and Care Service will implement preventative procedures which protect and educate Children, Educators, Staff, Parents, and Community Members.The Education and Care Service will ensure that all requirements of Child Protection Legislation are being met.Under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, there are provisions where Education and Care Service staff, have child protection concerns about a child/ren. Education and Care Services play an important role in recognising and reporting child abuse and neglect, and in promoting the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children. This legislation states that all people who hold a management position, or who are employees delivering Education and Care Services, are legally obliged to report any reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at significant risk of harm.This means that if you work in an Education and Care Service you are a mandatory reporter. It also includes those involved in the management of an Education and Care Service.Who is affected by this policy?ParentsChildrenEducatorsManagementVolunteersStudentsAncillary StaffService VisitorsGeneral Community
12 ResponsibilitiesEducation and Care Services StaffReport any case where a child is suspected to be at risk of significant harm to the Child Protection Mandatory Reporters Helpline onPromote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people at your Service.Where concerns of harm do not meet the significant harm threshold, be aware of referring agencies for families.Be aware of the New South Wales Mandatory Reporter Guide.Assist in supporting children and families in partnership with NSW Government Human Services Community Services and other government agencies.It is important to remember that all employees, members of staff and Educators (and the Approved Provider) are mandatory reporters for NSW Government Human Services Community Services. The Education and Care Service procedure states that reports regarding a child at risk of significant harm are to be made by the Nominated Supervisor or Approved Provider. However, if the Nominated Supervisor or Approved Provider has not made a report to the Child Protection Hotline, you (Staff Member) continue to be legally responsible to do so.It is the responsibility of the person suspecting the risk of child protection to ensure that a report is made.Education and Care Services Employer Ensure that all employees, members of staff or Educators are:Clear about their roles and responsibilities under current Acts and Regulations.Aware of their obligations to immediately report to the Child Protection Hotline a child that they suspect is at risk of significant harm, and procedures for reporting.Aware of indicators when a child may be at risk of harm or significant harm.Provide training and development for all employees, members of staff or Educators in the recognition and reporting of suspected risk of harm.Provide reporting procedures and professional standards for care and protection work generally.Conduct the Working with Children Check.Report to the NSW Ombudsman, any reportable allegations and convictions made against an employee, volunteer or student and ensure that they are investigated by the Head of Agency, with the appropriate action to be taken in relation to finding.Notify the Commission for Children and Young People details of employees, members of staff or Educators against whom relevant disciplinary proceedings have been completed, or of persons whose employment has been rejected primarily because of a risk identified in employment screening processes.Enable employees, members of staff or Educators access to Acts, Regulations and procedures where this is necessary for them to fulfill their obligations.
13 Other Agencies In dealing with Child Protection in Education and Care Services it may be necessary to work with other agencies, these agencies also have responsibilities – these responsibilities are; Child Protection HelplineReceive and assess reports of children who are at risk of significant harm.Investigate and assess reports where there is a likelihood of risk of significant harm to the child or a class of children.In cases involving child sexual abuse or serious physical abuse, plan, conduct and manage, with Police (and NSWHealth where a medical examination and/or counseling or support are needed), joint investigation, through Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRT).Provide, arrange and request care and / or support services for children and families.Informs reporting agencies of the progress and outcomes of assessments and investigations as permitted by law, and as appropriate.Child Wellbeing UnitTo help and identify whether a case meets the new threshold of risk of significant harmNSW Ombudsman’s OfficeMonitors the investigation of and in some cases investigates reportable allegations made against employees in government and non-government agencies, such as Education and Care services.The Ombudsman must be notified of all allegations of abuse or neglect of a child by one of the employees.For the purposes of the Ombudsman’s legislation an employee includes someone who is helping out as a volunteer.The Commission for Children and Young PeopleMonitors trends and makes recommendations to government and non-government agencies on legislation, policies, practices and services affection young children.Provides guidelines relating to employment screening for child related employment and maintains database of relevant disciplinary proceedings.ImplementationStrategies for creating a child protective environment will be adopted and followed at the Service.Employer and employee responsibilities in relation to reportable allegations are included in staff handbooks. Theseresponsibilities are highlighted to new staff members at their induction. (Refer to information sheet on “Notification of those involved in Education and Care Services” –in this policy).Staff members will be encouraged to attend training on child protection.Any reportable allegations in respect of a child attending the Education and Care Service made against the head of agency or a staff member must be reported to the Ombudsman Office within 30 days after the day on which the allegation was made.Indicators of Abuse There are many indicators of child abuse and neglect. The following is a guide only. One indicator on its own may not imply abuse or neglect. Each indicator needs to be considered in the context of other indicators and the child’s circumstances.
14 General indicators of abuse and neglect marked delay between injury and seeking medical assistancehistory of injurythe child gives some indication that the injury did not occur as statedthe child tells you someone has hurt him/herthe child tells you about someone he/she knows who has been hurtsomeone (relative, friend, acquaintance, sibling) tells you that the child may have been abusedIndicators of Neglect in childrenpoor standard of hygiene leading to social isolationscavenging or stealing foodlonging for adult affectionlacking a sense of genuine interaction with othersacute separation anxietyself comforting behaviors, e.g. rocking, suckingdelay in development milestonesuntreated physical problemsIndicators of Neglect in parents and caregiversfailure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical attention, hygiene or leaving the child inappropriately without supervisioninability to respond emotionally to the childchild abandonmentdepriving or withholding physical contactfailure to provide psychological nurturingtreating one child differently to the others Indicators of Physical Abuse in childrenfacial, head and neck bruisinglacerations and weltsexplanations are not consistent with injurybruising or marks that may show the shape of an objectbite marks or scratchesmultiple injuries or bruisesingestion of poisonous substances, alcohol or drugssprains, twists, dislocationsbone fracturesburns and scaldsIndicators of Physical Abuse in parents and caregiversdirect admissions from parents about fear of hurting their childrenfamily history of violencehistory of their own maltreatment as a child visits for medical assistance. Indicators of Emotional Abuse in childrenfeeling of worthlessness about theminability to value otherslack of trust in people and expectationsextreme attention seeking behaviorsother behavioral disorders (disruptiveness, aggressiveness, bullying)Indicators of Emotional Abuse in parents and caregiversconstant criticism, belittling, teasing of a child or ignoring or withholding praise and affectionexcessive or unreasonable demandspersistent hostility, severe verbal abuse, rejection and scapegoatingbelief that a particular child is bad or “evil”using inappropriate physical or social isolation as punishmentexposure to domestic violence
15 Indicators of Sexual Abuse in children they describe sexual actsdirect or indirect disclosuresage inappropriate behaviour and/or persistent sexual behaviourself destructive behaviourregression in development achievementschild being in contact with a suspected or know perpetrator of sexual assaultbleeding from the vagina or anusinjuries such as tears to the genitaliaIndicators of Sexual Abuse in parents, caregivers of anyone else associated with the childexposing the child to sexual behaviours of otherssuspected of or charged with child sexual abuseinappropriate jealousy regarding age appropriate development of independence from the familycoercing the child to engage in sexual behaviour with otherchildrenverbal threats of sexual abuseexposing the child to pornographyIndicators of Domestic Violence in childrenshow aggressive behaviourdevelop phobias & insomniaexperience anxietyshow systems of depressionhave diminished self esteemdemonstrate poor academic performance and problem solving skillshave reduced social competence skills including low levels of empathyshow emotional distresshave physical complaints.
16 Congratulations to: Professional Development Goodbye, Good Luck and WelcomeKate has been a joy to work with and an inspiration to children, families and staff. We miss her dearly and wish her & Jimmy all the best in their new endeavours.Thank you to Laura and Rochelle for stepping in to lead the two preschool groups and Sofia for taking up the challenge to lead the Explorers.Welcome to Melissa who has joined the Discoverers’ Room (Mon, Tues and Wed) and thanks to Tessa for agreeing to increase her days to include Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri).Congratulations to:The Moujalli Family on the birth of their beautiful baby girl April.The Peacock Family on the birth of their beautiful baby boy Miller.The Praveen Family on the birth of their beautiful baby girl Samara.The Kyprianou Family on the birth of their beautiful baby boy Saxon.Professional DevelopmentLaura will be spending time with the Discoverers in April to complete a practical component of her degree.Kayla will be off site in April for three weeks to complete a practical component of her teaching degreeLaura and Nerrilee - Young Learners Congress - Technology and EC.Hellen - NSW Health Munch and MoveKayla – Team LeadershipJess – Hills Directors Network MeetingNerrilee, Laura, Jess and Kayla – KidsMatter Intro and overviewSofia, Jess M, Jenna,& Lana – Diploma Children’s ServicesDaniel & Tessa – Certificate III Children’s ServicesWhole Team – Customer ServiceWhole Team – Identifying and Responding to BullyingWhole Team – Teaching Protective BehavioursWhole Team – Teaching Strategies
17 A message from Munch & Move First FoodsIntroduce smooth, soft food first and then progress to a broader variety of food textures. The first solid food offered to baby in small amounts (one or two teaspoons) is usually iron-fortified infant cereal because it is smooth, easy to digest and easy to mix with breast milk, infant formula or cooled boiled water to produce a sloppy consistency.Other suitable first foods include:Soft cooked and smooth pureed (finely-mashed) vegetables e.g. pumpkin, sweet potato, potatoSoft cooked and smooth pureed fruits (e.g. pureed, stewed apples or pearsWell-cooked, pureed lean red meat.Gradually change the texture of food between six to 12 months of age to help babies develop their eating skills. By about eight months of age, most babies will be able to handle mashed foods with soft lumps and soft finger foods.
18 Community Involvement The children, families and our service do not exist in isolation. We are all part of a much wider community. In most communities, the service is one of a range of services that support families with children. When nominated supervisors, educators and co-ordinators develop links, share information, and work in collaboration with other community organisations they are better able to achieve the best outcomes for children and families using the service.The community events, and services that we have celebrated, raised awareness for and used this past term are include; Chinese New Year, Australia Day, Harmony Day, Crazy Hair Day, St Patrick’s Day and Valentines Day!Chinese New YearAustralia Day
19 Discoverers’ NewsFirst term is busy with our main goal being to settle the children in and assisting them to develop a sense of belonging within the room and ensuring that they have established a trusting relationship with one or more educators. It has been wonderful watching the children familiarise themselves with their new surroundings. Exploring new toys and being involved in new experiences that have allowed them to feel safe and secure whilst at Adventures.It has also been an important time to build trusting and respectful relationships with our new families, which has been a positive experience. The children and families have adjusted well to this transition and it is wonderful to see the children now happily settled.Learning Outcome 1- Children feel safe, secure and supportedEYLF Principle- Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships; PartnershipsWe celebrated Australia Day in January with the children creating their own Australian coloured group paintings with a variety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Australian colours. We danced and sang to different Australian songs the children enjoyed using the ribbons to explore different movements they can make. We also celebrated Chinese New Year exploring different types of music, food and painting with traditional Chinese colours. Learning Outcome 2- Children are connected with and contribute to their world (DEEWR, 2009; p.25).EYLF Practices- Intentional Teaching; Learning Environments; Holistic Approaches; Responsiveness to children; Cultural Competence., (DEEWR, 2009; p.14-16;).EYLF Principle- Respect for Diversity., (DEEWR, 2009, p.13).
20 The children have been interested in a lot of sensory experiences over the last two months. This sensory play includes, messy play (finger painting, play dough) , sounds, sight (using mirrors and flashing toys) and also touch through the use of small sensory pillows.When engaging in play such as this the children are developing a range of scientific skills and processes such as, inquiry, researching and investigating. While doing this they are developing strong dispositions for learning such as curiosity and enthusiasm.Play provides a supportive environment where children can engage in critical thinking and problem solving and can expand their thinking and their desire to know and learn. As educators it is our role to use spontaneous teachable moments to scaffold learning and build on their existing knowledge and skills which will enhance their learning.Learning Outcome 4- Children develop a range of skills such as investigation, hypothesising and inquiry. (DEEWR, 2009, p. 35).EYLF Practice- Responsiveness to children; Intentional teaching; Learning through play; Holistic approaches. (DEEWR, 2009; p.14-16;).One of our main focuses this term has been sustainability practices. We have introduced our new garden which is beginning to look well established full of colour and vibrancy. Thank you to the families who have brought in a plant for their child. Sustainability is an important part of our everyday practice. The children thoroughly enjoy watering our garden and watching as they change and grow each week. The children have also showed us their creativity and the different ways they can incorporate recycled resources into their play. We have seen old paint buckets being used as drums and hats, boxes used to build towers and to sit in as a row boat! How Creative! Using materials such as these introduces novelty and provokes interest allowing opportunities to develop abstract thinking. It also promotes the children’s development in understanding their own and societies responsibilities in caring for the environment.Learning Outcome 2- Children are connected with and contribute to their world; EYLF Practices- Intentional Teaching; Learning Environments .,(DEEWR, 2009,p.25; p.14-16;).
21 We will also be having a few staff changes over the next few weeks We will also be having a few staff changes over the next few weeks. As Hellen will be moving over to the toddler room Tess will now be working two more days on Thursday and Fridays and we will be welcoming Melissa to our team on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.A few Housekeeping Notes:Label EVERYTHING! Including bottle lids and dummies.Ensure sunscreen is applied upon arrival. We will reapply in the afternoon.Remember to fill out the daily routine sheet upon arrival.Events in the Discoverer’s Room:Harmony DaySt. Patricks DayEaster CelebrationsKayla, Jessica, Hellen, Tessa, Jenna & Melissa
22 Explorers’ NewsThe Explorer’s have been constantly surprising educators with their fast forming friendships across the different ages in the room. The children have been building trusting new relationships and maintaining old ones with educators and their peers (L/O 1 P21).They are playful and respond positively to others which has allowed them to build on their own social experiences and explore other ways of being (L/O 2 P26). Throughout this year the children have increasingly demonstrated a sense of belonging and comfort in the Explorer’s Room. This has been made evident in their building confidence to approach new experiences and challenge as well as the growing ability to initiate play with each other as well as conversations with trusted educators (L/O 1 P21 &L/O 2 P26).We have had a very enthusiastic response from the children as we celebrated Australia Day and Chinese New Year. We talked together about what each of the children would be doing individually with their family to celebrate these holidays. Educators stimulated discussion using a story board depicting the first fleet travelling from England and landing in Sydney Cove. This allowed the children to ask questions and challenge concepts of why we celebrate Australia Day.It also lead to discussion of Indigenous Australian Culture and respecting Aboriginal people as the original custodians of our land. We looked at the different clans and where in Australia they were situated. We talked about the Dharug people in our area and some of the different traditional aspects of their culture including story telling through cave drawings, the roles of different members of the community having the men hunt animals and the women gather food as well as some of the musical instruments they used.
23 Chinese New Year was a relatively new concept for most of the children, we talked about the different animals in the Chinese Zodiac and that 2014 will be the year of the horse. We discussed the different gifts exchanged on this holiday and read different books which depicted the different elements involved in the celebration. The children were very excited to look on as the Chinese Lion danced for the older Investigators and Navigators.Our garden is beginning to blossom! Thank you to all the families for bringing in some beautiful plants. Our garden bed is quite large, so there is still room for more plants. The children have shown enthusiasm and passion for gardening which is reflected in the continual care of the plants on a daily basis. The Explorer’s have assisted in watering their plants and feeding the worms food scraps from morning and afternoon tea so they produce worm juice to place on the garden to help the plants grow. This Gardening project is teaching the children to become responsible, to show respect and care for the natural environment (L/O 2, pg. 29).Sofia, Kylie, Lana, Hellen & Daniel
24 Investigators’ NewsThis year has started off well with the children settling into the new preschool room and routine with ease. This transition from the Explorers to the Investigators has been an easy transition due to the fact that all the children have transitioned as a group (EYLF Practice Continuity of Transitions). Each child has established and maintained respectful, trusting relationships with other children and their trusted educators (EYLF Outcome 1, pg. 21). It is through these relationships that each child has demonstrated a sense of belonging to the preschool group enabling them to feel confident in their surroundings to communicate their needs for comfort and assistance.Our Beautiful GardenAt the beginning of the year the garden had some new additions with some new garden beds. This sparked various conversations between the children about what they are and their use. Each child and their family had the opportunity to bring in a seedling, herb or small established plant for the garden. It was fantastic to see the family contribution and active participation of families helping to plant the seedling with their child. This experience allowed each individual child to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility in regards to looking after and watering their plant. The ‘child’s voice’ (Adventures’ Philosophy) allowed the children to express what they would like to plant and to share in the garden.Sustainability was another embedded practice that allowed each child to learn how we recycle and reuse materials to help our environment. The sustainability cycle included the children saving the food scraps for the worms that broke the matter down in worm juice. This juice was then added to the water can to be placed on the garden for the plants to grow. Some children noticed how much the plants grew over time once we started using the worm juice.
25 On a daily basis, the children used both the hose and watering can with assistance to water the plants with the aid of the sun to help them to grow.In terms of the garden and outdoor environment, we have been lucky enough to have Sharon, Jacquie’s mum, bring in a butterfly in its cocoon (pupa). Sharon spoke to the children about the cocoon and how it would transform into a beautiful butterfly. The cocoon stayed outside for some time and it had a very special name ‘Pupa’ once it turned into a butterfly it was then named “Sharon” as we realised it was a girl. This intentional teaching experience exposed the children to the understanding of living things and the life cycle of a butterfly (EYLF Outcome 2, pg. 29 & EYLF Practice Intentional Teaching). This exposed children to a great understanding and growing appreciation and care for natural and constructed environments.Cultural CelebrationsDuring the month of January we celebrated Australia Day and its cultural meaning and why we celebrate it. The learning environment and helped to teach the children about Australia Day in a non-tokenistic way. As educators we researched the Aboriginal community that surrounds the preschool. We learnt that the tribe is called the ‘Dharug Tribe’ we researched some key elements which made up their culture. We learnt that they did drawings in caves so we asked families to bring in old shoe boxes so the children could pretend that they were painting in their own cave. We also did some more research on the IPad in regards to the Dharug Tribe. We also learnt the various role of the men and women as well as various other customs. On Australia Day we also celebrated by exploring native Australian animals as well as eating various traditional Australian foods such as Lamingtons, Pavlova, and ANZAC Biscuits.
26 Another cultural celebration that we celebrated close after Australia Day was Chinese New Year. Nicola – Rebecca and Anthony’s mum arranged for a Chinese Lion performance. Leading up to the performance we exposed to children to the Chinese culture through watching the Lion Dance on the IPad and Television. The children commented on the various bright colours of the Lion, how noisy it would be and how the lion moved around. The Investigators especially loved watching the Lion eating the shredded lettuce and how the Lion spat out lollies at the end of the performance. It was a bit of a jumpy experience as the Lion came close to us sitting on the stairs. After the performance, the children were able to ask lots of questions and to explore more about how the people make the Lion move. (EYLF Practice: Cultural Competence)Frankie the LizardThe Investigators are all so excited about the new class pet that has arrived. Billie’s Bearded Lizard - Frankie - will have his permanent home in the Preschool room. Over the coming week Billie will be speaking to the children about Frankie and what we need to do to look after her. The Investigators and Navigators will have the opportunity to feed and bath Frankie on a regular basis. Please feel free to visit Frankie and to make her feel welcome.News TimeThe Investigators will be involved in New Times during the day. You should have all received an with a schedule for your child’s designated news day. On News day your child could bring in a family photo, a photo from a holiday, something sentimental, a book, or a drawing. We look forward to seeing what your child brings in to tell us about. (EYLF Outcome 5: Children engage in enjoyable interactions using verbal and non-verbal language)
27 Goals for the Investigators Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on the following:Self Help SkillsEncouraging children to use their wordsIntroduction to colours, shapes and numbersOpportunities for children to have a go at being leaderIncrease children’s concentration during group timeExposing children to a range of interesting and exciting projectsRochelle, Janine and Mary
28 Navigators’ News The Adventures Garden. What a busy few months we’ve had! We started the year with a bang when we introduced our new Adventures Garden. The children and their families were asked to bring in a plant, flower, herb, fruit, or vegetable of their choice to plant in our garden. It has been enjoyable to observe the children as they have taken responsibility for their plants, remembering that we need to give them water every day. We have also made use of our ‘worm juice’ from our worm farm. The children have spread the juice over our garden and we have already seen a huge difference in the growth of our plants.This project has opened a huge can of worms (pardon the pun), as it has led an interest in all types of living things in our outdoor environment. Jacquie’s mum, Sharon, kindly brought in a butterfly pupa, which was about to transition into a butterfly. We watched as the butterfly emerged and we set it free into the environment. We also watched with anticipation as we saw our pineapples beginning to ripen. Unfortunately, two of our pineapples were eaten by a cheeky possum, however we thoroughly enjoyed testing out our remaining pineapple during afternoon tea. The children also became fascinated with bugs as we were finding more and more creatures in our outdoor area. We had some great input from Thomas’ mum, Natalie, who recommended some wonderful video clips for us to watch, which helped to extend and build on this interest.Thank you to all our families who have contributed to this project. It has been wonderful to see the children develop a sense of responsibility, and we will continue to add to our garden throughout the year.
29 Outcome 2: The children are connected and contribute to their world. Outcome 3: The children recognise the contributions they make to shared projects and experiences.Outcome 4: The children are confident and involved learners.Principles: Partnerships with familiesPractices: Learning environments.Friendships.It has been wonderful to observe the relationships that have been formed. The children have made new friendships, and have also rekindled friendships from last year. This has contributed immensely to the children’s sense of belonging in the Navigators/Investigators room.Outcome 1: The children establish and maintain respectful, trusting relationships with other children and educators.Chinese New Year.This year we had a special treat to celebrate Chinese New Year. Rebecca and Anthony’s mum, Nicola, arranged for a Chinese Lion to come into our centre and do some dancing. As well as learning about the Chinese culture, we also had the opportunity to practice our musical talents, playing the drums and symbols that the dance group had brought with them.Thank you also to Max’s mum for making us Special Fried Rice for the children to have with their Chinese Banquet for lunch.
30 Outcome 2: The children are exploring the diversity of culture, heritage, background, and tradition. Frankie the Lizard.We are very excited to announce that Billie’s Bearded Dragon lizard Frankie has moved into our room. The children are familiar with Frankie as she has visited Adventures many times. Frankie eats lots of healthy foods and enjoys a warm bath every so often. This will further develop the children’s sense of responsibility, as they will be involved in caring for Frankie on a daily basis.Outcome 2: The children explore relationships with other living and non-living things.Pre-lit and CCK.Over the next few months the children will be taking part in our Pre-Lit and Cool Calm Kids programs. Our pre-literacy program will assist the children in developing skills that they will need when they start school. Our Cool Calm Kids program has been designedto encourage the children to discuss their feelings, and will help them to learn how to channel those feelings in a positive way.Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners.Laura, Billie, Daniel