The children have been bringing in their family photos – and we are making houses for our families – using a range of fine motor skills, such as cutting, which are important to practise often. The children traced the house shape, cut along the lines, (mostly) remembered not to cut the fold – then pasted their families in , decorated their house, punched a hole in and threaded string to hang them. Lots of steps to follow, developing their ability to sequence a task and to develop their short term memory, and lots of fine motor practise! Focussing on their families was extremely motivating for all the children, and lead to conversations about where the photo was taken, who was in it, what they were doing and lots more.
The children ask lots of questions – when we explicitly document them and follow them up, the children know that their ideas and interests are valued , respected and welcomed. We have collected a few - the Wondering Wall is one way to document what happens to those questions and what we might learn.
A couple of the children had been sick and the question came up: how do people get better when they are sick?
Several children were confident that their dads could fix the pump – but the rules are we have to use a pump worker – a plumber. Maybe he will tell us what is wrong with the pump and how to look after it?
We sent the children’s kinder journals home today for them to share with family, neighbours and friends – looking at the excitement, language and interactions around this first sharing time, I’m so glad that we still have oldfashioned paper that you hold in your hand, pass around, and add to with a drawing or some practices at names, letters, shapes or numbers.
The Mallee is an area of extreme heat in summer – and also extreme UV radiation – not at all the same thing though it’s hard for most of us to separate the 2 out.
We start working on SunSmart routines on day 1 of kinder, and a lot of different learning is threaded through these simple routines. Children learn to apply their own sunscreen (with adult supervision to support this) and to take responsibility for their own health. We have a sunscreen station with mirror and the daily UV rating taken from the SunSmart website – we are starting the discussion with the children about the number on the poster each day – and we look for children’s growing awareness that this is an important indicator for them to know about ( a real world use of numeracy).
Literacy is a part of the hats routine – we are starting to recognise both our own and other people’s names.
There are also a few children’s books which feature the SunSmart routines in a natural and low key way – so that the children can relate what they read about to their own experiences and routines. Thomas and Grandpa are always popular book characters!
A very HOT week to start kinder.
With a large group (for Ouyen) and a number of children new to the district and new to a group learning environment, combined with the heat, we offered lots of sensory activities which you can do on your own – soothing and engaging- or with other children who you are getting to know. Some cooperation and sharing is needed but children can play alongside each other as well. (Physical, emotional and social wellbeing are so closely linked.
Water in the pond, in marble scooping, in spray painting, in sponge target throwing, in the trough, in washing, in the “cooking”, in the sandpits…… and in the drink bottles ( we didn’t need to remind anyone to drink plenty of water!).
All children could share or be solitary while investigating and participating. Some who played on their own on Monday were already teaming up with others by Thursday.
We have been doing icypole painting lately – Bree told us about it – what a great, simple and effective art idea! Freeze some watercolors into icypole moulds and then draw with them. Re – freeze the icypoles when you have finished – no waste and ready to go again next time. A great idea for any time of the year.
Ava found it interesting to print with the ice as well.
Mr Bell has finished our spacious chook pen – no timber anywhere in it to harbour the parasites that bother chooks so much, and by shifting a panel of fencing, it uses a space that was otherwise not available… anyway, Hamish asked his brother Darcy if we could borrow 2 of his chooks until the end of the year – and Hamish’s dad, Cameron brought them in.
The little half grown chooks were soon at home, and we had an exciting time getting to know them.
Summer temperatures in the Mallee being what they are, we will send these chooks home again and get some back at the start of the new kinder year. But we have had fun feeding them our scraps, and there have been a few discussions about why we aren’t already getting eggs from them!
Thanks to the McKay family for their help!
Breanna and Hamish knew exactly what they wanted to do before they went outside to play – to use the shade to make a cubby – pegs and curtains did that, plus mats, milk crates, soft blocks old laptops etc (negotiating the sharing with the boys who were making a police station).
At first it was a library – complete with the scanner from a cardboard box and tube they made to use in it – and some carefully selected books from inside. The next day they set it up again, but moved onto a supermarket.
And what a sense of power when the adults have to come down literally to their height to get inside to buy something….