A child’s rights

I have come back to this blog after a long break. And I looked  at the header image for this blog.  This detailed drawing  with nothing to accompany it. No story. It’s intriguing! I loved it as an image drawn from a child’s thinking and learning.

But I just took it.  I took it and used it  with no credit given to the child as artist.

Where is the right of the child to be honoured for their learning? And does it have value if nobody “owns” it? if we can’t document a child’s thinking and learning around it?

But it does have traces of a child’s learning – we can recognise that a thoughtful child created this. It took time to do such careful, detailed drawings. That it “might be” including insects, ant or other creatures. That there are some caring “big” people holding out their arms to – do what? welcome? nurture? collect?

I still come back to my lack of respect for the voice of the child-artist. I am not the teacher I was when I chose to use this image. I am learning.

And I will share this with the current children and offer it as an invitation – for them to honour the artist and develop their own thinking.



The African violet

imageThere has been a lot of activity in parts other than the art area lately, and we wondered what we could do to spark some fresh exploration and interest at the easels?

So Louise put some cutout paper pots on easel paper, placed the pot of African violets nearby as a focus, and waited…

It didn’t take long. At the start of the next day there was lots of interest and over the next few days almost everyone had at least one go at painting them, some did two. The children took great interest in doing these paintings and felt real satisfaction in what they produced. Lots of parents noticed them too – they created a wonderful effect in our art gallery. IMG_7813 (4) African violet 2nd

IMG_7810 (3) african violet 1st

Bookmobile visit

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We make a visit to the bookmobile each year in first term; it’s parked just over the road from our kinder, and a short walk to practise our road safety. The children respond with interest, even absorption, to people with the important job of “librarians” telling them a story and giving them a tour of the truck. We prepared by trying to think about questions we could ask, and we reflected on our visit by drawing and dictating language as well as by writing a group letter to say Thankyou. Signing their names is a challenge for many of the children at this stage of the year, and makes our letter really meaningful to them.

Spinning colors

imageThankyou to the person who first applied paint to paper inside a salad spinner! This is an art activity made for preschoolers! We have 2 different spinners, which take real motor planning to operate. An art experience of mixing color becomes very physical as you learn to pull and then let go quickly, because to hold the string means it doesn’t retract and the spinner has to be taken apart and string rewound. The children who practise their bowling in cricket quickly understand about this variation on the same skill of releasing. Others needed hand over hand tuition sometimes, but they all persevered – building learnacy skills through this strong motivation to explore color through movement. (with engagement comes language, planning, review and evaluation, concept building and personal choice.)

The results were as individual as they are.


Mrs WishyWashy

Lexi said, ” this is my favourite story” when we read it and played with it at the storytable this week. Why is Mrs WishyWashy so successful with kinder children? The book has clear, engaging ilustrations, it has animals, it uses sequencing which is then repeated ( giving the children a strong sense of recognition of what happens, and control in telling the story for themselves), it uses a familiar domestic situation but turns it on its head, they can usually recognise the lure of that mud puddle, and there is humour, always a winner. And it’s not a long story, but perfect in its dimensions.

After they had read and played it, they turned it into a puppet show, with some lovely collaboration, Arlee corrected  Ally matter of factly when she got out of sequence in retelling it, and Will injected some appropriate extra speech for Mrs WishyWashy: “Oh dearie me, oh dearie, dearie me.”

Chanelle was the book shower and occasional narrator.

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Water music

imageAustralian readers of this blog may have seen the art installation at the Victorian Art Gallery of lots of metal balls floating around a pool and gently tinkling against each other. Continuing very hot weather has prompted lots of water activities here and I was reminded of this idea recently, so we tried it at kinder. Metal bowls floating in water and gently striking each other to make quiet music is a lovely idea, and in fact the water music is very pleasing – but first Bella had to explore the bowls, which meant vigorous splashing and making tsunamis of waves, filling and sinking them and having fun! Metal balls would offer a clearer focus on the sounds, but the balls are still in the catalogues and the bowls were in the cupboard. Did the (brief) aesthetic experience register for Bella, or only for me? I do know that she was responding to the sensory and movement possibilities of this experience, we were sharing oral language and developing vocabulary around filling, sinking, waves, force and that she was communicating her observations. The sounds created were a part of that.

Cement mixing

imageWhat a great topic for play, with the sensory aspect of messy mixing sand and water, the physical requirements (large motor) of pumping the water and transporting the mix, then spreading it and smoothing it (fine motor), as well as the many opportunities  for inclusion of a number of children to do a range of jobs. The role play of being a boss or a worker, and imitating what they have seen happen in real life has so much play potential. It took up the whole of the time spent outdoors. Then the next day? Onto something else, despite our attempts to refresh their interest….

Not every play episode becomes a project, and children can still just be without having to extend or document or do anything except tell their parents how much fun they had today.


Apologies for my long silence, but I am back now and keen to post on a fairly regular basis.

Hot days at kinder

Hot days invite water play, but with a group that is very much into social and role play, water play can have an original twist. On this day,the girls had set up a foot shop, where feet were bathed, wiped, sponged, cooled down and made beautiful.

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Then they started on arms, too.

This play was gentle, caring and practical – one situation where water is soothing and calming. Not far away, in the “lake”, it was exuberant and satisfyingly splashy.




We have a new helper for a few weeks,  Mie. She is sharing some of her Japanese culture with us. This week we made sushi. The seaweed paper, as the children called it, was a new ingredient for our cooking, and a rather different vegetable! Most of the children didn’t know sushi- except for Blythe, who loves sushi! She recommends avocado but we didn’t have that. Some of the taste testers were not t at all keen on it, whilst others were very happy to eat the spares and everybody else’s too!

At last, our carrots


We have been looking after our carrots for months, it was exciting to finally be able to pull them up and enjoy them! We ate carrot sticks and dip (also celery sticks but they were not as popular.)

Every child had at least a taste, and some didn’t even open their own snack box, they were enjoying the kinder produce so much.





We made good use of the carrot tops, feeding them to the worms, and the chooks, and using some of them to do an experiment. We hope it will work.

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