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Early Learning Group News

We have had a brilliant start to Term Three in Early Learning, with the children quickly settling back into the program's routine. The children, families, and educators were all thrilled and grateful to remain onsite during the latest challenge of Lockdown #5. Thankfully, we were able to provide the children with a sense of normality and routine!

Thank you to all our families for their patience with the current COVID restrictions. We understand that it is challenging

This term, we are introducing our new Unit of Inquiry –

How The World Works

"We construct theories about how the world works through playful exploration."

This unit is an inquiry into:

  • How we can manipulate materials for a purpose
  • How forces can cause change
  • How we can use our understandings to design and create

As we encounter new materials, we will explore their form, observe what they are like, and discover how they can change and be manipulated and used differently. We aim to develop children'scuriosity and image of themselves as inquirers, thinkers, and communicators.

Our learning experiences will be playful and hands-on as we experiment and develop our understandings of cause and effect. We will be using the following skills as we play, design, and create:

  • Thinking skills – critical thinking, problem-solving, forming decisions, and creative thinking
  • Research skills – observation, questioning, gathering data, evaluating & communicating
  • Communication skills – sharing our thinking, developing thinking, recording predictions and results

We will continue to revisit our other Units of Inquiry, "Who We Are" and "Sharing the Planet," in response to the children's needs and interests throughout this term.

Encountering Clay

Our Unit of Inquiry, "How The World Works," commenced for both Early Learning groups introducing clay to our program. The children in both three and four-year-old groups have been exploring this new material, noticing how it feels different from play-dough and can be changed as we manipulate it. We have also been using tools to make marks in the clay and are beginning to discover ways to create sculptures and stories by adding natural materials such as sticks, leaves, and gumnuts.

ELG 3

The ELG 3 children have returned from the big holiday break with confidence and enthusiasm for learning and play at Penbank. Much of our learning this term has been about how we can be good friends. As they grow and mature, our group becomes more and more aware of others and develops an increased understanding of how we coexist. We are learning the way our behaviors may impact others both positively and negatively. The simplest' rules' within our centre are to be FAIR, SAFE, and KIND. The children are focusing their attention on kindness. What does this look like – how does it feel when someone is kind to us? How can I be kind to someone else? To extend this learning, we have revisited recognizing the feelings of others. We have looked at stories and pictures, practising 'reading' what is happening and noticing how people feel. Emotional literacy is challenging for all young children, and it has been beneficial revising this throughout the whole year.

Despite the cold days, much of our play and exploration has been outdoors. The children have shown an interest in the Olympics and created their sporting events in the yard. The monkey bars are ever popular as different children have decided to set goals on what they would like to achieve. We have loved watching them work on their individual goals each session and share in celebration when they get closer to achieving them. We have also spent time in the broader Penbank grounds visiting the cows, ducks, tractors, and billabong. We feel so fortunate to be able to connect with Country on our beautiful Penbank grounds.

After the fun of celebrating National Pyjama Day recently, we have some more special days coming up ahead. We invite the children in ELG3 to dress as a book character on Friday 27 August to celebrate Book Week. Covid restrictions permitting, we will be inviting our dads to join us for a play at Penbank on Friday 3 September. Stay tuned for more information regarding both of these special events.

ELG 4 News

Wow! We have been an active group from the beginning of term, and it is difficult to believe we are starting week 5. We started the term with a beautiful opportunity to practice reflection. We invited the children to share what they had done in the holidays, and many children brought items of interest to show. These acted as prompts for discussion, as the children are increasingly developing their ability to stay on topic and think of relevant questions.

From here, we moved into furthering our Acknowledgement of Country by considering what we are personally thankful for. The children used their ideas to design a symbol of what they are grateful for, which they then painted onto their Acknowledgement stone. The stones are available to the children in the classroom, and we are using them each day. What a great personal Acknowledgement!

Finn S "I'm thankful for the fairies because they help me."

Piper, "Rainbows. They have lovely colours."

Chioma, "My Mum. I love her playing with me."

Ernie, "I am thankful for the firefighters because they put out fires."

As mentioned, we are delving into a new Unit of Inquiry this term: How the World Works, and it has started with gusto. As if on cue, Jack Eden brought olives that he had grown and prepared himself at home. From here, we have been discovering how olives grow, carefully observing the plant and fruit, which the children have drawn from their perspective. We now have a beautiful gallery of paintings in the classroom. We are extending on the learning that presents itself by focusing on concepts of change and manipulation. We have invited the children to consider how olives are manipulated for different purposes and began watching a video explaining the process olives go through to make oil. A great way to test our understandings is to use all our senses and taste them, of course! We made focaccia for sharing with Jack's olives and olive oil for dipping. Next, we will try to preserve olives ourselves and observe the changes first-hand.

Bush Kinder has proved to be a true wonder again this term, with a new element to play and experiment with, mud! From week to week, the consistency of the mud is changing, which naturally encourages different forms of play. As I am sure, you are aware of the very muddy clothes (and sometimes children) at the end of the day! The sensory element of mud and puddles has proved irresistible for many children, with lots of running, splashing, and sitting in the mud, simply getting bodies in it and feeling it. For other children, they are adjusting to the environment gradually and becoming more used to winter elements. We are so proud of those children who have been out of their comfort zone. There have been some fantastic experimentation at Bush Kinder too. The children began using mud to build with by applying it to cubby walls. Since then, we have watched an informative video about building with mud, and we plan to investigate this further in the ELC. Further experimentation attempted to help water travel from one 'dam' (great big puddle) to the other 'dam' (another massive big puddle), supporting children to think about gravity and how water flows.

It isn't easy to believe we are coming into week 5 of the term! Still to come this term, we are looking forward to our excursion to Willum Warrain, which will be a terrific opportunity to further the children's understandings of Aboriginal culture and history. We will see an Aboriginal mud building at Willum Warrain, which will inspire the children! A reminder to please return your child's completed consent form if you have not already done so. We will keep you posted as to whether you will be able to accompany your child for the excursion, but we certainly hope so!

We will be celebrating Children's Book Week in a few weeks, culminating in a special dress-up day for the group. We will send an invitation out shortly, inviting your child to come dressed as a favourite book character. Father's Day is also quickly approaching, and we are planning a celebration later this term. Again, we will send out an invitation in due course and look forward to having our Dads or special people come and celebrate with us at Early Learning!