ECC Group News
Despite the continued lockdown and restrictions, we have had a fantastic start to Term 4. We are very proud of the children's resilience, enthusiasm, and love of learning as they access the Continuous Learning Program. We recognise that this has been a difficult time for all our families and are grateful that we have provided opportunities for us to stay connected and continue learning together.
We want to express our gratitude to the families who have been at home supporting their children's learning. You have our complete gratitude, respect, and admiration! Thank you for working in partnership with us in the most challenging of circumstances!
We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully, we will all be back together soon!
How We Express Ourselves
This term, we have introduced a new Unit of Inquiry to our program entitled "How We Express Ourselves." This unit provides endless opportunities for the children to explore their creativity and communication skills. Whether they are learning from home or accessing the program on-site, the children will be engaged in a wide range of experiences that encourage them to explore their interests using the "100 Languages of Children." (Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Children)
"Imagine believing that children have the ability to express themselves in more than one way. Now times that by 100! Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Approach, describes the "infinite ways that children can express, explore, and connect their thoughts, feelings and imaginings." (Children’s First School, 2006)
"These languages (the Hundred Languages of Children) are symbolic and are open to the endless potentials in children. They believe in the potential of a child's ability to wonder. It is the belief that there are "multiple ways of seeing and multiple ways of being." (Reggio Children, 2011)
"We explore and make sense of our world through the narratives we create."
An inquiry into:
- Physical movement as a means of expression – this will include opportunities to explore dance, yoga, performance, and shadow play
- Exploration of materials as a means of expression and communication – in addition to the visual arts, we will be incorporating opportunities for the children to express themselves through play using a range of materials, including blocks, loose parts, and natural materials
- How I express myself through verbal language and mark-making – our inquiries will include opportunities for the children to explore storytelling with puppets, sand drawing, props, letter writing, and bookmaking
The 3-year-old group has begun the unit on expressing ourselves by looking at how we send messages. We have created letters to post to someone and will all be receiving a letter in the post. Part of this has been investigating mailboxes and how the postie gets the mail to our houses.
We are also investigating how symbols communicate messages. It has led us to think about traffic lights and signs we see in our community. We will continue to look at symbols over the coming weeks.
Another form of communication we are exploring are the letters of our names. The children are working on recognising and even writing their names. It is an essential milestone in developing their self-identities.
The 4-year-old group have embraced concepts of form, function and connection through puppet creation and play. The learning intentions have focused on researching and learning about different puppets and exploring materials to make them from. We have seen some excellent work, stick, hand, sock, finger, and string puppets made in just one week! The children have reflected on how they made their puppet and then explored characters and stories using children's ideas and knowledge. There are many great ideas for the puppets' names and what they might be good at or like. We brought attention to how language links to the written word by together writing stories for the puppets.
Where to next? We will continue investigating expression through narratives and stories, but we will look from the perspective of shadow play and story prompts. It could involve children's physical movement to create narratives or through shadow puppets.
We can't forget the wonderful tour of Port Melbourne Fire station last week, which had us all transfixed. We are so lucky to have a fire crew looking out for us and keeping us safe, who obviously enjoy their job and engage so readily with our young ones. We want to thank them for their time and effort sincerely.
Well BE ing in Early Learning
How do we nurture and share a strong sense of wellbeing?
Wellbeing is a complex concept, but one that is always at the forefront of how we learn together every day. In focusing on wellbeing, Dr Suzanne Parker reminds us that noticing children, being curious about their lives, and doing things with children builds relationships and nurtures our wellbeing.
"Doing things with children are most memorable: digging in the garden or painting a fence. It is the collective enjoyment, the collective accomplishment, that's the stuff that really builds relationships and the child's capacity to develop into the best sort of adult. We, adults, are the drivers for the world our children experience every day. Raising children is much more than a family's responsibility. We need to notice children, be curious about their lives. The things we do with children are pure gold, with adult and child participating equally. It can be everything and anything from giggling with a baby, to working on a project with children as full participants."
Dr Suzanne Parker- Paediatrician and Senior Australian of the Year, 2019.
The idea of sharing a collective accomplishment helps us to include families and the whole community to raise awareness of wellbeing in all our lives. It recognises that we all come with our understandings, beliefs, and attitudes around wellbeing but understands that doing things with children is the priority. It suggests that an empowering environment whereby children have a voice, participate, and have routine opportunities for leadership fosters resilience and positive social and emotional learning. "Being empowered is a positive protective factor for mental health and wellbeing." beyou.edu.au
What do we do to nurture a strong sense of wellbeing through empowerment in the Cocoon group?
- Believe that all children are competent contributors to their world.
- Build a culture that is welcoming, safe, secure, and fosters a sense of belonging.
- Broaden our cultural knowledge and expand our minds, bodies, and hearts by embedding Aboriginal pedagogies and ways of being and doing.
- Build mindfulness practices throughout our day. Encouraging intrinsic skills of paying attention, finding a sense of calm, and tuning into how our bodies are feeling.
- Learn through joyful play essential social and emotional skills, make friends, and build in supported risky play to encourage a sense of independence and competence.
- Nurture creative thought processes that develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, imagination, adaptability, perseverance, problem-solving, and flexibility.
- Engaging with nature through all our senses; sounds, touch, smell, taste, movement, and sight. Noticing nature's offerings of beauty, wonder, and awe.
- Encourage project work and an inquiry approach to learning whereby children drive their learning and that of the group.
- Encourage children to have honest conversations on meaningful matters by inviting everyone to come together and talk about what to do. It may mean problem-solving towards a solution, such as finding a place for something, helping to reset our environment, coming up with a plan for a recycling system, or solving an issue in the playground.
Other components of wellbeing include:
- Good nutrition and healthy choices.
- Personal hygiene.
- Moving our bodies through physical activity.
- Getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
At the beginning of this term, we met as a whole Woodleigh staff over zoom for shared professional learning and revisited and reflected on the Woodleigh approach to learning.
"We nurture the learning of young people who can apply their knowledge (mind) to solve real-world challenges (hand) and make a difference in the lives of others (heart). Our approach places emphasis on 'learning by doing, through immersive learning experiences, and 'learning by caring,' through social-emotional development and the promotion of positive relationships and active citizenship."
Wellbeing in Early Learning is about mind, hand, and heart and simply doing things with children rather than doing things for children.
MEL, TRACY, CADIE, DEBORAH, JULIA, DONNA & LISA