Early Learning Group News
We have had a hectic start to Term 3; the children have made the most of each moment! We are sure they have been coming home exhausted from all they have seen and experienced over the past few weeks. Most importantly, we have felt such happiness and gratitude, seeing the children thriving at the opportunity to connect with others, play outside, and feel a sense of normality in their day despite the current climate.
After such a fantastic start to the term, it isn't very reassuring that we now need to return to remote learning. However, we are determined to make the best of this situation and plan to provide a rich, engaging program that will hopefully be fun for the whole family.
During Term 2, the children across the ECC were involved in exploring the unit of inquiry, Sharing the Planet. The 3-year-old group broke this down into caring for themselves, caring for others, and caring for the environment. Through these three threads, the children looked at aspects of their wellbeing through mindfulness, guided relaxation, and connecting with nature. They explored what it meant to be kind to others through play and by creating pictures to gift people in aged care. Much of the unit was spent exploring nature and ways we can minimise our impact on the environment. They learned about recycling and worm farming. Alongside this, the children planted vegetable seeds observing their growth and how they will provide for people when they grow.
The 4-year-old group showed their adept ability to connect with nature through art and spent time noticing and observing our natural surroundings, which led to inquiries around the concept of change. We considered our responsibilities towards nature, in the form of caring for plants and animals and living sustainably. The children embraced Reconciliation Week and harnessed the learning about the local Aboriginal mob, the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung people. From here, the children began acknowledging different perspectives of our shared history and connected beautifully with the laws of Bunjil, whereby we care for one another, respect ourselves and take only what we need from the land. There have been many inspiring moments with the children throughout the unit of inquiry Sharing the Planet, and we will continue to hold onto the values we have explored.
This unit provided such rich learning experiences that it has continued into this term. We are excited to now begin our new Unit of Inquiry, How the World Works. Our inquires will be drawn from the central idea:
"We construct theories about how the world works through playful exploration." This unit will provide many learning opportunities around the concepts of form (what is it like?), function (how does it work?), and causation (why is it as it is?). We will begin the unit by following the interests of the children. The 4-year-old group is wondering how rocks and crystals are formed and where they are found, while the 3-year-old group is curious about coral and how it feels. We can't wait to see where the questions about the world will take us on our learning journey!
Each year, the ECC team create a Quality Improvement Plan based on our goals for the Centre for the year. The staff has been meeting regularly to review our goals for 2020. We have created this set of priorities for the remainder of the year:
- The ongoing introduction of PYP to Woodleigh across both early childhood centres – Action research project, "What does PYP look like in the Early Years?"
- Development of Continuous Learning Plan in response to COVID 19 – use of Seesaw as an online learning platform
- Introduction of Seesaw platform and online portfolios for both three and four-year-old programs
- Focus on the embedding of First Peoples' Perspectives in our programs
Health and Safety:
- Introduction of new procedures and protocols in response to COVID 19
- Changes to drop off and collection of children
- Intentional teaching of handwashing
- Increase in handwashing routines – before and after eating and before starting a new activity
- Additional cleaning schedule for surfaces and equipment
- Review of Healthy Eating policies
Relationships with families:
- Changes to drop off and collection procedures in response to COVID 19 – teacher to be available to families, sharing of program and displays outside the Centre
- Use of Seesaw learning platform and digital portfolios to encourage family engagement in our programs
Leadership and Management:
- Introduction of new leadership role across Minimbah and Penbank Campus' – Head of Early Learning. Providing a more significant opportunity for educational leadership, mentoring and support for staff with both children and families
- Development of shared vision, policies, and benefit-risk documentation
- Review of the process for policy development and review
- Continuity of policies across both Penbank and Minimbah policies and benefit-risk documents.
MEL, TRACY, CADI, SALLY, DEBORAH & LISA
Early Learning Teachers