Reflections from Term One in the Cocoon Group
How wonderful to have had continuous time over the term to be together, build close relationships with the children and our families and offer so many rich learning contexts to the children. Time with the children allows us to notice their interests and support each child to participate, make choices, and build agency in their learning.
As educators, we value the process of reflecting on the children’s learning and following their interests which enables us to plan engaging and meaningful experiences.
“Reflective practice is a form of ongoing learning that involves engaging with questions of philosophy, ethics, and practice. It intends to gather information and gain insights that support, inform and enrich decision-making about children’s learning. As professionals, early childhood educators examine what happens in their settings and reflect on what they might change.” Early Years Learning and Developmental Framework.
We use many ways to gather information about each child as an individual and as part of a group. Seesaw posts, portfolio work, observations, morning meeting notes, videos, learning stories, family discussions, inquiry, or project work. Through the context of play, we learn so much about the children.
- Play allows for the expression of personality and uniqueness
- Play enhances dispositions such as curiosity and creativity
- Play enables children to make connections between prior experiences and new learning
- Play assists children to develop relationships and concepts
- Play stimulates a sense of wellbeing.
- Through play, children actively construct their understandings and contribute to others’ learning. They recognise their agency, capacity to initiate and lead learning, and their rights to participate in decisions that affect them, including their learning.
This term, we followed an inquiry into “What is nature?” which began with Henni finding a beautiful leaf on the ground at the creek and explaining, “Everybody gets the nature things, nothing else, just nature.”
We asked the children to think about what nature is and had rich oral discussions that led us to creating a nature map to follow through nature world. The map was to help us not get lost and find our way home. The process of inquiry often leads us to places we could never have imagined, and we learn so much about each other through the sharing of knowledge, ideas and theories.
The children were invited to represent themselves through a self-portrait using different expressive languages. This led to family portraits and discussions about our families. Many of the children shared their panel stories about themselves with the group, and we learned together about each child’s interests, special memories, culture and special people or animals in their lives.
Cooking with Rachelle on a Wednesday is such a highlight of our week. It is so wonderful to be able to cook again as cooking offers so many rich learning opportunities. We harvest as much as we can from our ECC garden and the school kitchen garden and grow what we think we can use; chopping; mixing; noticing changes; measuring; setting the table; and the best part is eating what we cook.
We were very grateful to have Uncle Lionel Lauch, Gunditjmara/ Kirrae-Wurrung/ Bundjalung artist from Living Culture, come down to the creek and spend time with us to share his understandings and knowledge of place, culture, and country.
Next term, our new unit of inquiry will be ‘Sharing the Planet’-Exploring the natural environment leads to new discoveries. Our early investigations have focused on exploring the natural world and ways we can take action to care for our environment. Next term, we will continue this unit, and we plan to provide a wide range of opportunities for the children to investigate ways we can be caring, show respect for the world around us and discover an appreciation for beauty in nature. Learning experiences about the impact we can have on the environment will also offer the children a chance to learn about their responsibility for the natural environment, ways they can take action, and discover how they can make a difference in the world.
Thank you for a great term and all your kindness and support; we look forward to welcoming you back to the creek and time in the ECC program in Term 2.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday break and a joyful Easter however you choose to celebrate.
KELLIE, RACHELLE, MILLY, BELINDA, KAS, EMMA, HEATHER, LISA & CATHY
Minimbah ECC Staff