Building strong foundations in the Cocoon
We have returned from the holidays with much excitement. The children have been eager to reconnect and resume all the wonderful rich relationships we have made with each other over the first half of the year. From this strong foundation, the children can go deeper with their learning through a playful inquiry approach.
We welcome to our team Veronica Neave from Victoria University, who is undertaking her final teaching placement. Veronica will be with us for 5 weeks so please introduce yourself if you haven’t done so already.
Thank you to our families who have participated in our recent Parent/Teacher meetings. We really value this time to share with you the progress your child has made over time, reflecting on how your child has developed, how they have engaged with increasingly complex ideas and participated in increasingly sophisticated learning experiences. Ongoing assessment processes that include a diverse array of methods, capture, and validate the different pathways that children take toward achieving the five Early Years Learning Framework outcomes. Such processes do not focus exclusively on the endpoints of children’s learning; they give equal consideration to the ‘distance-travelled’ by individual children and recognise and celebrate not only the giant leaps that children take in their learning but the small steps as well. In partnership with you, we highly value the insight you share with us to understand more about your child from your knowledge and perspective.
This term, we have introduced our new Unit of Inquiry: How the World Works.
Our learning engagements and investigations for this unit will be hands-on, playful, and engaging! The focus will be on observing, experimenting, discovering, and learning about the world around us through active exploration.
We will be learning about:
- how we can manipulate materials for a purpose
- how forces can cause change
- how we can use our understandings to design and create
The children will be inquirers, thinkers and communicators as they encounter new materials, develop theories from their interests and design and create using a wide range of resources.
Concepts we will be exploring:
Form – What is it like?
Function – How does it work?
Causation – Why is it as it is?
Change – How is it transforming?
We have been working on creating our classroom letterbox system to enable communication between the children and build literacy skills.
Many of the children have shared an interest in constructing buildings and ‘homes’ and we will be exploring this further using a variety of different materials. The movement of sand and water has enthralled the children and we aim to extend this concept through playful experimentation, problem-solving and thinking.
The Creek welcomed us back on a beautiful sunny Winter’s Day in week 1. We enjoyed time to be in the sunshine, collecting sticks for building homes, floating leaf boats on the creek, noticing spiderwebs in the trees covered with the morning frost and climbing our familiar trees. We look forward to the cold days ahead to enjoy the campfire and cook some delicious food to share together.
Ongoing professional learning for our Early Childhood staff
Throughout this year, the Woodleigh Early Childhood team from the Penbank and Minimbah Campuses have engaged in a collaborative action research project with early childhood consultant Kirsty Liljedren. Teachers and educators from both campuses have been meeting regularly to engage in professional learning workshops, to critically reflect on our practice and share our documentation of the children’s learning.
Guiding Questions and Lines of Inquiry:
- What is the role of the teacher in relation to children’s agency and assessment of learning?
- What is our image of the child? Exploring the role of the educator in supporting learner agency.
- What is worth documenting? Continuous assessment in the Early Years – exploring the content and ways we can make visible the children’s learning.
- How does documentation inform our pedagogy and practice? Exploring the monitoring, recording, and reporting of student learning
- How can we work collaboratively with families? Making learning visible to children and families
As our research develops, you may notice changes to the information and documentation you receive about our program.
Current areas we are focusing on include:
- Exploring new ways of documenting – creating posters and displays, capturing the children’s thinking over several days, using titles and questions in our documentation
- Creating documentation that makes visible the children’s learning in the context of the GROUP
- A more focused approach to our documentation. This will mean fewer 'snapshots' of the day and more detail about specific projects or inquiries. A 'quality, not quantity' approach to Seesaw – this is to allows us to concentrate on relationships and engage in a more reflective approach to our teaching.
Head of Early Childhood