We are now officially past the half way mark of term 1! The children are now quite bonded into their friendships with one another and hopefully feeling secure enough in those friendships to make attempts in increasing their friendship circle! As you know, for a few weeks now we have been enjoying learning about “things that go”. Together we made a list of all “things that go” and the children were asked to think about things that go in the air, on land and in the water. (Some of us are particularly impressed with Christian’s suggestion of a “time machine” - we’re still not sure if it moves on land, through the air, on water or all three!)
We have explored some of the things that go on our list with stories and pictures. Some children created their own representations of things that go, and many of our little ones excel best in showing us their driving and passenger skills through actions and words and taking on different roles - otherwise known as imaginative play
This week the children were provided with letter stamps as a provocation to write their names. We will continue to promote these attempts with name cards for the children to use at their leisure.
On Friday, our long awaited visitors were here! Kim the “pet educator” and Doodles the Schnoodle joined us for a session on safety around dogs. We learned many things! We know now that we should not touch any dog who is :
Sick or hurt
On a lead
In a car
Behind a fence
A dog with puppies.
Kim showed us the difference between a happy dog and an angry or scared dog. She helped us to practice what we should do if we come across an angry dog - stand very still, keep your hands down, stay as quiet as a mouse and look at the ground.
We were shown the right way to approach a dog who is with their owner, if we want to give them a pat and say hello! Doodles helped us all to practice this. There are a few steps to this. Firstly you must ask the owner if it is ok to pat the dog, then you let the dog sniff your hand, you always pat a dog on the back - not the head or the tail. It was great to see this in practice, it might be a nice idea to chat with your child about their new knowledge if you are out and about, and come across a dog!
During mat time we have begun discussing kinder room rules. We started with walking feet. The children took it in turns to demonstrate walking feet to the others in the room. In addition to this, we discussed why we use walking feet rather than running feet or jumping feet inside. The children said we could fall over or run into another child and I would add that slowing down in the kinder room makes for a happier environment. Next we discussed how we interact with our friends, with the discussion centring on gentle hands. The children demonstrated gentle hands by lightly patting one of their hands with the other hand. Gentle hands discussion was also coupled with using stop hands and saying “Stop it, I don’t like it”. The process we learn these interactions is first saying, “Stop it, I don’t like it” using stop hands and then progressing to conversations about listening to the response you get from the other person and problem solving that. This takes time and is helped along by turn taking which involves listening and waiting. The most recent room rule we have discussed is the voice we use inside versus the voice we use outside. We called one voice an inside voice and the other an outside voice. The children demonstrated a quieter voice and we talked about how yelling is reserved for outside play. These rules will be practised each session for the term to assist the children in remembering. The children also learn to remind each other when someone forgets a rule.
Remember what it was like when you first started high school or first began working? The nerves you felt about not knowing anyone, having rules and expectations thrown at you all in a strange place? Your children feel the same
and this can be further compounded by language barriers. This is when our expertise as early childhood educators is so important. My role as three year old teacher is to provide a program which is of interest to the children and challenges their learning. Generally I facilitate this program while Helen is then able to assist any children to require additional help to settle. Some children will settle quickly and others will require this extra help. We appreciate the time and patience from families as we ensure all of the children are enjoying their time in our kinder room.
We have continued to explore the concepts of “things that go” and modes of transport. Nicholas and Nikitas have been collecting tram schedules when they ride and we have enjoyed learning about trams and how they work from Nicholas. (He is our tram expert). In preparation for our visit from the pet educator, we have been exploring the role of a vet, and discussing pets. The children have been invited to bring in their own (stuffed toy) pet to work on in our “vet’s office”. The dramatic and social play that been coming from this interest has been fantastic. Many children show existing knowledge in visiting a veterinarian and how to care for animals. We have all talked about our own pets and made a graph of the different types of pets, how many, who owns the pet and the pets name. (It’s not for me to say whether or not the pets are “imaginary” or real, but some of the pet’s names certainly are creative)
Our regular dance lessons kicked off last week and it was great to see some enthusiasm and warmth towards Karen as she arrived on Thursday. The dance class begins with Karen instructing the children to stretch and warm up to prepare their bodies. Karen provides the children with opportunities to move on their own, in a small group and with the larger group. Many children were somewhat apprehensive about dancing in front of their friends, however I’m sure they will come out of their shells in no time at all! Everyone tried their best to follow Karen’s directions and were careful to listen to and watch Karen and how she was moving around so they could get it right. Karen’s props set up in the room ensures the children needed to think about where and how they move their bodies. Karen’s dance class allows for self expression and creativity in movement while also engaging in increasingly complex movement patterns. Children are encouraged to follow directions while developing their gross motor skills and spatial awareness.