This week one of our preschool children brought in a large watermelon that had grown in his family’s vegetable garden. It was so heavy, he needed assistance to carry it in from his car. This created lots of interest and discussion, and in particular, the conversation turned to how big and heavy the watermelon was, and of course to who likes to eat watermelon!
Our Preschool teacher found a set of scales to measure the watermelon on. She asked the children if they knew what the scales were?
Some of the children’s comments and responses were priceless:
- “A foot temperature.”
- “a foot clock”
- “A foot timer”
- “It tells how old you are.”
- “It tells how many size your feet are.”
- “A thing what Grandma said it’s a weight board. It times your feet.”
- “A clock to put your feet on.”
- “It tells you how much you cost.”
It was fascinating to hear their answers and understanding of the concept of weight.
The watermelon was weighed and came in just under 10 kilos! After this the children all had a turn weighing themselves and then various other objects from around their room.
By building on real life experiences, our educator was being creative and resourceful in providing opportunities for the children to expand their knowledge and understanding. This experience is now being extended in the preschool room, as the children continue to explore the concepts of weight and measurement.
CARING FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT
With the sunny weather and rainy afternoons our plants are growing and our gardens are looking fantastic - the weeds have also enjoyed the amazing weather.
Today, the children helped our educators to care for the garden beds, watering plants, and removing some of the weeds from our garden.
During this experience we chatted together about caring for our environment and discussed why it is important to remove the weeds.
One child explained to his friends that the “weeds will make our plants die”.
Another child suggested that there wasn’t enough room for both the plants and the weeds.
One child suggested that if we take out the weeds it will make our garden beautiful!
The children chatted together about helping at home. Stories about planting, weeding and watering experiences were shared as they worked together to tidy up our gardens.
By paying attention to environmental awareness and sustainability and including children in these care and maintenance experiences, is teaching them how to respect and care for themselves and their environment.
This is experience is linked to outcomes within the Early Years Learning Framework:
Learning outcome 2.4
Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment.
This is evident when children show growing appreciation and care for natural and constructed environments.
At the beginning of the year, we have many new children about to start at TG’s Child Care – being left in care with new friends and teachers can be difficult for some children. Shyness around new people and anxiety about separation from parents is common in young children.
All children have to learn to cope with temporary separations from their parents. Learning to be apart can be difficult for both children and parents. However, parents need time for themselves occasionally and children benefit from spending time with other people.
What is Separation Anxiety?
When being left with care-givers, some children cling, cry and protest, when their parents try to leave. They may appear terrified at the thought of their parents leaving. Young children may also burst into tears when their parents return. Parents can feel guilty or worried about leaving their child with other caregivers.
Why do children have difficulty separating from their parents?
Young children may have fears about letting their parents out of their sight. They may worry that their parents are not coming back, or be concerned for their parent’s safety. These types of fears are more common at times of stress or change, such as moving house, family illness or relationship problems.
Giving in and never going out alone because of children’s reactions to being left with others, encourages and rewards clingy behaviour. Rather than easing children’s anxiety, this can actually make things worse. Children need opportunities to learn how to separate from their parents.
Problems can be made worse by the way the separation takes place. Giving children a lot of attention, comfort and reassurance when they protest, may accidentally reward problem behaviour and lead to even more protesting in the future. On the other hand, rushing in to drop children off and then rushing out, may also increase children’s anxiety.
HOW TO SET UP FOR SUCCESS.
Prepare your child ahead of time.
Before starting in care, talk about it with your child. We encourage you to visit the centre together so your child feels comfortable there. Stay close by and allow your child to watch and meet other children and their educators. Avoid forcing your child to join in activities, unless they are genuinely showing interest and are wanting to participate. If possible, visit more than once and stay a little longer each time.
Explain to your child what to expect.
Prepare your child for the separation by explaining where they are going and when you will return. Try to link the time of your return with something the child will understand – “Sarah, I will be back after you have had lunch”, or “I will be back after rest time”.
ALWAYS make sure that you say “Goodbye” before you leave, and reassure them again about when you will be back. Even if the child appears settled and you don’t want to “unsettle” them. When parents simply ‘disappear’, this creates further problems for your child as they will become more anxious about when you may simply vanish from their world without warning.
Always let the educators know when you are planning to leave, so they can assist with the separation, comfort the child if needed, and provide a distraction or interest to assist with settling your child.
Be confident, smile and leave promptly – your child may choose to wave goodbye to you from the front window – this is often a lovely part of the separation process that our carers support and encourage if appropriate.
Even if your child is upset when you leave, please be reassured that all of our educators are experienced and well trained in settling children, supporting their needs, comforting them, and providing them with the highest level of care and education. Feel free to call anytime to check on your child and to reassure yourself that they are settling in.
Play V Pressure
What is happening to Play?
Free, spontaneous and self-initiated play was once the norm for young children and seen as a measure of healthy growth and development. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Today, parents are being pressured to replace simple, fun play activities and experiences with adult-directed games and academic instruction.
Today the meaning and value of play has changed: sadly, play is often looked upon as frivolous and simply a waste of time.
Now there seems to be a burden of pressure on children and parents in so many areas. It seems you are not really 'educating' your child if they are not enrolled in all sorts of sports, dance, swimming, and other various academic and skill-based activities. We seem to be in such a hurry to push them into so many different classes, even before they start school, and we have forgotten to let them do what they are supposed to be doing.
The work of a child is to PLAY!
And remember, behind every great kid is a Mum and/or Dad who is pretty sure they're screwing it all up! We all know that children don't come with an instruction manual!
Let's remember the fun times we had as young children, exploring our environments, making cubbies, trying to catch butterflies, rolling down grassy hills and climbing trees.
At TG's Child Care we provide natural playground environments that encourage children to be creative and explore, experiment and discover, always supported and nurtured by our team of qualified educators. We allow children to have a play-based, fun and educational experience.
Our mission statement says it all: Playing is learning for life!
TG's Child Care - High Street.
Construction is well established, with building completed, painters in, and landscape works under-way. Lots of interest and enquiry are taking place, and we are working towards our opening early in 2015.
Child observing snail moving across path. Child's drawing of the snail and our strawberry plants and garden.
At TG's Child Care our Mission is: "Playing is Learning for Life."
Our role as educators is to listen to the children, engage with them, ask questions and speculate and wonder with them. We aim to foster children's curiosity through exploring, experimenting and discovering together, supporting and enhancing enquiry-based learning. Often this takes place by simply focussing attention on the small things - and sharing the children's ideas and knowledge.
Earlier this week, the children noticed some snails in our garden, in amongst the strawberry patch, and they collected them in a container. They took the snails over to a wooden plank and observed them moving as they re-emerged from their shells.
Girl: :"Cheeky snails! They were in our garden trying to eat our strawberries! You know, this boy snail can even eat the green ones and never even get a tummy-ache!"
Through the conversation, the children referred to the snails as boys and girls and I asked them how they knew which snails were boys or which were girls?
Boy: "Well, if they have little shells, they are a boy. If they have big shells, they are a mum."
Girl: "No, the boy snails are the really, really slimey ones, and the girls are not, and see this one here, this is a grandma snail."
I asked how she knew it was a grandma snail. Her reply: "You know it's a grandma because it has white bits on it."
I also learnt through our conversation that you "can pat snails, they are very soft, but you can't smack them, 'cos they get squashed!"
One child observed that the snails looked like they were having a race along the board.
Girl: "I wonder which one is the fastest and will be the winner?"
Boy: "No, they are both racing together and both will be winners - see, they both won!"
It is so refreshing to stop and sit with young children and really listen in to and extend their conversations. It is absolutely delightful to be part of these special moments in time - seeing the world through their eyes!
Building Community Connections
The philosophy at TG’s Child Care Centres is ‘To have fun in an inclusive environment’. The philosophy and the environment it refers to are not confined to the bricks and mortar of each centre: it goes beyond the walls and play areas to embrace the wider community. Underpinning the philosophy is the belief that children learn by doing. Our Mission statement is that ‘Playing is Learning for Life’.
Joining in community activities and annual events, such as the Thunderbolt’s Festival in Uralla, Armidale’s Autumn Festival and Wauchope’s Lasiandra Festival allows the children to learn about contributing to the community – and how much enjoyment can be derived from such activities. Participation in these events also shows that TG’s is a positive, supportive, and contributing member of their local community.
On Saturday (25 October) TG’s Uralla Centre participated in one of Uralla’s biggest events: the annual Thunderbolt’s Festival. This is a time when the Uralla community comes together to celebrate its uniqueness. The street parade is a display of the wide range of local businesses and services available in the town and surrounding environment.
Preparing the float for the street parade is a team effort: staff, children and family members all join in to create the float. The sense of community and teamwork is shared by all who contribute to the project. The children prepare art and craft decorations, and then dress up for the day, according the theme of the year. This year’s theme was ‘The colours of SPRING’.
Not only do the children learn how to co-operate constructively with their peers, they see that teamwork involves collaboration, negotiation and sharing the workload and the end result is something everyone can take credit for and pride in. Parents and staff assist in designing and decorating the float, structures go up and are then decorated creatively. This year we had a bright and colourful float adorned with spring blossoms and flowers, and the children and staff armed with bubble blowers and water pistols, ready to squirt the crowd of spectators lining the streets.
A FUN day shared by all!
TG's Child Care Wauchope recently participated in the National Quality Assessment and Rating visit that assesses and measures early childhood service's quality against a vast range of standards and elements as governed by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority. (ACECQA). This assessment process forms part of the Quality Framework which was introduced to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children and their families using education and care services.
Services are assessed and rated in 7 identified Quality Areas:
1) Educational Program and Practice
2) Children's Health and Safety
3) Physical Environment
4) Staffing Arrangements
5) Relationships with Children
6) Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities
7) Leadership and Service Management.
After a visit to the service for 1 - 2 days, an Assessment and Compliance Officer observes interactions and relationships within the environment and reviews paperwork and documentation. The overall rating awarded by an Assessor can be: "Significant Improvement Required", "Working towards the Standards", Meeting the Standards" or "Exceeding the Standards".
TG's Child Care Wauchope has received the rating of Exceeding the National Standards. Yay!
Our team at TG's Child Care is absolutely thrilled to have received the Exceeding Rating. It is an honour which is well-earned by the professional team of dedicated educators of the service, and is reflective of the passion and commitment of the Approved Providers, Trevor and Gayle Kee, supported by the Director, Amy Trotter.
The Assessment System is a great way of reflecting upon everything we do, recognising what we do really well, and then setting goals for areas we would like to improve on, and develop a plan for the process of continual improvement.
TG's Child Care would also like to thank the wonderful children, families and local community for their invaluable role and support of our service delivery every day.
WELL DONE TG's CHILD CARE - EXCEEDING EFFORT!