Learn about our Kindergarten Teacher Michelle Watt’s and her teaching philosophy!

Learn about our Kindergarten Teacher Michelle Watt's and her teaching philosophy!

 

My name is Michelle Watt, I am the Kindergarten teacher at Kool Kidz Mill Park. I have been teaching Kinder for the last three years, previous to this I have worked in agricultural research, electrical wholesale industry and owned a printing business. On a personal note I am the proud mother of two active teenage boys.

 

As for my personal philosophy; I believe that all children are capable learners, who learn through playing in a social environment, with many open-ended experiences. I believe that the children need to feel a sense of belong and will learn best in that environment. To achieve a sense of belonging I will work closely with the child and their families to gain an insight into the child’s culture, beliefs and their interests. I will incorporate activities which are familiar to them into the program to make them feel more secure.

 

As an educator I will provide the structures and support that each child needs to develop physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially. I believe that play-based learning is imperative and I will encourage the children to work together in a collaborative partnership to solve any challenges they face. I will also provide support in the form of scaffolding to assist children in their learning. The educational environment that I intend to provide will be calm and spacious, with a wide variety of open-ended challenging activities which follow the children’s interests. Outside I believe that children should have access to dirt, mud, sand and water to learn about the natural environment.

 

Families and people who are significant to the child are always welcome; they are the child’s first educators and know their child interests, needs and abilities. I intend to build trusting relationship with all families and will strongly encourage their participation in daily activities.

 

As an educator I am aware that my learning is never complete, I will always be learning about children and how to teach them effectively. To reflect on my own learning journey I will observe and communicate with the children; recording and reflecting on their interests and knowledge, as well as my own thoughts in my reflective journal. Through analysing these records I will detect gaps in my knowledge and practices and I will be able to build upon them by seeking out courses or assistance from colleagues.



Kindergarten Fish Tank Reflection

Kindergarten Fish Tank Reflection

This week, the kinder children were busy setting up the new fish tank for our new fish friends in the kinder room!

During the setup, the children developed a range of maths and science skills as they were encouraged to place the yellow and blue small rocks into the fish tank and numerous buckets of water and were asked “How many buckets of water they thought we would need to fill up the tank?” They were excited to hear the sounds the small rocks made when it touched the bottom of the tank without water. We then decided to challenge the children and apply their thinking strategies by asking them to put more rocks in the tank whilst it had water. The children then had to investigate why the rocks made no sound when water was added to the tank. The children engaged in conversations amongst each other, their educators and our special visitor, Julian who kindly donated the fishes. This was a great opportunity to further develop the children’s vocabulary and cognitive skills through identification and discuss comparisons amongst the assorted fishes in the tank.

Having a fish tank in our kinder room will not only provide the children a great introduction on responsibility and ownership of a pet but is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn about nature, science and living things. We hope to encourage and to teach the children to develop bonds with animals to help children build empathy. Sharing information and teaching our children to care for a small pet can also provide them with the opportunity to learn more about animals and to observe and interact. We also hope to see that the fish tank brings a tranquil and calming experience for the children in our room and provide a real-life example to learn about underwater ecosystems. The children are very excited to name our fish friends in the coming weeks!

Learning Outcomes:                                                                                                                                          

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world                                                                                                        2.4 Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners                                                                                                                           4.1 Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators                                                                                                                                      5.1 Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes

KBC: The World & The Environment, My Five Senses

 

 



Kool Kidz Mill Park Kindergartners Working on a Pom Pom Rug!

Kool Kidz Mill Park Kindergartners Working on a Pom Pom Rug!

 

Recently some of our kindergarten children commenced our ‘Pom Pom Rug’.

Threading is a great fun fine motor activity for preschoolers as it encourages good hand-eye co-ordination and control of the muscles of the hand and fingers. The kinder children enjoyed this experience as it allowed them to become creative thinkers, participate in problem solving, persevere on their task and a good understanding of their spatial awareness. This also encouraged the children to think and further develop their maths skills by asking them “How many Pom Pom’s do you think we need to go around the mat”, and “How can we create a colour pattern?”

Threading the wool and needle and then onto the mat was challenging for some, however this task involves bilateral coordination of the children’s hands, and requires their eyes and hands to work together which allowed the children to be involved in challenging,  yet fun experience. The children demonstrated persistence and applied her thinking strategies when wrapping the wool around the template continuously with little assistance and remained focused. They understood the concept of colours when choosing their preferred wool without reassurance from an educator.  The children interacted well using both verbal and non-verbal language effectively with the educator and their peers and were able to communicate clearly of her needs and shared their accomplishments.

The children are very excited to see the weekly progress on this ongoing project as they will continue to have the opportunity to participate and see the final outcome!

We are hoping the end product will bring a beautiful colourful mat where the children are able to enjoy quiet time independently or in small groups, or simply relax whilst reading a book.

Learning Outcomes:

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity

1.4 Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect

 

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

3.1Children become strong in their social and emotional well-being

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learner

4.1 Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity

 

KBC: Built It, My Five Sense, Letters & Words, Numbers

 

 

 



Sparky the Dalmatian Fire Dog visits Kool Kidz Mill Park

Sparky the Dalmatian Fire Dog visits Kool Kidz Mill Park

Today we had a visit from Mark and Sparky the Dalmatian Fire Dog.

Sparky went to all rooms at Kool Kidz Mill Park giving the children the opportunity to meet him and have a pat if they were comfortable too.

In the Kinder and Butterflies rooms, Mark spoke to the children first about how to approach a dog. These are the steps below:

1. Ask the dog’s owner if you can meet their dog.
2. If the pet’s owner says yes, greet the dog with your arm out in front of you and your hand in a fist.
3. Hold your fist low so the dog can smell it. If the dog turns away, leave it be. The dog may not want a pat right now. If he leans in or licks your hand, you’ve been given the green light, but proceed slowly.
4. Pat the dog gently, paying attention to his response. If he seems eager for more, give him a good back scratch. Keep your child away from the dog’s face, just in case.
5. Don’t forget to say “Thank you” to the dog when they are done patting them. And also thank the owner for allowing you to pat their dog.

Mark also spoke to the children about what to do if there is a fire. The words he used were STOP, DROP, and CRAWL. He also had Sparky the Dalmatian show us how he could do STOP, DROP and ROLL. We thought Sparky was so clever being able to roll all by himself.

Mark was provided with an amazing chocolate gift hamper for taking the time to drive all the way down from Yallourn. The children and educators alike appreciated Sparky and his talents.

 

 



Fun Composting in Our Kinder Room

Fun Composting in Our Kinder Room

As recycling is important at our service and in our community, so is composting which is why the kinder children participated in a hands on learning experience about composting. The children decided we use the left over banana peels and place them in our compost kit in our kinder room. The children engage well together as they first tore the banana peels apart and then placed the peels and soil in the compost kit. They enjoyed using their hands pushing and squishing the peels in the soil, whilst some children were curious and picked up the magnify glass to have a closer look. This experience focused on sustainability practices and raised awareness on how food does not get broken down in garbage bins as there is not enough oxygen in landfills. With the children getting involved in the composting process they not only learnt how to protect and care for the environment but also learnt that by composting we create quality fertilizer for our gardens.

This experience supported the children to be active learners as they participated and showed appreciation and care for our planet’s environment.

The children are excited to see the coming week’s progress, as they will watch it decompose slowly and then place the fertilizer in our outdoor garden beds.

Learning Outcomes:

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

2.4 Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners

4.1 Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity

4.3 Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another

KBC: The World & The Environment, My Five Sense

 



Dinosaurs Discoveries in July at Kool Kidz Mill Park

Dinosaurs Discoveries in July at Kool Kidz Mill Park

This week the kinder children explored the world of Dinosaurs and were fascinated and curious about these big, little and extraordinary creatures. The experience was open ended as it invited the children to engage in groups or alone allowing them to explore the world of Dinosaurs and opened up their creative and imaginative minds in their Dinosaur adventures. Lots of new ‘Dinosaur’ words were introduced such Tyrannosaurus Rex, Spinosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Fossils and Extinction where they were able to expand on their vocabulary skills. The children were also able to apply maths as they had a great time incorporating measurement of all the different types of Dinosaurs.

To include sensory play with our Dinosaur discoveries, the children were excited to explore frozen Dinosaur eggs. Not only was this a sensory play for the children to explore ice with their hands but also a scientific discovery as they had to  problem solve the Dinosaurs trapped in the iced eggs and determine how they can help them hatch!

Resources such as magnifying glasses were also used to take a closer look at the baby dinosaurs after hatching. This experience was a fun and imaginative play for the children as they engaged in lots of conversations, asked questions and were very excited to explore.

Learning Outcomes

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity

1.2 Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners

4.1Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.

4.2 Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators

5.1 Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes

5.3 Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

KBC: Let’s Pretend, Kidz Lab, My Five Senses, Numbers, Letters and Words



Kale Chips Cooking Experience for Kool Kidz Mill Park

Kale Chips Cooking Experience for Kool Kidz Mill Park

At Kool Kidz Mill Park, our Kindergarten room love cooking which is why we implement a cooking experience each week.

Not only does cooking experiences with preschoolers enable them to learn and practice some basic math concepts, but also help build and improve their language skills and further develop their fine motor skills and eye hand coordination.
To encourage healthy food choices, our cooking experience this week with the children involved them making Kale Chips in our dining room – and YES we do have a dining room!

They were able to identify and become aware of fairness and make connections with healthy eating habits as the children engaged in having turns at tearing, mixing and tasting. The children communicated with one another as they asked questions, made predictions and were provided with opportunities to explore their senses This cooking experience was fun and interactive and a great way for building confidence and learning a new life skill.

How to Make Kale Chips

Ingredients
• 1 bunch Kale
• 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
• ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 110 C.
2. Rinse and thoroughly dry kale, then tear into small pieces and discard any large stems.
3. Add Kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil and parmesan cheese. Toss thoroughly to combine, using hands to distribute the oil and parmesan cheese evenly.
4. Spread the kale over a large baking tray, ensuring the kale touches as little as possible to help them crisp while baking.
5. Bake for 15 minutes and lightly toss kale to ensure even baking. Bake the Kale for a further 5-10 minutes, or until kale is crispy and very slight golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. The kale chips will crisp up even more once out of the oven.
7. Enjoy and eat immediately!

Note: This recipe is versatile and can be modified to include whatever flavours or seasonings you desire.

Learning Outcomes:
Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing- Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing
Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners- Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators- Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
KBC: My Five Senses, Numbers, Active Healthy Bodies

 



Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Mother's Day Afternoon Tea

This afternoon we held an afternoon tea at Kool Kidz Mill Park for Mother’s Day.

We invited all mum’s and special persons to come and enjoy a beautiful afternoon tea put on by our cook, Liam which included scones with jam and cream along with vanilla bread, biscuits and fairy bread. Read more »



A Talk About War

A Talk About War

 

This morning the Butterflies and Kinder children had a visit from Addison’s Pa Barry who is a Vietnam Veteran. Barry spoke to the children about war and ANZAC day. Barry had a conversation with the children about Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought at Gallipoli and that explained that’s why it’s called ANZAC day, a day where we come together and remember all the men and women who lost their lives at war.

Barry showed us a photo of himself and his friend Jeff whilst in Vietnam and we learnt that Barry spent 13 months away at this war. During the Vietnam War in the soldier camps there wasn’t a lot for the soldiers to do; when they were not firing riffles they would play cards, play football, make sand bags, and fix the wire fence perimeter.
We learnt that animals went to war too and in Vietnam there were horses and dogs.
We got to look at Barry’s water bottle and he showed us a tea cup/maker that he used at war and still uses to this day. It has a part at the bottom where you light a fire to boil the water.
Thank you so much to Barry for coming out and speaking to the children about War and ANZAC day it was a great incursion.

Links to Frameworks:
Identity: Children respond to questions and ideas from others
Community: Children discover and explore connections with people
Well-being: Children demonstrate trust and confidence
Learning: Children are curious and enthusiastic participants in their learning
Communication: Children ask questions that are appropriate to their learning

Letters and Words



A Special Visitor…

A Special Visitor…

 

Today we were very lucky to have a special visitor come talk to the Butterfly and Kinder children. His name was Satindar and he is in the Army.

Satindar came dressed in his Green army uniform and big green backpack and spoke to us about what was inside his backpack and what his job at the Army was.

He told us that he helps protect people and he showed us what was inside his big bag. Things like a pillow and food. We got the chance to ask Satinder questions and listen to all the interesting stories he told us.

At the end of his talk we each got a special army coloured braclet to take home. We were so excited to learn about what Satinder does for a job.

EYLF: Community: Develop an awareness of the impact of human activity on environments and the interdependence of living things.