There is something about this silly season, even though it’s a mad rush to have everything ready, everything finished and complete, there is still a sense of joy and light heartedness. I’ve spent quite some time in the rooms over the last few days, and I have loved watching how each child’s eyes light up at the sight or mention of Christmas.
Our Butterflies room have shown a great interest in letters and writing since the beginning of Kool Kidz Ravenhall. One of our very first articles was all about the children engaging in book writing and writing their names; this interest continues and the growth between then and now is clearly visible. Therefore, a learning area for Letters and Words (referring to our eleven blocks), is always evident in the Butterflies / Kinder program.
Last week, our Kinder Teacher created name cards for each child, on the inside of the little patty pans, Sheemal printed single letters (a lot of times). Children were then encouraged to find and match the letters to their names, and stick them on a piece of recycled card from a box. Two of the children were set a challenge to not use their name cards and try and recall what letters appeared in their name, challenge accepted- challenged conquered.
The Educators encouraged the use of the correct names of the letters and also offered a lot of praise for all their attempts. Children were so proud of their efforts when completed and a lot of them couldn’t wait to show their families.
So not only was this activity great for exercising their ability to match symbols but also a great way to encourage letter recognition, build on their ability to concentrate, embed their sense of identity and self-worth.
|Kool Beginnings Curriculum|
|Letters and Words|
|Me, Myself and I|
|Early Years Learning Framework|
|Seek out and accept new challenges, make new discoveries, and celebrate their own efforts and achievements and those of others|
|Begin to understand key literacy concepts and processes, such as the sounds of language, letter-sound relationships, concepts of print and the ways that texts are structured|
Watching our Kinder children exit the gates in their matching blue polos, really pulled on some heart strings. The Educational Leader followed them out, taking photos and almost shedding a tear. Before the children crossed the first road, one child looks up to his educator and says, “I’ll look both ways, if there’s no cars, we can walk on the road”. With that, she knew the children were going to have a great time and be in safe hands.
As they took to the streets of Ravenhall, the children amazed their educators by pointing out all the numbers on the letterboxes and engaging in conversations about their own houses. “This is number three”, “This is like my house”, “My house doesn’t have that”. They took note of the footpaths and how some surfaces had cracks and others were mended by “road” (the black tar they use on roads).
When the group of explorers reached their destination, they all scattered around and searched high and low for natural materials that can be used. They worked together, and helped each other. They proved to be quite a team.
Their eyes lit up when they were heard that they could have a play on the equipment. They all seemed to love the ‘Spinner’ and laughed hysterically when they hopped off and felt dizzy.
After some really hard work and playing, the children gathered under some big beautiful trees and sat upon some rocks taking in the breeze. They had a big drink of water and feasted on some crackers, dried fruit and fruit. They engaged in conversations about the environment they were in and the foods they were eating. Our Educators used this moment to point out how nutritional fruits are for your body and we should eat them every day, but crackers were good as a sometimes food, and don’t provide us with as much energy as fruits.
Once their levels were replenished the children cleared their rubbish and repacked for the walk home.
The walking excursion was such a big hit, it was not only a learning experience about natural materials, but the children were exposed to math, nutrition, road safety, conversational skills and team work (just to name a few).
KBC– Active Healthy Bodies, The World and the Environment, Numbers, Me Myself and I,
- Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment
- Show an increasing awareness of healthy lifestyles and good nutrition
- Engage in learning relationships
Our Kindergartens first walking excursion.
Children’s Week is around the corner and this year’s theme is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 29 – Education should develop each child’s personality and talents to the full. It should encourage children to respect their parents, their cultures and other cultures.
A small group of team members came together and brainstormed ways we could come together as a community, and do three activities across the week that would intertwine not only with the theme of Children’s Week, but also with what was happening in the rooms and the service. One of the three, was a group canvas painting- something that everyone could add in any way that they liked, BUT, we wanted to create paintbrushes with natural materials – it will be a great way to introduce and teach children (especially our Kinder and Butterfly rooms who have been painting still life and self portraits), about how different cultures and communities create their art.
Then like a lightbulb – we had the idea of the Kinder children taking a walk to our local park and collecting the materials for the paintbrushes themselves. Oh the buzz that filled that planning room was enough to launch a rocket into space. So in three days, we assessed, planned, mapped out and gained permission to take our VERY FIRST excursion.
The day finally came, and the children were taught important lessons about walking in the great outdoors. Slip, Slop and Slap, bags were packed and our four Kinder children set out on a journey…
To be continued…
Who would have thought that from an interest in measuring, our Kinder children would take on drawing their own self-portraits?
On one particular day, a child constructed a pretty awesome tower, but what was even more awesome, was that he stood up and measured himself against it. Our Kinder teacher extended on his interest of math and measurement by tracing out the children on large butcher’s paper and placing wooden blocks around them. Not only did the children come together and help, but they all counted and compared the number of blocks it took to go around each of their peers. All of a sudden, our Kinder teacher had children engaged in an activity that promoted provocation.
As this experience evolved, so did the direction of it.
Children asked if they could draw on their faces and paste on their clothing, they even compared different hair types, colours and what they were wearing. What a great way to extend on self-identity, inquiry, verbal communication and fine motor skills.
Sheemal (our Kinder teacher) took this opportunity to extend on this learning by having the children draw their self-portraits using mirrors. The conversations that took place were engaging and children began to use much more descriptive language. Something else also evolved from this, self-pride. Once children saw their pictures displayed they were eager to show other educators and their families. What a beautiful quality to instil in these children and a wonderful way for children to revisit their learning.
What Sheemal began to observe was that the children were much more inquisitive about different people’s hair colour and eye colour. They would even compare different objects in the room. To continue this learning experience and broaden their knowledge, Sheemal had the Kinder children draw ½ self-portraits. Children were shown their photo with half of their face covered and offered different mediums to use on their portraits.
The results were so beautiful and interesting. Each child noticed that they are unique, special and beautiful. This activity also promoted their fine motor skills- steady hand, the correct hand grip, writing their names and colour matching.
We love seeing the Kinder children take so much pride in their work and how much they love showing their efforts.