March Family Newsletter 2019

From the Director …..
Dear Families,
I would like to welcome all our new families and children who have joined us in the past few weeks.
Each day we as educators reflect on the day’s activities and experiences the children have enjoyed throughout the day. The children are always so proud of their work and they love to share it with you.
Families are asked to take a minute or two to have a look at their child’s Learning Journey, the program, and their room’s floor book, which are all located outside of each classroom.

Acquaintance Evening
We will be hosting our first Acquaintance Evening on Tuesday 2nd April 6pm-8pm. This is a great opportunity for parents/carers to spend some time with your child’s educators one on one to discuss your child’s development, interests and any concerns you may have. There are timetables located outside of each room so please ensure you have booked in a time.
We do ask where possible that these are attended without children as it gives yourself and the educators quality time to reflect on your child’s development.

Staffing
With our centre continuing to grow, we have had some staff changes occur recently. Susie who has been working in Nursery has decided to join the Grasshopper and Canary rooms and we welcome Charlotte who has joined us on a casual basis.
Immunisation Records
An incoming requirement for Early Childhood centres is that immunisation records must be kept.
Records can either be downloaded from Medicare and emailed or we can photocopy them from your child’s blue book.

Grow free cart
Have you accessed our cart outside Reception?
Families, staff members and the wider community can drop off their surplus fruits, vegies, preserves, eggs, seeds, seedlings, etc and take someone else’s. It is about giving what you can and taking what you can. If you have anything in which you would like to donate please place it upon the cart
http://www.growfree.org.au/

Lost Property
Don’t forget to check the lost property bins located outside of your child’s classroom. At the end of two weeks if there are any unclaimed items, we will be placing the items into the Vinnies donation bin. Please remember to name your child’s clothing to help minimize missing items.

 

Hello Families

We welcome back Hannah from her holiday to England and thank Charlotte for her support over those 3 weeks. The Starfish educator team from April will be Zoe and Hannah, who will both be working full-time. Susie will instead be working in between the Grasshopper and Canary classrooms, this will support our children transitioning in April and May. The previous three months have been full of joyful moments, many milestones reached and lots of learning!

In January we celebrated Australia’s culture; acknowledging the Indigenous community, participated in Australian cooking lessons and enjoyed Australia’s music and sport together. Vegemite finger painting, making damper, milo playdough, lamington putty and wattle flower painting were new experiences we offered to the children. We also enjoyed a whole centre lunch on Friday the 25th; eating a sausage sizzle on the grass! Another highlight of January was extending the group interest of music and movement. We investigated what sounds we could identify and create, as well as exploring our body’s possibilities with performing complex gross-motor movements. The children were invited to join group musical games, yoga, playing musical instruments, learning new action songs, climbing and dancing with scarves outside.

Throughout February some children changed their attendance days, we farewelled some children and welcomed new children. Therefore, a big focus this month was promoting a sense of being, belonging and becoming. We also continued our ‘trip around the world’ to Italy! The children were exposed to their way of life through listening to traditional music, smelling herbs, pasta play, making biscotti biscuits, preparing their own pizzas for dinner, finger painting with pizza sauce and were introduced to some basic Italian words. In late February the older Starfish children demonstrated very helpful and nurturing interactions with the educators and younger children. We further encouraged this through celebrating each child’s effort to make difference and showcase their own capable skills. The children were observed assisting educators at routine times and comforting their peers.

In late February and early March, the children explored 3 more cultures; immersing in African, English and American experiences. The children appeared to find most enjoyment learning about Africa’s wildlife, participating in English inspired sensorial play and engaging in American inspired food experiences. We received parent input regarding many children connecting to nature recently. We followed that interest and it also tied into Clean up Australia day and ‘World Water’ day in March! Starfish educators offered the children nature inspired creative experiences as well as encouraging the children to be sustainable throughout sensorial and outdoor play. The musical wall attached to the fence outside was another addition to our outdoor classroom in March!

The activities of Practical Life in the Montessori curriculum are divided into three categories; Care of the Environment, Care of the Person (oneself) and Grace and Courtesy. Each fortnight we continue focus on an element from each category. Each element is chosen based on either following the children’s interests, parent input or intentional teaching. So far for ‘Care of the environment’ we have focussed on returning items to their place, cleaning spills, watering the garden, putting rubbish in the bin and being sustainable with food. For ‘Care of the person (oneself)’ we have concentrated on supporting the children through using the hat pockets, cleaning own face and hands and returning belonging to own bag. We have used circle time to promote our ‘Grace and Courtesy’ topics such as welcoming and farewelling, wiping nose and covering mouth when coughing. A big achievement for the group this year is many children are now serving self independently at meal times, with the use of child-sized water jugs, smaller food dishes, tongs and serving themselves!

We look forward to another great term! Advanced notice that Zoe will be on annual leave from April 14th and will return on May 6th.

Thank you, The Starfish Team.

In January we welcomed Kai and Aisha to the Treasured Tots family. With the new year it also meant we had to say goodbye to some of our friends as they were moving to Canary Room – Sophie, Emma, Alana and Lucas we wish them all the best in their new classroom. We also got to say hello to some new friends moving from starfish to Grasshopper – Ashlee, Hamish, Emerson, Jaxton and Evie.

As the new year began our classroom jumped right back into practical life activities, this involved getting our garden to recover from the heat and get it ready for the heat that was coming. It was at this time of the year that our cucumbers began to grow and we where able to share them with the community via our grow free cart. We were also able to pull up the second round of carrots that we had planted, they were a little tough to get out at first until we watered the soil. We continue to care for our garden on a daily basis by ensuring it has been watered and keeping an eye on the produce that it is growing.

Inside the classroom we were busy learning about healthy teeth and the benefits of eating healthy food. Steph set up trays for cleaning teeth, place the healthy food on the tooth and tooth collage. We even got to paint with tooth brushes. Exploring this aspect of care of one self-allowed the children to begin to understand dental hygiene and healthy nutrition.

As we moved through the month of January the grasshopper room began to develop a strong interest in pouring. Our practical life shelf was changed to reflect the children’s interest; we had pouring dry and pouring liquid. As the grasshoppers become more confident in pouring the tools on the tray were changed to offer a harder skill set. Practicing these skills through the practical life shelf have now empowered the Grasshopper to pour all their own drinks with little to no spills.



As we came to the end of January the centre celebrated its first community event Australia Day. In the lead up to the event the Grasshopper children were exposed to the statement of Acknowledge, which is still read out before group times. We had Australia animal matching activities kangaroo, koala, spikey thorny devil, platypus and dingo this activity was popular with some of older Grasshopper children. To mark Australia Day, which fell on Saturday 26th 2019 the centre, had an Australia day lunch, which we all shared outside this included sausages, beetroot, cheese and carrot salad, garden salad and tomato sauce.

Moving into February Vanda and Steph continued with the Australia theme as the children were still interested about their country. We also began to introduce another community event Lunar New Year which we did by exploring the Chinese alphabet, painting pigs and making moon cakes to share. The Chinese alphabet allowed the children to interpret as they chose one letter and had a go at painting it with water colours.

 

With the children still displaying an interest in the Chinese based activity Step came in with some chopsticks, Chinese spoons, fan making and a traditional dress for the children to explore.

The children also become more involved in shared play and shared experiences, one of the experiences included The Grasshopper Fruit Market, this involved the children buying their morning tea. The fruit available to buy were bananas, apples, pears, strawberries, peach and kiwi. The kiwi seemed to be the most popular as the market ran out. The result of this was interesting as some were over paying and under paying for their fruit. This shared experience then allowed the educators to plan for more this was followed up by making pizza scrolls waiting patiently, taking turns and sharing. Cooking lesson offered the children to learn about food in moderation and how it comes to end up on their plate. During this experience the children and educators spoke about what they have on their pizza at home.

Through the month of February, the Grasshoppers were developing their skills in various areas around numbers, the sand paper numbers with the coloured rice seemed to be a favourite and learning to write the numbers did seem a bit tricky but we all wanted to give it a go. We even explored what it would be like to be a hairdresser as Vanda introduced the hair dressing station where the children, where the children were able to practice brushing their own hair and attempt to put their hair up. There was even the chance to make their own skittles with Steph, this was a process that meant we had to take turns and listen. Outside when we got to use them Steph showed the Grasshopper how they worked however our friends had different ideas and wanted to use their bodies instead so they were moved over to the bottom of the slide. As well as caring for the classroom our Grasshopper children are becoming more confident in using the spray bottles to clean tables, mopping floors and washing their own utensils.

Dear Families,

I’d like to say a warm welcome to all our new children and families in the Canary room.
The transitioning children have settled well into the daily routine and have begun establishing friendships with peers and educators. The first few weeks focused on friendship social skills, which helped the children develop friendships as they played together. The children were involved in different games and lessons, which helped them to learn friendship skills. The games introduced concepts such as sharing, taking turns, cooperating, listening to others, managing disagreement and negotiating different ways of thinking about things. The children seemed to enjoy name games – clapping syllables in their names and group games – who took the cookie from the cookie jar and bug under the rug.

The children have continued using our classroom recycle bins to sort different items and place in the correct recycle bin. I have even noticed children helping each other when sorting their rubbish out in the recycling bins. We have also started to use recycled materials for our art experiences! If you have any spare milk cartons, lids, small boxes and tins please feel free to donate to the Canary room for box construction with loose parts.

Each fortnight we focus on a different letter-sound. During group time, the children trace around the letter flash card and then we discuss different objects that begin with the sound (they can look at pictures of objects that the educator provides). The children are encouraged to draw a picture of something that begins with the sound on the white board.

The children practise writing the sound and then drawing a picture of an object that begins with the sound in their writing books. We have also been learning how to hold the pencil with the correct pencil grip (we have pencil grips) and also learning how to write the letters the correct way (children learn this through tracing around the letter flash cards). The children are each provided with a large nametag to learn how to write their names, either tracing on the window or on the table. The children seem to like tracing their names and then decorating their names with a variety of materials such as paint and coloured bits of paper.

Each fortnight we also focus on a number. The educator introduced the number during group and places the counters under the number. The children learn one to one correspondence and the number and the quantity are the same. After learning about the number of the fortnight the children are then involved in a number game. Over the last few weeks the educator flips the number cards upside down, one child at a time flips the number over and verbalises the number and then places the counters under the number – we continue this process until all number cards have been flipped.


This term we are learning about the seven continents and are incorporating the children’s family backgrounds by investigating specific countries. The children have learnt the seven continents song and are involved in locating the focus continent of the fortnight on our large world map each day during group. We have looked at Australia and now we are investigating Europe. This fortnight we have been learning about Europe and this fortnight we have been learning about Italy because one of the children’s families are from Italy. The children have been learning about Italian culture, landmarks, cuisine and language – they love looking at pictures of these areas during group time!
Please share your families’ background with the educators so we can mark where your family is from on the world map and also learn more about the country …

The Canary daily routine and fortnightly plan are displayed in the room – I encourage families to provide feedback on the fortnightly program in the parents’ feedback box to ensure that the children are gaining as much as possible from the programme. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to come and see me because I’m more than happy to work with you to assist in your child’s development and learning.

Thanks, Beck.