October Family Newsletter 2018

Director’s Note

We are excited to announce that we celebrated Treasured Tots Christie Downs 1st Birthday this month – how time flies.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new families who have joined us over the past few months and look forward to working with you and your children.

This month has also seen a slight change to our menu and I am happy to inform you all that we have now changed late snack to a 4:30pm dinner. These dinners will be hot meals with all allergies catered for.

 

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Staffing

With our centre growing we have welcomed some new staff members. Steph has joined the Grasshopper Team with Vanda, Steph has over 20 years experience and will be with us on Tuesdays,Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sarah has joined us also working between the Grasshopper and Canary Rooms 3 days per week. We would also like to welcome Lyndall who has joined us on a casual basis. These staff have created strong bonds with the children already.

I would also like to let you all know that I will be on holidays from Tuesday 6th – Friday 17th November. I am unsure as of yet who will be replacing me but know that it will be another Director/Assistant Director from another centre. Please feel free to approach them while I am away or any other staff member.

Individual and Class Photos

A professional photographer will be at the Centre on Tuesday 13th November. I will provide more information within the next week on how to put your order in if you would like your child’s photo to be taken.

Grow free cart

Have you accessed our cart outside Reception?

Families, staff members and the wider community can drop off their surplus fruits, veggies, 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. Also, please check http://www.growfree.org.au/

Spare clothes

We are always in need of spare pants for those little accidents. If you have any that your children have grown out of we would love to have them for spares. If your child is in the process of toilet training please ensure you pack plenty of spare clothes and underwear.

Reminders

As we are approaching summer can you please pack a bucket hat for your child, unfortunately if they do not have a hat they will need to sit under the veranda.
Can you also pack some spare clothes as in the warmer weather the children will participate in water play.

Can you believe there is only just over 2 months left of 2018!

Looking over our Learning Journey we have experienced so much together this year, including welcoming new children to our Starfish Classroom and farewelling children who have graduated to the Grasshopper Classroom.

Last July, we acknowledged NAIDOC Week.

The children were offered activities that were inspired by the Australian Indigenous culture such as; making damper, experimenting with Lemon-Mrytle Playdough and clay, painting with items from nature, as well as investigating a digeridoo and a boomerang.

Following on from NAIDOC celebrations we offered the children creative experiences that allowed them to experiment with paint using objects instead of a paint brush. Masterpieces of art were created with teabags, kitchen utensils, bubble wrap, toy car wheels and plastic puzzle shapes. A variety of natural and recycled resources were also added to our classroom during July for more open-ended play opportunities.


Throughout August, we embedded circle time into our daily routine. We introduced ‘what is hiding in the box’, sang action songs and read story books together on a large circle mat together. This month we also participated in National Science Week and Children’s Book Week. The children were offered many opportunities to discover and experiment alongside each other.

Through reflection, the Starfish educators found inspiration in a quote from Maria Montessori “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed”. We provided the children with more opportunities for independence, especially during routine times and creative experiences.

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 from September we focussed 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 gardening and washing. For ‘Care of the person (oneself)’ we have concentrated on hygiene, food preparation, dressing and self-help skills during meal times. We have used circle time to promote our ‘Grace and Courtesy topics such as; greeting, taking turns and kindness.


Another change we have made to our group programme is highlighting which Montessori Sensorial Category will guide the sensorial and creative experiences offered. Since September, together we have explored tactile (touch), olfactory and gustatory (smell and taste), visual (comparing and noticing) and baric (pressure and weight).

Our next goal is to expose children to different cultures. We would like to source parent input and do research about our community first. We would like to focus on a different culture each month by introducing other people’s way of life; their writing, religion, music, clothes and cooking. Please let us know if you would like to share your family’s culture with our classroom!

It is very exciting coming into the Summer months as we will be able to spend extended time outside being active and connecting with nature. Please remember to pack a hat and spare clothes as we plan to keep cool with water play too. Our spare clothes and hat collection is very limited, donations would be appreciated if your child has outgrown anything!

From the Starfish Team – Zoe, Susie, Hannah, Sarah, Angel and Lyndall

A primary interest of the grasshopper room has been the vegetable patch. The children have watched the Cauliflower, Broccolini, Chives, Spinach and Carrots grow. We recently had a family bring in Cabbage and Sweet corn which has now begun to grow. To assist the garden the educators have been encouraging the children to help maintain the worm farm and using the worm juice to assist the development of the veggie patch.

When the Spinach began over growing the educators helped the children cut the leaves and place it out on the centre’s grow free cart as well as the children also wanting to take some home. Oliver and Esther have also helped themselves to the garden, Esther has taken Spinach leaves and Broccolini to use in her meals at home and Oliver last week took home a Cauliflower which Oliver calls White Broccoli.


Last week the children assisted Vanda in pulling up the cauliflower, we have now planted 4 pumpkin seeds there. We have noticed this week that the pumpkins have begun to grow.

With the weather warming up the children have been spending more time outside, creative experiences are being set up outside with educators focusing on Primary colours. These creative experiences involved using left over Cauliflower, Spinach leaves and Carrot’s from the garden. As the children are painting the educators are using these moments for intentional teaching asking the children about the colours they can see and how two colours can make another.

The indoor art shelf is now set up with individual colour base activities to help assist the children to recognise their primary colours. There are red collage materials and glue sticks, blue playdough with blue tools, red blue and yellow crayons and pencils. Not only will these activities assist children in recognising primary colours they will also help develop fine motor skills which will help in developing the skills needed for writing.


The centre has recently got a new pet turtle, the children are fascinated with the turtle always stopping to find the turtle in the tank. The educators have been speaking about the pets they have at home. Emma one of the grasshopper children have baby chicks at home which she happily talks about with her educators.

In October, Jessica Emma’s mum came in with five baby chicks. The children were able to hold the chicks, Jessica informed the children that they needed to hold the chicks like little babies as they were only two weeks old.

Some of the grasshopper children had more fun playing with the saw dust that was in the tub with the chicks. As the children held the chicks the educators asked the children where do chickens come from? And what do they eat?

Our classroom has recently changed the classroom routine to maximise the learning opportunity provided to the children. The new routine now includes planned group times morning group time includes the statement of acknowledgement, welcoming song, days of the week song and a lesson with sensorial Montessori resources. The children have been introduced to the pink tower, sand paper numerals and red rods. These lessons are demonstrated by the educator using the lessons plans and then the children are offered the chance to explore the sensorial resource.


We have also had a menu change this month the one major change we have had is now our late snack has been replaced with a dinner meal. So far this has been a major hit for the children, their favourite seems to be spaghetti Bolognese with cheese.

The new menu and classroom routine are placed on information board in the classroom. Feel free to come in and have a look.

From the Grasshopper Team – Vanda, Steph and Lyndall

Over the last term, we have welcomed new children and have noticed they have settled well into the Canary routine and have begun establishing friendships with peers and educators.

If you have any concerns please do no hesitate to come and see me because I’m more than happy to work with you to assist in you child’s development and learning. To further assist a communication diary is located in each room to enable families to write important messages to the educators.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have focused on getting to know the Canary routine and most importantly getting to know each other. I have noticed the children have shown interests in painting, drawing and building although the most popular activity has been our role play corner (which I have extended and included more resources, such as the wooden kitchen and the babies).


To extend the children interests of cooking in the role play corner we have engaged the children in lots of kitchen preparation lessons such as making scones, berry smoothies, constructing our own sandwiches and wraps, chicken skewers, banana bread and sultana cookies.

We have also been revising our colours and shapes with a variety of fun and interactive learning experiences. For colours the children have been learning how to use primary colours to make new colours during creative art experiences and also learning about different shades of colours with the Montessori colour tablets.

For shapes, I have been introducing a variety of 2D shapes over the last couple of weeks and then worked with the children during group time to draw different pictures by using the 2D shapes we have been learning about. The children have been learning how to draw a pig, house and robot out of 2D shapes.

Each fortnight we focus on a different letter-sound. During morning group time, the children trace around the letter using their finger and then look at pictures of objects that begin with the letter-sound. The children are encouraged to draw a picture of something that begins with the letter-sound on the white board.


During individual lessons I have been teaching the children about the letter-sounds in their names by referring back to the letter-sounds chart and also working on their name writing skills. The children are encouraged to practice writing their names after they have traced around the letter so they understand how to write the letter. The children liked drawing a picture of themselves after writing their names!

The Canary daily routine and fortnightly plan are displayed in the room – I encourage families to provide feedback on both documents to ensure that the Canary classroom meets each child’s individual needs and interests.

From the Canary Team – Beck, Sarah and Angel