CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT July, 2018.
Wednesday 25 July, 2018.
Once again, it is our pleasure to present our monthly report.
Our groups continue to enjoy their full complement of children. We welcomed Lucas and Riaz and their families to Miss Lauren’s group this month and Forrest and his family joined Miss Jane’s group when the new term began.
Generally, the health of the centre has been good over the past weeks although half of this has been spent away from the Kindergarten due to holidays. We hope to continue to keep the community healthy as the cooler months pass by. As usual, we are grateful to families for keeping unwell children at home so they can recover and so that no one else catches the germs. Handwashing continues to be a major focus for us as we encourage the children in personal health and hygiene.
Upon both groups’ return for the new term, new directions are already being pursued. The children are continuing to pursue an active interest in our gorgeous outdoor environment. There are many construction games and other collaborative projects being carried over from last term. There are concerns about working together to discuss so that everyone is safe and happy. The children respond well to these types of efforts and as such are keen to be fair and just. This skill is essential to be able to negotiate our world, so practice in this environment is welcome.
Our Neighbourhood Adventures continue as we widen our exploration of our local community. The stamina of the children comes into play and they have risen to the occasions very well. As we move away from the security and familiarity of the kindergarten environment, the children are having to consider possible problems that might arise and how we would manage these. What will we do if a car is coming along the road we want to cross? How will we make sure we don’t become separated from each other? What things should we avoid touching? What will we hear? See? Do?
Both groups are also thinking about the world and its myriad lands and peoples. By looking at our own family origins we can begin to develop a deeper understanding of the innate connectedness we have with many other cultures and indeed with each other. Everyone hails from somewhere and by exploring those similarities and differences we can come to see our common threads and in turn feel more empathy and interest towards others. There will be a display on the wall in our entrance foyer soon, which will show just how far some people have travelled to eventually become a part of our Kindergarten community. It is sure to be fascinating and really heartwarming. Once you receive your handout, please complete it and return it as soon as possible so we can get to know each other even better.
A definite highlight for everyone this week is our excursion by bus to the Numinbah Valley Environmental Education Centre. Miss Jane’s children visited yesterday and as always it was an experience that presented so much to consider and consolidated knowledge we already had. This experience never fails to have a profound and long-lasting effect on all who have it. Having so many family members able to join us helps to create special memories for everyone. Thanks to those families who were able to come along. What was your favourite part? Miss Lauren’s children will have their turn tomorrow, Thursday 26 July.
(Children are showing increasing respect for and understanding of environments. They are exploring their role in caring for these. Connectedness - Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline)
Miss Alanna has returned this term in her role as Artist-in-Residence. The children are continuing to explore the concept of self-identity. Miss Jane’s children joined Miss Lauren’s in the creation of “half-faces”. What an amazing way to illustrate knowledge of self! Please have a look at these in the Art Studio. We are also starting on sculptural work using synthetic materials. Some truly unique figures are emerging!
Japanese lessons began this term. Miss Emily has visited both groups now and the children are learning songs and games and with these, new vocabulary. A greeting song is already familiar, as are the names and sounds of some well-known animals. It is so interesting to hear how easily the children can recall words and phrases just learned. They truly are in an ideal position to develop and remember this knowledge. Miss Emily’s cheerful and enthusiastic presentation helps keep the children focused.
This time last year, all teaching staff had just come back from a truly inspirational conference in Sydney which was conducted by the Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange. The knowledge we gleaned has continued to inform our work since then. As a result we applied for and were granted funding for all staff to attend the REAIE Conference in Perth in July 2019. This is incredibly exciting for us as we continue our Reggio journey as a team.
We have also been granted funding to use the final week of our year in 2018 to visit centres and workshops in other states so as to further enhance our growing knowledge. We are looking into spending time in either Sydney or Melbourne. Once the details have been finalized we will let everyone know our plans.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy is not one that can be written on a piece of paper and passed around so everyone will become knowledgeable and confident about utilizing its ideas in their own individual contexts.
The Reggio Emilia Education Project is already over 50 years old and continues to evolve and change as the teachers and other staff immerse themselves in it. It was born of a vision of Loris Malaguzzi, who was a teacher in Reggio Emilia following the second World War. He believed that the way children learn and develop should be paramount to the work undertaken with them by teachers.
The centres in Reggio Emilia are inextricably intertwined with the local community as well as the wider context of Italy. They do not provide us with a model, but rather the opportunity to reflect on our own educational theories, practice and organization.
We continue to reflect on our own beliefs about how children learn, what our role is within their learning and how we can best facilitate what we believe to be their individual explorations of their own identity and all that this entails. We explore how we can move together towards changing the ways we work with our children so we can honour their identity and do their journey justice. We are all agreed that we must go slowly as we adjust our thinking and methods of working. We meet and reflect on a very regular basis so as to adjust as necessary.
It will be about utilizing our time each day in ways that allow us to work with the children in much smaller groups so as to be able to truly engage with individuals and actually listen so as to hear what they are trying to tell us about their self-awareness and their perspective on their world. To do this we are experimenting with ways to support each other so we can all take moments alone with small groups for meaningful conversations and experiences. Our room configuration plays a really important role in this. You may have noticed the recent changes. We’re watching to see how this supports the children’s work.
Prior to the end of last term, we began to make contact with the families whose children will join us in 2019. It is hard to believe that this time is once again upon us. We will soon begin organizing the distribution of Enrolment Packs and holding Orientation Days and Play Days. It appears that our groups have almost reached their full complement and only a handful of positions remain.
There is a notice on the sign-in table asking families whose children are going to Prep next year, to write down which school their child will go to next year. This gives everyone a clear picture of who else their child may know and encourages us all to begin to establish connections. If you’re still deciding on particular venues, you’ll also be able to use this list to chat with other families.
Thank you all once again for your support as we begin new journeys and continue to relish our days together.
Jane Hely Lauren Regan