May, 2019

Wednesday 01 May, 2019

It is our pleasure to present our report for the month.

As our new term progresses, the children are settled, busy and thoroughly immersing themselves in life at Kindergarten.

Miss Mandy’s work with the children in the vegetable patch has resulted in us returning to a space that is verdant and overflowing. The children visit, water and harvest with equal enthusiasm. To have such an abundance of organic plants to nurture and then reap the benefits from is truly a gift for us all. The children are seeing first hand the joys of growing our own food. It is both fascinating and engrossing to participate in growing food from seeds and seedlings. Knowing where our food comes from goes a long way towards a greater respect for the earth and how we can contribute to its, and in turn, our own health.

A Working Party in Miss Jane’s group is currently involved in a project to design and create a new Scarecrow to replace our old, tired version. This involves using recycled and natural materials. The Working Party reports back to the rest of the group each day. Miss Lauren’s group will be contributing to the Scarecrow’s wonderful face as well, through their interest in sewing. It is progressing in stages and alongside other work so we are all looking forward to the final result in the near future.

Anzac Day gave us the opportunity to reflect with the children on the past generations and the freedoms afforded us through the sacrifices of others. Miss Mandy baked Anzac Biscuits with both groups and we enjoyed a poignant story of a little girl and her mother baking the same treat for her Dad who was away in the First World War. It is important for children to begin to make connections with those who have gone before. It gives them a deeper sense of identity and connection to community and tradition.

Our Fathers’ Morning held on Saturday 23 March, prior to the Easter holidays was a resounding success with many Dads arriving to explore a place that is their child’s alone. To be able to take the lead is very empowering for the children and instils wonderful feelings of confidence, pride and a deeper sense of belonging. Many thanks to all the Dads who joined us. You’re creating special memories with your children.

This week sees the beginning of our outside-the-gate explorations for this term. Our Neighbourhood Walks have been carefully discussed prior to embarking on them so that the children could create their own set of “Safety Rules”. (When ideas are developed by the children themselves, they have much greater meaning and are more likely to be referred to when the need arises.) The children have begun by taking their first walk around the local streets. The children are so excited about these adventures and we know that the benefits of them will only enhance our work inside the gate. We are planning to go on our adventures most weeks, as the interest dictates.

Much of our energy this week and next week will be taken up with special plans for the Mums as we prepare to celebrate Mothers’ Day next week. The plans will culminate in our Mothers’ Day Luncheons. Both groups are expecting wonderful attendance so everyone can relish the special food, beautiful gifts and songs sung from the heart.

Much of our energy this week and next week will be taken up with special plans for the Mums as we prepare to celebrate Mothers’ Day next week. The plans will culminate in our Mothers’ Day Luncheons. Both groups are expecting wonderful attendance so everyone can relish the special food, beautiful gifts and songs sung from the heart.

General Business:

Miss Jane attended the annual Lady Gowrie Qld Conference last Friday and Saturday 26 and 27 April. This was an opportunity to learn from experts and engage in conversations with other Early Childhood Teachers about Leadership, Speech and Language Development and Documentation, amongst other topics. To be able to share the information gathered and then reflect on how this may be incorporated meaningfully in our own setting and aesthetic is invaluable to our continued efforts towards providing best practice.

Both Co-Directors will be attending the annual Qld Early Childhood Sustainability Network Conference in Ipswich on Saturday 11 May, 2019. This year’s conference will focus on “Place and Play”. This theme has been selected to deepen our understandings of sustainability education in the early years. Place tethers us, and the children we work with, to complex networks of cultures, ecosystems, species, languages, laws and materials. Play insists upon enjoyment, delight and creativity – aspects of learning that might not sit easily alongside sustainability educators for many of us. The critical challenge for sustainability educators in the Early Years is to explore the affordances of Play in, through, for and with Place. Dr Sue Elliott, Professor Julie Davis and others will be presenting along with the opportunity to participate in some practical workshops.

Our journey towards continued improvement continues in other ways as well. The establishment of and ongoing work on our Quality Improvement Plan is another example of this. This document grows and changes continually as we work to represent what is considered best practice in Early Childhood Education. Miss Mandy, Miss Jakki and Miss Kate are also a part of these professional conversations. There are many opportunities for us to consult with all members of our community and beyond so as to best meet the needs of all stakeholders. It is available for perusal on the sign-in table each day. Please let us know if you would like to discuss it with us. We’re always keen to talk about ourselves! 😉

Our centre is affiliated with Gowrie Qld, and as such we are required to use the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline as our basis for curriculum development.

The QKLG has five Learning and Development Areas which must be considered. One of these is Wellbeing. According to the QKLG:

A kindergarten child who has a strong sense of wellbeing:

• is building a sense of autonomy and wellbeing –
- they delight in making decisions and choices (a sense of agency)
- they have courage and resilience to manage change and challenges
-they are building ways to understand and regulate their emotions

• explores ways to show care and concern and interact positively with others
-they have an interest in and a desire to interact with others
-they are considering and empathising with others.

• explores ways to promote their own and others’ health and safety
-they manage personal hygiene and self-care
-they manage ways to stay healthy and safe

• explores ways to promote physical wellbeing
-they develop control and strength for manipulating objects, tools and equipment
-they have large movement skills, movement control, coordination and strength
-they have the confidence to engage in movement challenges

**According to definitions, the "sense of agency" refers to the subjective awareness that one is initiating, executing, and controlling one's own volitional actions in the world.
In our view, "Agency" is more than just initiative or ownership. It’s a powerful concept and tells us how much a child is engaged and in control of their own learning, how much control they have over what is around them, and it requires us to question our own expectations of them in that process. It’s about children facilitating their own learning and how we adults see that, allow that and plan for it.
Stopping to really listen to children is more than just asking questions - it requires respect as well as thoughtful and authentic consideration.
Giving children agency at Kindergarten means that we are genuinely including them in the direction we take each and every day. The journey is meaningful to all because it truly reflects those who take it. This is an ongoing endeavour for us.

Jane Hely           Lauren Regan