CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT April 2020

CO-DIRECTORS' REPORT April 2020

Our second term began with quite a different atmosphere.  Due to the Covid-19 restrictions that are in place, many families remain at home. Kindergarten staff utilised the holiday period to organise resources and experiences for children so that learning could continue in this unprecedented context.

Miss Jane and Miss Lauren are providing an online program and catering to the needs of a group of children and their families that are attending in person.  The experiences that are designed for the online program have been consistent to what the children are learning at our Kindergarten.

Our Centre’s philosophy, curriculum outcomes and our knowledge of early childhood theory and development was central to the design of our online learning program.

We strived to provide suggestions and experiences that would support the development of each child’s identity both within their family and community context. Environmental awareness, physical and emotional wellbeing, language and literacy development and creative expression were also nurtured through these experiences. These are all important elements that we will continue to support the children with once they return to Kindergarten.

We have received positive feedback regarding our virtual sessions on ‘Zoom’ and found that smaller groups gave more opportunity for children to have their voices heard. We would like to thank all families who were patient as we ironed out any technical difficulties.  Children and parents have shown incredible engagement on our virtual learning platform and connections have been sustained through the sharing of ideas, memories, and personal aspects of ‘home life’ during this strange time.

The Queensland premier’s latest announcement presented exciting news for our families and we anticipate that all children enrolled will return in week four of this term.  With the return of all children, strict health and safety protocols will remain in place to protect both families and staff. This includes adjustments in the arrival/departure, regular checks of the children’s temperatures, no additional people in and out of our building and enhanced cleaning of equipment, furniture, and resources (just to name a few).

Social celebrations and incursions have and will continue to be postponed until further instructions are received from health professionals and the government. We look forward to seeing Miss Alanna (our Artist-In-Residence) teacher return to work closely with the children on enjoyable artistic endeavours.

General Business:

Our pupil free day of this term has been utilised for our annual First Aid, CPR, Asthma and Anaphylaxis Training on Wednesday 14th May.

We have had to organise numerous upgrades and repairs to our Centre due to the age of the building and damage from recent weather. This includes new flooring throughout the main area and storeroom, replacement of shade sails over our fort and roof repairs. The financial contribution that families make when paying our levies has alleviated a small portion of these costs. We are grateful for the support that families provide so that we can sustain a quality learning environment with quality resources for our children.

Lauren Regan & Jane Hely

Co-Directors

 

 

 

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT July, 2019.

Once again, it is our pleasure to present our monthly report.

ENROLMENTS:

Our groups continue to enjoy almost a full complement of children. Miss Lauren is waiting to learn if another family will arrive soon to fill a vacancy in her group and Finn O. and his family joined Miss Jane’s group this week.

HEALTH:

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.

KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM:

Upon both groups’ return for the new term, new directions are already being pursued. Our beautiful new Atelier (Art Studio) is nearing completion and we are beginning to explore how this space will become part of our daily lives and how we will be able to continue to use our “hundred languages of expression” as described by the Italian educator, Loris Malaguzzi. His Reggio Emilia Project continues to inspire and inform our centre’s direction and focus.

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 are rising 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 will also begin to think 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. (An added bonus that has never been enjoyed before was that one of our groups spotted a huge koala hanging in a tree! It was so close that everyone could have reached out and touched it!) This kind of 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.

Miss Alanna has returned this term in her role as Artist-in-Residence. The children are continuing to explore the concept of self-identity. The children will be creating their self-portrait, but in unique and beautiful ways. What an amazing way to illustrate knowledge of self! These will become part of our displays planned for our Art Exhibition which will be held on Saturday 14 September. The exhibition will be in conjunction with our celebration of our centre’s 50th birthday and official opening of our Atelier on 14 September.

Japanese lessons resumed this term. Miss Emily has visited both groups now and it’s remarkable how much everyone has remembered! 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.

GENERAL BUSINESS:

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 this year. As we have now all returned from Perth a little over a week ago, our journey of learning and exploration of the Reggio Emilia Education Project is deepening. It was wonderful that Jakki was also able to participate in this conference as she is often the first person to converse with new families who may be considering joining our community. Being able to share some of our philosophy about our beliefs in the competence and creativity of children is an important role and as we all continue our explorations together as a team.

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, join with them in opportunities for self-expression in myriad ways (hence the expression “the hundred languages of children” 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 2020. 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 reached their full complement and we will wait to see if these groups remain static.

There is a notice on the sign-in table asking families whose children are going to Prep in 2020, to write down which school their child will attend. 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

Co-Director                       Co-Director

(Children are showing increasing respect for and understanding of environments. They are exploring their role in caring for these. Connectedness - Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline)

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT May, 2019

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT
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
Co-Directors

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT October, 2018

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT October, 2018

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

Enrolments:
A full complement of children continues to be enjoyed by both groups and no changes to this are expected in the foreseeable future.

All bar one position in each of our 2019 groups have been filled and an Orientation Evening for these families was held on Wednesday 19 September, 2018. There will be further opportunities for
families to connect and familiarise themselves with our beautiful environment before starting in the new year. Our Play Days are coming very soon.

Health:
Generally speaking, the health of everyone here at Kindergarten as we moved towards the end of Term 3 and into Term 4 was good. Occasional absences due to various illnesses occurred but thankfully these were short-lived.

Kindergarten Curriculum:
Following last month’s report, the centre closed for the Term 3 holiday, when a well-earned rest occurred for everyone. During that time, staff attended Kindy over several days to prepare for the new and final term together. The room was once again reconfigured to better reflect our growing knowledge of and interest in the Reggio Emilia philosophy and we set about organising the environment so as to place new emphasis on areas which encourage the children to explore and experience their familiar environment in a whole new way. Upon both groups’ return we have found this to be the case. It has been a positive change and new work and projects are emerging.

The use of clay, wood, brown paper and other natural resources we can access alongside the materials we offer, has enabled us to provide opportunities for the children to express their ideas in myriad ways. The Reggio philosophy is based on the acknowledgment that a child is competent and must be able to make their knowledge known in ways that are truly meaningful to their experience. These are, more often than
not, tangible and artistically based. Our role as is to listen and observe so as to try to anticipate and additionally, support the journey that may be undertaken. We are not there to simply provide the answers to the questions that may be posed by the children as they work and discuss their thoughts. Giving answers serves no one, least of all the children. They must be free to find out and theorise. Correct answers will always come later. It is the thought processes that children have which lead them to investigate and research and then ultimately build their bank of knowledge. They build confidence in their own abilities to discover and therefore continue to seek new information. They become even more active learners!

Miss Alanna has returned this term also. In line with our Reggio Emilia explorations, Alanna has been supporting the children as they work on self- knowledge and expression through the continued examination of “self”. They are representing their ideas, thoughts and feelings through the creation of their body’s outline. Being given the practical skills to use tools and materials in a variety of ways empowers the children to continue to do this whilst they are currently unable to use words and writing as a form of self-expression.

During this week, both groups have enjoyed a visit from Aunty Di, a member of our local Aboriginal tribe, who presented her “Koori Kids” program. The children engaged with her in a corroboree where they discussed “the tribe’s problems” together and discussed how to solve them. They danced to the beat of clap sticks and acted out animal movements. They thought about all the food that the tribes could find and catch in the bush and the ocean. The boys tried their hand at playing the didgeridoo. Girls are not permitted to play this instrument due to aboriginal rule. Aunty Di needed to gain special permission from the elders to be able to demonstrate its sound. We finished the wonderful sessions by having our face painted with authentic white ochre. The children chose which animal they wanted to be – a shark, rainbow lorikeet, koala, goanna to name a few.

General Business:
Our annual Disco will be held on Friday 19 October from 5:30 – 7:30pm. This year it will be at BAVIA House which will certainly take pressure off staff as in previous years, we have had to
completely pull the centre down and reconstruct the room in the same night. There have also been many issues with damage done to our lovely centre by older siblings in the past, so we are pleased
to be avoiding this now. We look forward to another fun and memorable night as we welcome past, present and future families to our event.

Bandanna Day will be held once again this year. We will celebrate on Wednesday 24 October and Friday 26 October 2018. On this day, we will all don a bandanna which has been purchased for each person by their family. Some fun activities will ensue. All money raised will be donated to CanTeen which is an organisation that is close to our hearts at Broadbeach Waters Kindergarten. Miss Mandy’s lovely daughter Sharni was diagnosed with Leukaemia 10 years ago and amongst other worthy organisations, CanTeen stepped in to assist Sharni and her family through this traumatic time in their lives. This event enables us to show our appreciation for the wonderful work this organisation does for so many families around Australia.

Both Co-Directors will be attending a Gold Coast meeting of the Queensland Early Childhood Sustainability Network on Saturday 27 October 2018. This will be held at a centre in Elanora. At this particular meeting, early childhood professionals will engage in discussions which explore the benefits of linking sustainability education with Australian Indigenous cultural education and how both of these may enjoy simultaneous priority in early childhood programs. We will also examine some centres’ ongoing endeavours to develop their Reconciliation Action Plans. Ours is already in
development.

We are continuing to plan for our week of Professional Learning to be held in Week 10 of this term. All staff will be travelling to Melbourne to visit the Reggio Emilia Exchange Documentation Centre for a personalised seminar. We will also be making contact with several Reggio Emilia inspired centres and spending time observing their beautiful environments and connecting with staff. Constant discussions and meetings for we staff continue to lead us towards a deeper understanding of our role as we incorporate more and more of this philosophy into our work.

We look forward to our final weeks together. This is always the most exciting and eventful time of the year for the children, and it passes by so quickly. Don’t blink!

Jane Hely & Lauren Regan

Co-Directors

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT September, 2018

Co-Director’s Report September 2018

Wednesday 12th September 2018

It is our pleasure to submit this report to the Committee of Management.

Enrolments:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Riaz and his family have relocated south. To fill this position in Group two, a child enrolled in this group for next year will attend during fourth term.

 Health:

With this cold and flu season drawing to a close we would like to thank families for keeping unwell children at home. A gentle reminder that children can not come to Kindergarten within 24 hours of vomiting, diarrhoea or head lice.

 Kindergarten Curriculum:

As third term continues to ‘zoom’ along, so to does the confidence of the children. We have seen more discussion and sharing from quieter children, during our group experiences. Many boys and girls come to Kindergarten with a plan for their day, whereas others wish to finish projects from earlier days. This continuity of self-driven learning is evidence of the children’s growing independence and self-awareness.

Miss Emily continues to present engaging and energetic language experiences for the children as they learn the Japanese vocabulary for food, animals, colours, questions and etiquette. Recently, the children were able to verbalise the correct answers to Miss Emily’s assessment (a friendly quiz). The progress made by all children gives testament to the well-researched fact that learning another language at a young age is most successful. There are a handful of girls and boys who use rest time to recall previous learning and happily sing Japanese songs during rest time.

Miss Alanna supports the children as they progress with their exploration of identity. Using many different mediums and techniques, the children have pulled apart the many facets that make them both similar to peers and uniquely individual. A greater self-awareness and sense of belonging has blossomed from this journey. The children are respectful of differences and recognise that their emotions have a visual affect on their facial features and body language.  Artwork will now be displayed in books and folders which are located at our art studio. Children will be able to take these artworks home at the end of year with their portfolios.

Our ‘Barefoot Goes Bush’ day, held in the beautiful Tallebudgera Valley was very successful. The outdoor learning and large group collaboration worked seamlessly ensuring families took home fond memories and developed deeper connections with the natural world. We would like to thank all involved in making it such a positive experience. We envision using this location again and continuing to offer families from both groups this wonderful opportunity each year.

This years Book Week theme of ‘Find Your Treasure’ inspired us to focus on the literary aspect of this celebration. We moved away from the dress up parade, however still provided opportunities for children to bring in and share their favourite stories.  The children shared a range of literature, from information books, early readers and traditional stories that had been handed down from previous generations within their family.  This reduced the pressure on families to create costumes and emphasised the true meaning of Book Week. That is, coming together to read and share quality literature for the Early Childhood sector.

We would like to thank the father’s and grandfathers for joining us at Kindergarten to celebrate Father’s Day. The children had spent previous weeks excitedly preparing the treats and gifts for their loved one. Most special was the time they shared and the memories made during this experience.

Suzette visited our Kindergarten once again, to tell a story of the creatures of the sea. Using colourful language, Suzette imparted her knowledge of the migration patterns of whales. The boys and girls remained captivated throughout the story as musical instruments and colourful resources were used. Suzette incorporated gentle movements (yoga and breathing techniques) throughout the experience. This helps children to develop self-awareness of their bodies and self-regulation of their physical actions, emotions and thoughts.

General Business:

On Saturday 8th September we received a visit from the designer and creator of Kindy Portal’. We were joined by other local Lady Gowrie Kindergartens, as we sat through a demonstration of the application.  This safe web application can be used to document children’s learning and provide an online portfolio of children’s Kindergarten journey.  We believe that this avenue will more sustainable and minimise our printing costs. The staff have agreed to move forward next year with this application and will be introducing it in term one, 2019. We look forward to supporting the parents as they engage in this wonderful new way of communicating and sharing their children’s learning journey.

Term 4 begins on Monday 8th October for Miss Jane’s Group and Thursday 11th October for Miss Lauren’s Group. 

As this is the last report before end of term, we would like to sincerely thank you for your continued support as we work together for the betterment of all children and their families in our lovely Kindergarten community.

 

Jane Hely and Lauren Regan

      CO-DIRECTORS

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT July, 2018

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT July, 2018.

Wednesday 25 July, 2018.

Once again, it is our pleasure to present our monthly report.

ENROLMENTS:
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.

HEALTH:
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.

KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM:

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.

GENERAL BUSINESS:

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

Co-Director       Co-Director

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT May, 2018

CO-DIRECTORS’ REPORT May, 2018

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.

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 last Saturday 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.

We have begun our outside-the-gate explorations this term. Our Neighbourhood Nature 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 taken walks around the kindergarten environment which has led them to the park, the river’s edge and the amazing fig trees. Climbing, running, swinging, collecting and imagining abound. 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.

The Hammering Table has been a popular place these past weeks. Being able to use real tools to work on real projects is very satisfying for the children. We have been able to secure a regular supply of offcuts so that all our ideas may come to life. Luckily we have lots of nails!

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:

Both Co-Directors attended a Reggio Networking Meeting at C&K Paddington, Brisbane on Saturday 28 April. This was an opportunity to engage in conversations with other Early Childhood Teachers about the inspiration that the Reggio Emilia Project has given their work in their centres. It was so valuable to hear about the ways that others use this knowledge and the value they place on the Image of the Child which is the heart and soul of the work done in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Our journey as a centre continues as we all examine our own understandings and work towards incorporating the concepts that fit with our own particular culture and aesthetic.

Our journey towards continued improvement continues. The establishment of and ongoing work on our Quality Improvement Plan also continues. This document grows and changes continually as we work to set plans in place 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. We look forward to sharing our new QIP with all families. This is being revised so as to fit within the revised National Quality Standards. Please let us know if you would like to see and 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

Co-Directors 

 

 

Co-Director’s Report March 2018

Wednesday 14th March 2018

It is our pleasure to submit our second report to the Committee of Management. We have enjoyed a busy first term. It has been full of ‘firsts’ and a constant exploration of new ideas.
The connections and relationships we have nurtured this term have been a stepping stone of establishing a sense of belonging (for the children, families and staff at our Kindergarten).

Transitioning:

The children in both groups are well settled and are becoming increasingly more independent as they move through their Kindergarten days. Our routines encourage independence because they are predictable, inclusive and participatory. Thank you for actively encouraging your child to participate in the morning routine upon arrival. As the children organise themselves and do their jobs, a sense of agency is developed. Circle times denote the beginning and end of our day. They can say goodbye confidently because they know their role and sense of belonging is strong.

Health:

Thank you for keeping unwell children at home. This ensures that illnesses do not spread and helps children to recover so that they may actively participate in our days at Kindy. We would also like to thank you for ringing ahead of time and letting us know if your child will be away due to circumstances (medical/ personal etc.). Phoning rather than emailing is appreciated because once our program preparation begins we are not using the computer. Messages that are left on our answering machine are always helpful to us so that we may contact you as soon as possible.

Kindergarten Curriculum:

The children have been very involved in dramatic play. This type of play provides opportunities to reinvent scenes that may take place in other areas of life. The children negotiate roles of people within imaginary classrooms, building sites and family homes etc. Within this role play, the children are testing their ideas and exploring language. They are essentially ‘trying on life’ and developing social confidence.

Miss Alanna continues to explore the concept of ‘perspective’ through art. This exciting journey has allowed the children to look at flowers from various perspectives and include fine detail within their artwork. Miss Alanna inspired and guided a connection between art and science. We investigated chemical reactions whilst colour mixing and learned how to manipulate different tools for different purposes. We are becoming more confident in our ‘signatures’ (signing our name) upon our work.

Sue Jordan and her fruit and vegetable puppets came to the Kindergarten to explore the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables. The puppets were able to highlight the importance of brushing teeth, to ensure decay is minimised. The boys and girls had an opportunity to play the role of the puppets and discuss the fruits and vegetables they love to eat

Louise also came to the Kindergarten to help us think of ways we can be ‘Loving Our World’. We sang together and discussed ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ are the significant steps we must take to minimise plastic and help our animals. Louise provided a wonderful interactive experience that incorporated recycled instruments and imaginative dances, all to which the children responded enthusiastically.

General Business:

All staff attended a professional development workshop on Saturday 17th of February 2018. It focused on an introduction into the Reggio Emilia philosophy. The workshop was a valuable catalyst for discussion and reflection upon the Reggio Emilia journey that we the staff collectively began last year. The examples of children’s work and staff planning that were provided are truly inspiring!

Miss Jane and Miss Kate attended a workshop on the 2nd March 2018. The workshop focused on ‘emotion management for children and teens with ASD’. It consolidated the knowledge that Kate and Jane had already regarding anxiety manifesting in children. We agree that the strategies and ideas presented in the workshop can be applicable to all children, not just those with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Back-to-Kindy Days for the previous years’ groups are an important part of our calendar each year and 2017 Group 1’s was held Tuesday 6th March, with great success. Group 2’s will be held Wednesday 21st March. It’s such fun for the children to return after a month or two of getting used to ‘Big School’ to share their experiences and show off their uniform. Past friendships are strong and hold very happy memories that they may revisit on these special afternoons.

Photo days will take place on Tuesday 20th of March for Miss Jane’s Group and Friday 23rd March for Miss Lauren’s Group. Class photos are $25 each, with additional packages available. Please leave an envelope with your order form and payment in the marked box on the sign in table.

Term 2 begins on Tuesday 17th April for Miss Jane’s Group and Thursday 19th April for Miss Lauren’s Group. Please consult your Term Dates page to confirm attendance days.

As this is the last report before end of term, we would like to sincerely thank you for your continued support as we work together for the betterment of all children and their families in our lovely Kindergarten community.

 

We wish you a very safe and happy holiday and Easter celebrations.

Jane Hely and Lauren Regan
CO-DIRECTORS

Directors’ Report – February 2018

DIRECTORS’ REPORT - February, 2018

It is our pleasure to submit our first report to the Committee of Management for 2018

Enrolments:

Our year has begun with a full complement of children in the centre. A staggered start to both groups (half of each group entering the centre for the first time on two parts of a day in the first week) afforded everyone the opportunity to settle in at their own pace, and thus avoid much of the anxiety that usually accompanies ‘first times’. After a few minor bumps in the road we are all truly on the way to happy, secure starts for everyone.

Health:

Thankfully there have been few absences since our term began. Hopefully this will auger well for the rest of the year! Thank you for keeping unwell children at home until they’re on the road to recovery. By nipping illnesses in the bud this way, epidemics can be largely avoided.

Kindergarten Curriculum:

The children have settled in well and some friendships are already becoming established. Our emerging curriculum requires input from the children regarding the day’s activities as well as the day to day organisation of meal times and tidying up after ourselves. They have accepted these responsibilities eagerly and look forward each day to the time when the names of the daily helpers are revealed!

Our Circle Time each morning is a success. The children arrive and, after completing their morning chores, move promptly to the green mat to greet each other. Thank you for actively encouraging your children to participate in the morning routine upon arrival. Our settling song denotes the beginning of our day together and signals the opportunity to share news and discuss interests. (Our “Acknowledgement of Country” greeting also encourages us to be appreciative of those who came before us. Our local tribes were the Yugambeh people.)

The introduction of little name tags which are used by the children to label their work with ease has been popular. In the past some parents have been a little alarmed by this because they think that if the children are simply selecting their name tag to name work, they will then cease to practise writing their name themselves. We look on the tags as an adjunct to name writing. They are providing another opportunity for the children to continue to reinforce their knowledge of their own name, as well as those of their friends. When children first start practising their writing, they have to work very hard on the fine motor skills required to do it well. For this they need plenty of space and a smooth, unimpeded surface, along with larger pens or crayons which are easier to grip. It is difficult to name a wet, wobbly collage construction themselves. The independence gained when writing one’s own name on work is more than equaled by a child finding a name tag amongst 23 and attaching it to work unaided. There are always lots of opportunities for the children to practise writing skills in other ways.

The Belonging Stones, which were introduced early in the year, are a tangible way for children to quickly connect with their Kindergarten and those in it. Our wellbeing is fundamental to our happiness and children need to feel that they belong here and are a part of a community. They’re part of the basketful of stones so they’re important.

Over the past weeks the children have had opportunities to explore their creative side through the presentation of art activities. As everyone comes to feel more confident and comfortable in the Kindergarten environment they will be able to decide on many of their endeavours by themselves. One of our main goals is to give children the opportunity to explore their own strengths and interests through decision-making and free choice. Equipment and materials are freely available to everyone to use as they require. Naturally, should the need arise, we will be there to help stimulate their explorations and assist to send these in the directions most meaningful to them.

Outdoors, many of the children are very involved in all aspects of the playground environment. Each day the children have the chance to explore those areas which are always available – ie: sand, water, mud (!), swinging apparatus, our amazing climbing equipment, etc. Within these areas, there are many new and changing accessories or configurations which alter and evolve as the children’s interests and skills ebb and flow.  It is through our observation of the children’s interactions with each other, ongoing discussion with them and the materials provided that we begin to see the path that the developing curriculum will take.

Already we have been busy in our outdoor area. The children have helped clear the vegetable patch in preparation for replanting with Miss Mandy when she returns to us. They may plant their own plants so as to begin to create a pot of colour for a special surprise later in the year. We will work together over the year on sustainable practices and a deeper connection to the world outdoors. We will focus on considered risk taking and physical skills which encourage resilience and perseverance. Of course, these traits carry through with us into adulthood. Practising them as early as possible is very desirable.

Miss Alanna began working with us in the Art Studio last week.  Alanna, our Artist-in-Residence, will be guiding the children throughout the year as we explore the world of self-expression through artistic pursuits. We have begun our journey by thinking about what an artist is and examining the concept of colour and their creation. We have developed a “Colour Recipe” which shows us how new colours are created when others are mixed together. Even the most accomplished artists had some guidance and training in techniques and methods before they could produce what is in their head and heart. In this way, we can give children the skills and then the opportunity to use these skills in whatever ways they see fit. Alanna will work with the groups each fortnight and introduce new concepts and methods for examination.

We are already thinking about “Green Things”. We have thought about the way we package our lunch and morning tea boxes and the effect this can have on the natural world. We are becoming more aware of how plastic products in our world lead to greater rubbish creation and danger to sea creatures in our waterways as the rubbish is washed into their environment. We know that it costs families much less to buy food in larger quantities and then use small amounts in reusable containers in our lunch boxes. The tiny cheese and crackers packaging creates no less than three separate pieces of rubbish! We are all thinking about our practices at home and the ways we are already using which help to take care of our world. We will go on to discuss Recycling, Worm Farming, Keeping our Native Bees and Exploring the Work of Honey Bees.

General Business:

The Afternoon Chats to be held this week for each group will provide an opportunity for some common questions to be addressed. Thank you to those parents who are able to come along. If you aren’t able to attend, a small handout with some points of discussion is available for you to collect.

 This Friday 16 February, Miss Kate and Miss Jane will attend an all-day conference on Emotion Management for Children with ASD. We will then report back to other staff on our new knowledge and how this can further enhance our work with our children and families.

 The following day, Saturday 17 February, all staff will attend a Reggio Emilia seminar from 8:30am – 12:00pm. This is an Introductory Course conducted by Kirsty Liljegren which will be of great benefit to everyone as we all work further into our Reggio journey as a team and use this information to inform our discoveries alongside the children.

Next Saturday 24 February, is our first Working Bee for the year. Families are asked to participate in two of the four Working Bees planned throughout the year. There is a notice on the sign-in table where families may volunteer. If you’re joining us on this occasion, please arrive at 8:30am. We anticipate we will be working for about 2 hours all up. Our Working Bee Co-ordinator will be contacting everyone whose name is on the list for this time. They’ll let you all know what tools etc you will be needing to bring, if you have them.

 

Our first few weeks together appear to be a portent of the year to come - ie: exciting, happy, productive and meaningful! We’re looking forward to many days of fun and sharing with you all.

 

Jane Hely and Lauren Regan

CO-DIRECTORS