Month: April 2020

The Power of Play in Adversity

We are unashamed advocates for the power of play in learning. The Philosophy and programs at Flinders are built on a foundation of play, which is supported by the Early Years Learning Framework, the National Quality Standard, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Given this, it is unsurprising that our answer to the questions; “How do I help my child manage their stress during the COVID-19 outbreak?” is “Let them play”. Play is widely recognised as an important physical, cognitive and emotional coping mechanism for children. Children are designed to play, and through play they learn many important ways of managing stress, develop resilience, and process difficult circumstances. Child-led play can be a powerful tool for supporting children’s wellbeing during this period of time. You can learn more about the power of play by listening to this podcast from Emerging Minds.

Talking with Children about COVID-19

As much as we try to shelter young children from the stress and anxiety we may be feeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is nigh on impossible to do so with the intense media saturation and significant day-to-day impacts communities are feeling. Children have found themselves spending more time at home, not seeing their family and friends, no longer participating in activities like swimming or dance, or even just going to the local playground. For many families, changes are more complex and significant. It can be hard to know the best way to manage information at times like this, how best to talk about the subject with children, or if we should at all. Even if we choose not to talk directly about the pandemic with children, they are likely to have recognised the changes and limitations that are occurring in their lives, and may also be overhearing or exposed to snippets of information. It is important to recognise that children do not have the same ability to understand and rationalise the reasons behind limitations placed on us at this time, and that children’s ability to co-regulate or self-regulate is highly dependent on the level of stress their special people are feeling. Emerging Minds is an Australian childhood mental health advocacy organisation, who have released some suggestions for talking about COVID-19 with children. Some of their key suggestions are listed below, and you can read more here and here. As with all resources, it is important toRead more

The Value of Kindness

Kindness is an important part of the programs at Flinders and is a value that forms the foundation of behavioural and social learning. We see kindness as an invaluable aspect of humanity, and as an essential part of effective community engagement. In role modelling and teaching kindness, we hope to help educate a generation of children who engage in radical kindness, who are empathetic and considerate. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” The 14th Dalai Lama Part of our approach to teaching kindness is recognising spontaneous acts of kindness. In keeping with this, we would like to acknowledge the kindness we have experienced within the Flinders community over the past couple of weeks. Thank you to those in our community who have; brought us essential and difficult to get items such as nappy wipes, disinfectant, toilet paper and hand sanitiser emailed us beautiful, considerate and respectful words in response to our communications written cards and notes of thanks delivered flowers, chocolates and other delights to brighten our day demonstrated empathy and understanding as we attempt to navigate the new territory of education and care at Flinders in the time of COVID-19 made us laugh and cry with stories and moments of joy from home Experiencing these kind acts shows us that the vision of a generation of children who are radically kind is not a dream, but an emerging reality. Kindness grows from kindness, and these children, your children, are experiencing it in spades in their homes andRead more

The Importance of Nature

Nature is a tricky mistress, isn’t she? While we deal with the challenging aspects, like global pandemics, we are also heavily reliant on nature for our positive health and wellbeing. At Flinders, we are making the most of spectacular autumn weather, heading outside early and coming in late. We continue to share meals outdoors, to use the outdoors as a location for learning, and to ensure free-flow between the indoor and outdoor environments as much as possible. Nature provides us with solace and comfort. Getting out into the fresh air, into wild spaces, have been shown to improve wellbeing and mental health. It is an essential part of our self-care, especially as we navigate uncertain times. As we head towards the Easter long weekend, many of us are no doubt missing our previously planned trip away, which no longer fits into government recommendations regarding essential travel. But there are still some things that we can do to break the monotony of home and connect with the natural world: Set up your tent in the backyard and have a sleepout Take a walk in your local National Park or Conservation Park. Whilst many facilities are closed, taking a walk through your local park is a great way to get out into the fresh air. You can find out more details on the Parks SA website Try your hand at nature weaving Go on a nature scavenger hunt in your backyard or on a neighbourhood walk We wish you a peaceful longRead more

Some Flinders at Home

Hello to our amazing, brave families and readers. We want to start by saying thank you. Thank you for your compassion, for your bravery, for your smiles, for your kind words and for your support over this challenging time. We are navigating uncharted waters and we are unsure of exactly where we will end up. But we are going together. Many families are spending more time, or all of their time, at home. This can be challenging for people so used to spending time out of the house. We will be using the blog as a way to share some ideas and tips for families who want to bring a little Flinders home with them. If you would like to receive all our posts in your inbox, please go to the About page on your PC, scroll to the bottom and enter your email. On your mobile device a “follow” box will hover on the bottom of your screen; tap on that to enter your email. Many children at Flinders have baked bread over the last couple of years. Whilst at this time we have suspended our cooking programs, you might like to have a go at baking bread at home. Easy Bread adapted from Baking Bread with Children by Warren Lee Cohen Ingredients 1kg strong flour (we use half white, half wholemeal) 100g extra flour, as needed to keep dough from sticking 30ml natural sugar (we use honey) 15ml dried yeast 600ml warm water (body temperature) 30ml vegetable oilRead more