Welcome to 2022

Welcome to our first blog for 2022. At the beginning of the year we welcome new children, continuing children transition into new houses and educators transition into new houses. The focus of our learning programs is to support belonging and wellbeing as we experience shared change. The main way that we do this is through nurturing new relationships and strengthening continuing relationships. Relationships are at the heart of what we do. The Early Years Learning Framework tells us that, “Educators who are attuned to children’s thoughts and feelings, support the development of a strong sense of wellbeing…. Through a widening network of secure relationships, children develop confidence and feel respected and valued.” Attuning to children’s thoughts and feelings requires educators to stay present, move slowly, listen carefully, act consistently and reflect deeply. While experiencing transitions it is common for children to experience big emotions. One of the ways that educators support children when they experience emotion is through a process called ‘emotion coaching.’  You can use this with your child too. This involves: Emotional awareness. Being aware of your own emotions and the child’s emotions. Inviting connection and offering support. We understand that different children have different ways of being, doing and needing… some children need a cuddle while other children may need space. The important thing is that children know we are available to support them and respect their agency.  Listening carefully. Naming emotions. When ready, finding solutions together.  You can use this process too. If your child isRead more

The Three R’s – Rhythm, Routines and Relationships

At the beginning of the year educators, families and children are working together to develop relationships. We know that secure relationships are key to supporting children to develop a strong sense of belonging, which is our shared goal.  One of the ways that educators nurture connections with children is through our daily routines and rhythms.    A large part of our days at Flinders are dedicated to routines. Daily routines involve transitions from and to home, caring for our learning environment and our caregiving curriculum (eating, sleeping, toileting, changing nappies and putting sunscreen on). These seemingly ordinary moments can sometimes be overlooked; however, these moments are replete with potential learning opportunities. Routines help to give our days a rhythm. Their consistency and predictability enable children to anticipate what will happen next and to have a sense of time. This supports children to feel a sense of agency and to feel emotionally safe.    As educators support children to navigate our shared routines in an intentional way, attachments between educators and children begin to grow. A baby might notice the consistency between routines at Flinders and at home. A toddler might share a moment of achievement with an educator as they help clear the table after a meal. A May Mills House child might predict that it is nearly time to go inside and request a special book. A Preschooler might have an idea about what everyone could discuss at afternoon tea. A Sturt House child might come to morning teaRead more

Water Play

As we have been experiencing some hot Wirltuti (spring) days, we have been offering water play to the children in all the houses. The best feature of water play is that it is open-ended. Children can choose to engage in:    Collaborative play as they work together to a shared outcome Physical play as they practice their fine motor skills, gross motor skills and hand eye coordination Experimentation as they conduct investigations to learn about scientific concepts like floating, sinking and cause and effect Filling and emptying as they develop mathematical understandings about volume, capacity, mass, measuring and estimating Problem solving as they work to find ways to orient different containers to hold water, transport water and more Sociodramatic play as they use water symbolically And of course, sensory play as they enjoy the sensation of the water on their bodies and connect with nature. You may wonder, how does this fit with our commitment towards Early Childhood Education for Sustainability? As educators invite the children to play with water, we remain aware of the value of water as a resource and strive to impart this awareness. We practice sustainable water practices during water play by limiting access to water and encouraging the meaningful play that arises from respecting the finite nature of our resources. For example, we employ tap flow restrictors, think intentionally about how much water we need in a trough and, in Sturt House, we have rainwater tanks for water play. If we have any water leftRead more