Introducing our regular blogger, Shaney from Dromana Pre-schoolMon, 17th Oct 2016
Jamie has invited me to write a monthly blog about all things to do with Early Childhood and play based learning. I’m both humbled and excited to contribute to his Growing Child Website that continues to be filled with interesting articles and information about Early Learning from a variety of sources.
Jamie’s support and interest in the value of Early Childhood and Learning is refreshingly inspiring and gives me a warm feeling in my heart to know that his business of supplying quality educational supplies to preschools and schools is more than just a supplier. He genuinely cares about where his resources are going, what we as educators are doing with them and more importantly, how young children are interacting with them and what they are learning. Every time he pops into the various kindergartens around the Peninsula to do his deliveries, he observes the surroundings, chats to the teachers about the learning experiences and often takes photos for sharing on Growing Child's facebook page (with permission of course) that inspires others and motivates us in our work. We can all learn a lot from our neighbouring colleagues and Jamie's sharing of each others indoor & outdoor play spaces, art and ideas is a wonderful way for us all to stay connected. He's a strong supporter of local businesses too which is something many of us value as well and is so important for our community spirit.
When teachers and parents visit his supply store, he’s always got time to tell a story about the ways in which others have used specific resources and takes the time to listen to his customers.
I went into Growing Child during the recent September holidays to purchase a roll of brown paper for an idea about my plans to make an enchanted tree for our play room.(This idea was inspired by a recent visit to Sorrento Preschool where one of the teachers, Nicki had made an amazingly beautiful tree in the four year old room)...AAhh such wonderful things are happening in the preschools around us. Anyway, Jamie offered me a large cylinder that he just happened to have in the back of his van for the ‘tree’ which I gladly collected. He also mentioned that he had an old tree stump that may work for the base and offered to help set up the structure for me so it was secure...As I mentioned, this was during the holidays so he had a little bit more time than usual...So this enthusiasm is what I’m talking about...much much more than just a local supplier. Here’s a photo of the tree creation taking place...It’s such a lovely feeling to have his continual support in our work places.
I’ll continue to share some of the learning that takes place at Dromana Preschool and play based learning in general.
First...here's a little bit about my background...
As an Early Childhood Educator my creative approach stems from my experience as an illustrator and an art teacher for young children. My programs provide daily opportunities for children to express themselves through drawing and various interesting and new art forms.
Connecting children with nature is also a big part of what I teach and do. Nature is the perfect invitation to learn.
I have over 25 years experience in a variety of Early Childhood settings such as rural, inner city and coastal preschools. I’ve been at Dromana Preschool for the past 13 years! Oh my goodness... that’s gone quickly...teaching a group of 4 yr old children and am the Educational leader of a small team of Educators. Having visited the breathtaking environments of the preschools in Reggio Emilia in 2014, it continues to excite my imagination and shape my thinking. My experience during the teacher study tour has deeply inspired me to explore my own ways of enabling children to realise their own potential as knowledge builders and image makers. I am a member of REAIE (Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange) and continue to keep informed of current research and findings influencing my current practice along with the EYLDF and VEYLDF.
I just wanted to share this beautiful collaborative canvas that the children in our group worked on over a period of two weeks just recently. With spring in the air, we as a group decided our subject for the canvas would be about flowers, bugs and fairies.
All year, we have been in involved in planting different flowers from seed so this was a meaningful idea...
The children drew the preliminary sketch first with pencil. Each child contributed their own little design in the way they wanted it. The only suggestion from us was to be careful not to draw on another child’s drawing and to think about filling the entire white space. Some drew big, others drew teeny weeny ones but each child was thoughtful about where their flower or bug or fairy should go. At this late stage of the year, most children are extremely capable in cooperating with one another, appreciating & respecting others work and being satisfied by the personal achievements of contributing to shared projects (being part of the group). We talked a bit about famous artists and art galleries and how it takes artists a long time to work on one piece.
Of course, there was an interested adult nearby through all of this to keep the children’s focus and attention. I try to do what Ursula Kolbe describes in her book ‘Children’s imagination creativity under our noses’...to keep a responsive presence.
‘The warmth of a listening presence does much to keep young children engaged in whatever they’re playfully doing. She quotes Artist and Educator John Matthews who has described this as ‘a special kind of nothing’. It’s largely a non verbal attentiveness and it works magic in both directions. I become more in tune with the children and more aware of their potential, while my attention encourages them to persist in whatever they’re doing far more effectively than words of praise ever would’...Ursula Kolbe
We provided new paint brushes (Jamie stocks artist quality paint brushes) and a palette of beautiful pastel paints (pre-made up by the teachers) to select for painting their flower. I feel it’s so important to provide quality art materials for children. It gives them the message that they themselves are valued and respected and in return, the children will respect and look after the materials so that they work effectively. We show them ways to look after the brushes and keep their work space clean. Providing damp cloth next to them for wiping their hands and the brush handles during their work helps.
Each session, we showed the children the unfinished painting at our morning/afternoon meetings for reflection and discussed what else it needed, what other colours might look good, etc. to keep their interest and it’s a way of re launching ideas. Once the painting was finally complete, we presented it and asked the children what it should be called...
A child suggested...
“The Garden with a hundred flowers”...
We loved it!!! This title resonates with me so much as it reflects the Hundred Languages of Children... In Reggio Emilia, they use this metaphor to describe the endless number of children's potentials, the many different ways of thinking, of discovering, of learning, their ability to wonder and to inquire. I couldn’t have come up with a more beautiful name for this painting. It reiterates that we as educators and parents continue to learn from children and each and every day.
Please click on the link below if you would like more inf on REAIE:
Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange