At the beginning of a fresh new year, independence and self-regulation have become the theme of the Kinder room. With the increasing number of toddlers moving up to Kindergarten, it is necessary for us to go back to basics to help them to settle in. In order to face the challenges of the new environment, being more independent and more controlled of themselves is imperative to make them more confident and secure.
Becoming independent has a different meaning for children at different ages. Since December, the Kinder children have been setting up tables for lunch and washing the dishes with a tub of water. It is part of our daily routine now. I encourage every child to do so, as long as they are capable of holding the bowl and plate. We also explored how to get dressed with different clothes during group time and practiced a variety of essential skills using the dressing boards, including zipping and buttoning up. An easy-to-remember video from Super Simple Songs was played for children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GDFa-nEzlg.
Children who are over 4 years old are provided with more advanced activities to learn how to control their hands and bodies. For instance, older children began to learn about basic handwriting, beginning with developing pencil control. The resource I chose to use features a variety of fun ways to practice following different types of lines, such as curved lines, arched lines and straight lines. The colourful illustrations in these pencil control worksheets are sure to spark interest and engagement in children. Making buzzing bee noises and wriggling snakes makes more sense to children than forming the letters does. Another significant change we have made for Kinder children is allowing independent reading time every day. After having afternoon tea, children are asked to sit on the mat with a storybook to read by themselves. They stay focused, flipping the page and reading the pictures quietly for five to ten minutes. Although the time is short, they still get the idea of how to keep still and quiet, and how to respect others’ personal spaces. That is essential for children to know when they are in public places. Some of the children have already formed a routine habit, as afternoon tea they go straight to the mat for reading time.
The children also pay close attention to what is happening across Australia. The devastating bushfire have deprived countless people and wildlife of their home and even life. We decided to hold a bake sale to raise funds for the area of the highest need in our community. In our own way, children learned what social responsibility is and how they can be helpful in supporting our country.
During the last few weeks, we have incorporated Australia day and Spring Festival into the children’s learning. To suit their age and current abilities, we focused on acknowledging the highly diverse cultures and the unique wildlife in Australia. Three flags – the Australian flag, the Aboriginal flag, and Torres Strait Islander flag – have been introduced to children and the meaning of different colours have been explored. Inspired by our creative teaching team at Journey, I designed an activity to incorporate the flags, unique wildlife, and nature into Australia map. We gave each State and Territory a different symbol, but the process required different skills such as cutting and pasting, painting within the boundaries and finger painting. Children were working together as a team to complete each task.
On the 24th of January, we celebrated Chinese New Year by making dumplings together in Camelot, which is a fun and unforgettable experience. The Kinder children were also challenged to use chopsticks while eating the dumplings! Dumplings are a very traditional Chinese food, with over eighteen hundred years of history, delivering best wishes to the people we love. The dumpling making activity sparked interest among the children, who want to explore more about the Chinese culture.
Ava – Kindergarten Early Childhood Teacher