The green thumbs of the ELC

‘…how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row!’

Term 1 is at an end, and there has been so much to rejoice and celebrate every day in the ELC. Not the least that we have been here every day of Term 1! That in itself is a reason to celebrate. Every day there has been growth and development of every child in the Centre, be it in through all the Carey Positive Learner Attributes and within the outcome areas of the Victorian Learning and Development Framework.

Our new garden beds in the Oak, Childcare and Music room playgrounds have been a source of excitement, anticipation, planning, work, observation and wondering. Making way for the bed’s delivery was the first stage, followed by clearing the space moving some existing beds, flattening and preparing the ground. The children as always delighted in the flurry of maintenance team in our playground.

The new garden beds are biofilter cubes made from recycled materials and support the whole School’s sustainability initiatives. They have a water reserve which means the plants get just the water they require, so we will not over-water them, and they are taken care of during holiday breaks. The beds are raised to child-height so children can be actively engaged in the care and nurturing of the plants.

There was much discussion in all rooms with the children about the type of seedlings, vegetables, carrots, peas, snow peas where among the top favourites for autumn planting and flowers were a must, so some companion planting of marigolds and some old-fashioned flowers like sweet peas and hollyhocks along with some herbs. For some children, the experience of planting; looking at the small, thin roots; digging a small hole with their finger; and patting the soil around the seedling was a new experience, while others were old hands at this with much to share. We discussed how long they plants will take to grow and how will we know when they will be ready to harvest. Over the coming weeks and months, the children will be involved in discussions, estimations, predictions, observational drawings and research related to the plants and gardening in general terms.

Gardening provides so many opportunities for children to be engaged in hands-on outdoor experiences and connecting with nature. We now have scientific evidence supporting the importance for the developing brain of this regular opportunity to build connections and support the productions of the feel-good endorphins. There are endless opportunities for scientific, mathematical and language development as well.

The children have thrived on the opportunity to engage with the gardening team building further relationships within the school community and using the gardeners as resources with great knowledge and skills to share.

Term 2: Parents are back
At the beginning of Term 2, we will welcome parents back into the ELC for drop off, using the same walkways. Staff Childcare will come in through the main back-gate pathway, Oak room through their regular drop-off spot and Bay room via the deck. Music room will be the same path but up the deck and into the central space. We are encouraging the children to still maintain their independence in managing their bags and drink bottles, as they have shown how capable they are this term. We also remind you that the doors do not open until 8.30am and that parents should still make timely departures from the centre after their drop off.

Pick-up arrangements will remain the same as this term as we do not have the required square-footage inside the centre to meet the COVID-19 requirements.

In May, we will welcome Mothers for the twilight Mothers Day events as per the calendars. More information will follow early next term.

We are also planning to have parent help rosters operating from Term 2, where one parent per room will be able to come and spend a designated period of time helping your child’s group. There will be strict protocols to follow, and all parents will have to attend an information session with me and have a current Working with Children Check or VIT registration. More information will follow early next term. An online booking system will operate for the session with me as well as day and time allocation for the room.

Wishing you a peace filled and safe Easter, with thanks for your support over Term 1.

Wendy Seidler
Director of ELC Kew