As we pivoted quickly for the last three weeks of Term 3 (and then into Term 4) for an ELC lockdown and iso school once again, there was an opportunity to think about the children and groupings differently. The number of children we had onsite was equivalent to about one kindergarten class, and with staff juggling both online and onsite rotating across the week, we thought about how we could maximise the children’s experiences.
We brought the three kindergarten groups of children together and introduced some of the older children from the Staff Childcare Room to the kindergarten program. What grew and blossomed were the opportunities for cross-age work and play, forging new relationships, teaching skills, developing routines for younger children and helping prepare them for the transition for 2022.
These cross-age opportunities used to be the norm in larger families and when children played in the street with the neighbours’ children on weekends and holidays. Bigger children taking responsibility for the younger ones, teaching games, playing cricket in the summer, learning to ride bikes and scooters, helping families in the gardens and spending large amounts of time outdoors – these are all opportunities for growth that we have possibly not seen as much over the last few years.
Using this opportunity for cross-age learning and play lead to lots of wonderful new friendships and skills for all the children. Many of these new friendships have continued as we recommenced our normal program, with children visiting and calling out to their new friends from the other rooms.
As a staff team, the ELC has continued to provide excellence both onsite and in remote teaching and learning; developing and refining the curriculum to meet family and children’s needs. Although not the ideal situation, we had the incredibly good fortune of getting to know and teaching the children onsite for more than half a year. We developed great connections with the children and they us.
Thanks to all the staff for their tireless efforts and to all the families for supporting your ELC child to participate and stay connected – it is so wonderful to have almost everyone back. We can enjoy the last weeks of this year being together and embracing the beautiful spring days.
Director of ELC Kew