At the moment, the hours and days go by and seem to be a lot of the same and not a lot of anything else. We blink and suddenly the days become weeks and the weeks become a month and then the months roll on… and now here we are at the end of Term 3, 2021. We blinked and here we are.
For the last three weeks of Term 3, Early childhood has had to pivot just like the rest of the state’s school sector. Although it’s only been three weeks, this feels like an eternity for many juggling so much. We would all agree that young children, especially those below school age, should not be expected to learn remotely, but it is up to us to make the best of a bad situation. There have been some silver linings for parents and educators in this space. One has been that as we have known the children for three quarters of a year by now, we have a fair idea about their interests, skills, friendships and who was likely to engage remotely and who wasn’t confident enough to join a group. The other positive is that it has allowed and enabled parents to be present and participate with their child in their learning. To date, we have not been able to have parents in the centre and only a couple of brief periods where they have been able to walk through on a drop off.
Canvas has proved a useful platform for remote learning in the ELC. Parents have already had most of the year to become familiar with the platform, so this was an easy go-to for the weekly plan for Padlets which have become an interactive and sharing platform for each group and the celebrations of special events, including Book Week and Fathers Day. The most important aspect for us is keeping the connection with children and their families and keeping the wellbeing front and centre.
Keeping busy in the school holidays
As we move to the holidays, there are still many resources for you to investigate on Canvas with your child. Your educators have created many of their own ‘Playschool’ videos, so check out the resources in each room page, stories, songs, fingerplays and things to make an do.
Remembering also how important gross motor development and skills are, the following are some fun games that will keep your children learning, laughing and keeping entertained during the school holidays:
- tree climbing
- monkey bars
- playing on the swings
- running laps.
Apart from being outdoors in the fresh air, there are many benefits to children’s physical development in these activities as well.
- They are developing their core strength, upper body strength and bilateral strength, especially on the money bars and skipping. These skills are critical for their cognitive learning.
- There learning links between being able to skip, with rope or without, and learning to write, because the co-ordination needed to do the uneven pattern of skipping requires mature physical development.
- They develop stamina, balance (in hopscotch, skipping, tree climbing, cartwheels and wheelbarrows) and perseverance, all critical skills for more formal academic learning.
- Developing ball skills is important as well, as it aids hand-eye co-ordination and tracking, which are important skills for writing and reading.
- And finally, through swinging, children as young as three should be learning to push themselves with an adult start off, developing rhythm, the motion of their legs back and forward, developing core strength and also upper body strength.
As we prioritise children’s wellbeing at the heart of all learning, get outside a lot in the break, grab a rope and a piece of chalk and have fun with some simple but important games. Encourage your child to persevere – this is one of the attributes that determines academic success – praise their effort, as it won’t be perfect the first or even second time, but it is the effort and repetition that is important.
Finally thank you to all the wonderful ELC educators for their capacity to pivot to engage the children and families, to provide online and onsite learning and activities, to manage their own families and remain professional, engaging and upbeat.
See you all in October!
Director of ELC Kew