We come to the end of Term 2 with almost all the children back and all ELC staff returned to onsite teaching plus all our specialist staff. I am incredibly grateful to all – the School Leadership Team, the ELC team and the specialist staff for ELC, the parents and grandparents and, of course, the children.
There has been much that has changed and much also that has gone well. Earlier this term, I wrote in the newsletter about hunting for the good, what went well (WWW) and kindness. Over the last month especially, I have been interested to see how independent all of the children have become. From distancing at the little library door, toddlers now walking themselves all the way to the Staff Childcare room, to the three, four and five-year olds that skip down the passage, almost without a backward glance; carrying their own bags on their backs, extra coats etc. And then managing the reversal at the end of the day to get to the required meeting place for pick up. The belief and our view of the child as rich, capable and competent – only if we let them – has for sure been born out. Not just in the outward manifestations of managing their own belongings but at an emotional and social level as well – distancing, passing on messages, the communication books and managing their emotions. The day in the Oak and Bay rooms begins very smoothly with a morning meeting at 9.00am sharp and everyone there, present and focussed. In the Music room, the day begins outdoors with hands washed and morning tea beginning at 9.00am, the children requesting their glass of water and managing their own packed morning tea. In the Staff Childcare room, breakfast is over by 8.15am and all is settled both in and outdoors, with morning tea also beginning at 9.00am.
Understanding the value of and supporting children both in the home and at the Centre to become more independent is important. Of course, it is relative to the age and stage of development and to family circumstances. We are all guilty as parents at some stage of doing things for our children because it is quicker or more convenient or it is done ‘better’. While this makes sense in the end, it is a short-term fix. Stopping and letting them have the chance to do more by themselves has long term and far reaching effect. Often the inadvertent message by us doing what they can is that they are not capable, or we don’t have confidence in their ability. You can start to give them more opportunities by making a list (with a pre-schooler) what they can do by themselves, for example, dress/undress, dirty clothes to the laundry, brush their hair and teeth, set the table, feed the pet etc. Then set the priorities, one at a time, and importantly, make time for it to happen. It’s probably going to take longer to start with, so allow more time. Sometimes you will have to negotiate and even compromise to support their effort– try to make this fun, a game. Please do not expect perfection, all new tasks require practice, like doing up buttons or buckles on shoes. It is important to praise the effort taken: ‘I can see you tried really hard to get all the buttons through the holes – it can be really tricky!’ Finally, consider the timing: if you or your child is sick or stressed, don’t introduce a new challenge – wait for better timing. Encourage problem solving, time management and a sense of confidence. Remember the feisty toddler who says ‘ME DO IT!’ Sometimes you might need to sit on your own hands to let your child practice and develop their independence.
The ELC Canvas platform is still very much alive and although the weekly planning is no longer online as we are all back teaching onsite, the curriculum plan will continue to be posted in the relevant room folder as will the reflections in the relevant room button. These have currently moved to fortnightly with the addition of the communication books for all of the rooms. In Term 3 you will have a new look kindergarten communication book. The staff value the feedback they receive in these and the opportunity for them to communicate with you about your child’s learning and development. The resource button and specialist buttons are still very active with lots of new content being added on a regular basis. The discussion board is still an active place to post and connect with others. All the original videos ‘a la Playschool’ that staff made in March are all back up plus some new ones, so the children might like to go back and connect with these. Please stay tuned as you will continue to get announcements about new additions. This is an important platform where you will find important information as your child journeys through the School.
Over the next week your child’s lead educator will be conducting the mid-year Parent Teacher Interviews with you via Microsoft Teams. You will receive an email link for this interview. These are important occasions to discuss your child’s development. There has been a lot of positive feedback about these occurring online throughout the school. There is a lot of work behind the scenes from both an admin perspective and from the staff’s knowledge of your child’s development and learning to date. Thank you to Lisa Stewart for all the admin work and to Bec Curtis, Robyn Croucher, Julie Coleman, Harriet Cousins-Palmer and Deb Kondratowicz for their time and work on the interviews and for all the teamwork from each room.
Wishing you all a restful holiday break and looking forward to seeing you in July for the commencement of Term 3.
Director of ELC Kew