Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Carey, happy birthday to YOU – hip hip hooray!
For those of you who know me, I love an opportunity – any opportunity – to celebrate. Celebrations are among the most important binding factors in any community or society, and involving the children in celebrations is a way to help them appreciate the big and the small achievements. This is an especially important way to ensure they understand that celebrations are not always just about them – young children are egocentric by nature, and this is one way we can help them move past this stage.
Developing a strong sense of identity and wellbeing in our children and also ensuring they feel connected to their community are areas that are promoted in both the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) and the newly revised national Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), which govern the way we approach Early Learning in this state. Celebrations of birthdays – both their own and other members of the group – with great anticipation and a special room ritual is one way we practice this in our Early Learning Centre.
However, there are many events that we can celebrate, maybe not on the grand scale of a birthday, but are nonetheless worth acknowledging. Celebrating developmental milestones, first steps, first words, the capacity to separate without tears, the first wee in the toilet, the first second language words, and so on. Then there are less obvious and harder accomplished learnings, like rationally managing a conflict with a friend, developing the resilience to overcome feelings of loss on separation, and demonstrating the ability to self sooth and re-regulate. For these accomplishments, there are quieter and more private celebrations we can have with immediate family and educators.
Sometimes we celebrate the special birthday of a company or an icon rather than a person. Recently, for example, both Cadbury and Qantas celebrated their centenary years, and this year, Vegemite and Carey Baptist Grammar School are doing the same! We have enjoyed the beginning of the celebration, starting on our official 100th birthday, 13 February, where we participated with drone photography on Cluny Green, cupcakes, singing to Carey, clapping 100 claps, making birthday crowns and 100-year glasses as well as many 100-year drawings. There will be more to come as we continue to celebrate this significant birthday throughout the year.
Do you know anyone who is also 100 this year? Maybe you could share their story with us.
Director of ELC Kew