Kindy Life

Here’s a snapshot of what our Blue and Yellow Group children got up to in Term 3 of 2015.

Blue Group Report

Exploring our new playground
How exciting for our Blue Group children to return and find an amazing new playground to explore. It has been a real gift for the children to have a real resurgence in interest up in the top playground and return to investigating our natural setting. It is also sure to be a wonderful hub for rich play for many future years to come.

In the first week I enjoyed watching and listening as the children investigated these new areas. A group of children created a long line as Follow The Leader took place winding around dry creek beds, along the side fence line (once covered in plants and an unused zone) and over the bridges 4 before winding through the aptly named “maze” of pebble paths in the sensory garden. We heard one child describe to her friends following behind-“you have to do the limbo” under a lovely low hanging branch along the side fence rock channel. “What’s the limbo? “asked her friends and the idea and game was returned to again and again. The lacey tepee in the sensory garden was a place of tranquility as children retreated by themselves or with one child and were observed curled up and reclined chatting and sharing the moment. A personal favourite memory has been when a group of children spontaneously decided to go for a roll down our newly grassed hill. Something the previous dusty, rocky and rutted hill was never able to offer children in play.

An enormous thank you to all involved –a huge band of volunteered hours from parents, staff and our extended families working together. The children enjoyed recording their favourite features of the new playground. For some children it was the rocks, others the new plants, some the bridges and some the tepee in the sensory garden nook.

Sharing with Sharron – an indigenous cultural experience
We welcomed Sharron to kindy one morning and were treated to a wonderful opportunity to hear story about indigenous culture. Sharron had us all thinking as she asked us what indigenous people long ago would do for food everyday with no shops and no cars. We were really interested to see her large bowl made from a slice of a tree and were impressed how it was carefully made without killing and cutting down the entire tree. We also took a close look at some instruments and we noticed how tapping sticks sounded different depending on the wood they were made from. Sharron shared ochre from her home country in central NSW and some of us enjoyed being able to have it painted on our skin too. Sharron then put on her special outfit with emu feathers and she showed us how indigenous people use the whole animal-including the spines of an echidna for beautiful beads for jewellery. We then joined in a kangaroo dance-jumping, lazing, grazing and listening and then an emu dance with long neck and big tail feathers for the boys and shorter neck hands and arm action for the girls. We wished Sharon could stay all day!

Visiting Cubberla Creek
This week with much excitement we departed kindy and headed along the footpath towards our local creek and park. What a marvellous way to connect with our neighbourhood as the kindy friends stopped to admire a house being built, a very large succulent taller than all of us and dandelions for making wishes. We kept a lookout for the number 92 letterbox where we would find a nice surprise. What a lovely moment when the owner of 92 was out in her garden and stopped to have a chat with us as we admired her garden her gnomes, bridges and duck ornaments before carefully crossing the road and then bridge over the creek. There we found our parent helper Julie and her friend Yuta from Cubberla Witton Creek Catchment Network waiting for us. We divided into three groups and took turns to experience and enjoy three educational activities.

Yuta guided us in exploring trays of creek water from further along the creek and helped us identify a wide array of tiny creature. Some Water Striders with long legs moving on the top of the water, a little fish, some tiny thin pink worms, fascinating caddisfly hiding in twigs and the smallest of water snail. It was fascinating and heartening to discover that some of these creatures were sensitive and only found in the cleanest of creek water.

Our second activity was led by Julie who wove a story about Magic Magil (Moggil) the water dragon and her adventures along our creek and her distress at finding the water polluted. As the story unfolded each child uncapped their container and poured in real and mock materials including detergents, oils, fertilizer, grass clippings, rubbish, building site soil slips and to our surprise (and delight) even model dog poo. Fortunately Magic Magil and her friends like the purple spotted gudgeon worked to keep the river clean with the help of local neighbours, planting along creek banks and treating water that ran into creeks.

The third activity was a treasure hunt where we searched the river bank –feathers, leaves, fuzzy seed pods, cobblers pegs, lantana and more. We placed out treasures in our paperbags and later used them with Suzi the artist as we pushed and printed them in discs of clay. We look forward to her return so we can glaze the dried clay pieces. Nearing the end of our visit some of us lay under a shady tree and enjoyed a listening treasure hunt and a rest before we refuelled with a lovely picnic morning tea and an juicy icy pole on our return to kindy.

Other Areas of Interest:

  • Trying our skills at dot to dots and mazes and signing in and much card making and signing;
  • making invitations for our soft toys to join us at kindy for games – a swing, a portrait painting sitting and lots of mathematical grouping and counting – how many toys have ears?, tails? button/marble eyes ?;
  • dressing up in school uniforms and role playing teachers and students at Prep School – lots of jangling of bells to announce return to class and playtime;
  • singing My Paddle-canoe song as we imagined travelling on our creek and we now know a second verse;
  • looking closely at the museum specimens of a large and a juvenile Eastern Water Dragon and then representing them with our drawing and learning the indigenous word Magil (Moggil is derived from);
  • sharing big books and joining familiar refrains in favourite stories;
  • and still more tricky puzzles.

Yellow Group Report

As we head towards the end of kindy for another year we have been reflecting on the many long-term families who have brought so much to our community, and who are now moving on. It is a bittersweet feeling to think of how much we will miss them, but also that in some small way we have helped to shape the lives of these wonderful young people. They will grow up and we will grow older, and we will always love to hear about how they are going and the adventures they have had.

Our playground renovation gifted us with a lovely fresh start to the term, with new spaces to explore and new possibilities for play. The lower bridge has been the stage for many tellings of the story “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” with the far side providing just the right space for a troll or two to hide. The mudpatch with its lovely sandy loam has been the site for the making of stews and the splashing of feet in puddles. All the stones and pebbles have invited sensory exploration with eyes, hands and feet.

On our first day back one of our kindy girls gazed around open-mouthed at the winding, stony creek beds, the deluxe mudpatch, the enticing bridges and the glossy plants and exclaimed, “Wow, this is beautiful! It’s exactly what I wanted!” We all, teachers and children, just love it and spend so much more time up there than we used to. Everyone helps to water the plants and we are pleased and relieved to see that they are indeed growing! It is a happy place that we feel is just right. I feel very proud of us as a community that we were able to pool our areas of expertise and achieve great success without calling on much outside help at all.

In our revamped garden we have noticed much more, albeit tiny, wildlife making their home here. Perhaps they are starting to return now that there is softness and many handy cracks and crevices in which to live. The children have discovered lizards, brightly coloured harlequin and assassin bugs, and today we spotted a tawny frogmouth and its chicks nesting in the tree above the front path. How amazing! There used to be a family of bluetongues and even one of the more ephemeral pink tongues living here; perhaps their offspring will return one day soon, too.

These first few weeks of term have been so full and busy – last week we welcomed Sharron to share some of her Wiridjiri culture and language with us. The children were spellbound as she told us stories from the old time and described the way that the first Australians lived, before there were kindies, shops and houses. Sharron asked the children if they knew what “history” means. One friend put his hand up and said “It’s like the things in museums”, and another said “It’s like dinosaur bones”, which Sharron thought were wonderful answers. Then we all learned a Bundaa (kangaroo) dance, a Dinnawan (emu) dance and a special dance about ducks who protect their eggs from the lizards. Sharron invited us to be painted with her special ochre before we danced, and she gave us a generous and beautiful gift of a bag of emu feathers.

This morning we used some Aboriginal story telling symbols to draw a map in preparation for our walk down to the creek. The walk itself was fantastic (I must admit it felt quite strange to be walking out the gate with all our children!), as we noticed lots of interesting things along the way. We were even lucky enough to see a waterdragon looking down on us from a tree as we sat and ate our morning tea! Our catchment volunteer, Yuta, caught hundreds of tiny water creatures from the creek and put them into trays which we investigated with magnifying glasses. We learned that the presence of many caddisfly larva, which swim around attached to the underside of a little stick, indicates that the creek water is very clean. The children got involved in telling a story about Magil the Waterdragon who’s creek becomes increasingly polluted, until a family takes action to protect the creek and its inhabitants. The children loved going on a treasure hunt to find natural artefacts which we will be using in our art workshop tomorrow. When we returned the children drew their own map showing the route and features of our adventure. What a busy time! We feel that the trip was so worthwhile, and we would love to look at doing it again in 2016.