Sunday, 28 August 2011

Cooking up a storm

While talking to the children over 'snack time', about what healthy choices they had in their snack boxes, many children pointed out the fact that they had helped Mums, Dads and Nonnas to bake healthy biscuits, muesli bars and bread.  At the same time my co-educator was experiencing a similar conversation in the home corner, as children 'cooked' and prepared meals.  Reflecting on these experiences after the session, we decided to extend this interest in cooking, including adding Cheese & Vegemite pinwheels into the program.

Small groups of children washed their hands and sat at the table listening intently as the experience was introduced.

Children were given the choice what to include in their pinwheels, then began spreading butter or Vegemite on the pastry before sprinkling the cheese on.

Not only did this support fine motor development and dexterity, but enhanced cognitive skills.  Pre-mathematical concepts were again introduced (thick, thin, long, short and measuring).

Sprinkling cheese on the pastry proved too tempting for some children, who decided that they needed to 'taste test' the cheese prior to using it.

Rolling the pinwheel again used many of the children's skills as they manipulated the pastry, trying to keep everything inside.

We introduced the concept of time into the program as children anxiously waited to see their pinwheels cooked and then wait long enough for them to cool so they could be eaten.

This was such a successful experience, I cant wait to add other cooking experiences into the program.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A bare foot Blog

I have just finished reading an article on the importance of allowing children (particularly infants) the opportunity to explore their environment bare foot.  Not only does it stimulate the senses and overall development of the child, but reconnects children to their world, lowering stress and anxiety, hyperactivity and helps to 'centre' children.   I was forced to reflect on the opportunities we provide for the children (and educators) in our early learning centre.

What better way to reflect then through photography?????

 Barefoot play is not only limited to the children but Early Years Professionals also.  Children are guided and encouraged to make 'safe' choices about where they walk while bare foot however ultimately the choice is theirs and we see it as an opportunity for the child to use ones initiative, learn and grow from the choice they have made.  Children are encouraged to clean their own feet and place shoes and socks on before leaving.  Access to buckets of clean soapy water, brushes and washers is always made available so the children can practice Independence skills.

* Note the only 'limit' we set for bare foot play is on cold, wet  or wintery days.  On these days children are encouraged to make a choice that will keep them warm and safe.