Tag Archives: play based learning

Expression Through Creativity

Written by Nat at Karana

 

We love some mark making at Karana.   We love to express ourselves through being creative and putting what we are thinking out into the dirt or sand.  Using sticks, or even our fingers and hands, we love to make our marks.  I often find the children making marks in the dirt or sand throughout the day.  Excitedly showing us the pictures they have created and telling us the story that goes a long with it.

Such a simple activity can encourage so much development.  I must admit, when I first saw the children doing this (and mind you, I have seen this for many years but not always seen, or really thought of the learning behind it.) I loved seeing the big movements of their arms then the smaller ones.  Going from big to small.  Small to big and everything in between too.  Running across the yard with the long sticks as they make their ‘roads’ or ‘tracks’ behind them.  Going goodness knows where but just going!

The children, through this play are also experimenting with patterns.  Making lines, dots and squiggles over and over.  Making marks that may represent their names or their families names.  I find that when they are doing this, they are repeating the same makings over and over when representing their name for themselves.  It means something to them and those symbols are their name.  This is what they have picked to be their name.  To them, they see their name and while we may write it down for them prior to them doing it for themselves (if they ask us to write their names), this is how they see it and how they recreate it.  It could be completely different but, I think that is what makes it so special.  Their interpretation of things.  The children’s imaginations being encouraged and shared with others around them.  They choose to share it with me too.  That in itself is priceless.

While this playing is happening they are also developing their body strength.  Encouraging their writing skills would you believe?  They are working their shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and finger muscles.  All intricate parts of development.  They all link together, and in the process, it not only increases their strength, but mentally prepares their bodies for writing and other gross or fine motor activities.  Big movements to little movements.  It also encourages their cognitive skills as they process the different pressures needed to draw with.  How they hold their stick (how it feels comfortable to them) or their hand so they can use their fingers effectively.  In other words, they are actually getting a whole body workout.  Mind and body.

I love that simple play brings so much more than what appears on the surface.  Play is learning and learning is play.  Discovery, excitement, self expression.  It all is a part of play and shines through in so many ways.

“Over the fence”

by Mina Kular, Early Childhood Teacher – Karana

 

Since I have started with Karana early education centre this year, I have been on two outings “over the fence” (as it has become affectionately known by the children) and have observed how children love these and how learning occurs naturally. From simply observing fauna and flora around them, learning about nature by experiencing it in different seasons, observing the colours of the grass and trees, to more advanced life skills like how to navigate their way through somewhat unfamiliar area at the beginning and exploring their community. They also learn how different clothing is required for different environments, what is safe under one environment may not be adequate in a different setting. This further encourages flexibility in thinking.

These walks are really enjoyable in autumn and winter as children get to soak in the warm sun just by being out in the open.  Though educators are always present, however, children do take the lead in these experiences choosing where they stay longer, what areas interest them and so on, leading to a sense of ownership in their beings and play.  These outings also allow an opportunity for children to assess the risk themselves and educators to stand back and observe.  On our last outing, children chose to walk on the rocks and go under the bush, which was an uneven terrain compare to the regular terrain they walk at the centre. So, they learn to tap the differences within the geography of their environment.

The other thing, which I felt amongst children, was the sense of freedom as soon as they were “over the fence”. Though it is heavily encouraged within the centre as well by allowing them to move freely and choose the room of their liking for most of the day, however this is experienced totally differently outside. Boundaries are negotiated on the spot with children at the centre stage.

Children and educators also become co-creators of their knowledge and learning outside, as sometimes educators’ see/explore the new things for the first time in the environment, as has been my experience in the past outing.

Loose Parts & Creativity

It was first proposed back in the 1970’s by architect Simon Nicholson, who believed that it is the loose parts in our environment that encourage our creativity. In Childcare, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways.

After attending a ECW conference on the Sunshine Coast with work colleagues, Angus who runs an OSCH on the Northside off Brisbane, talked about loose parts within his service and through this vision I felt very inspired and started to envision my own thoughts of supplying large and small loose parts to enable the children to create.

Many children started the day just walking past the materials which were scattered within the yarning circle when one started to move the crates and stacked them one on top of each other. This caught the eye of another child who started to add smaller loose parts. As the structure was beginning to take shape more and more children kept adding other materials. Some of these materials consisted of metal bucket, wooden planks, tree cut-offs, wood off-cuts, crates and pipes.

When I acknowledged the children’s efforts one yelled out “yes this is our really big castle”, I said  great and look at all the the materials used. Another child clapped their hands to encourage other children to join in and states “we are a Team, come and help”, I was sure to let the children know that it was great for them to work together. I was very pleased in the way that the loose parts were used, also the team work and collaboration between children. The children created many different structures.

In this time of excitement and inspiration I’m hoping to encourage others to offer same within their service as I feel the children will not only amaze you with their creativity but also their imagination. It’s wondrous to see the children’s leadership and their ideas come to fruition when they are given the space and materials they need to see their project through to completion. Materials can be found at the tip, charities, tradesman with off cuts and around the neighbourhood kerb collection. I hope this can inspire all educators do encourage children to continue to fill their world with raw material creations.

 

Maria – Springfield

6 Tips to get Your Children Ready for Kindergarten

If you read our previous blog on “The Importance of Kindergarten Readiness” you will already be aware of why it is so important to prepare your children for Kindergarten. We touched on some ways to get your children ready however this article will go into far more depth and provide you with a range of tips on how to easily prepare your child for their soon to be, new learning environment. While some tips might be simple, or obvious to you keep in mind they might not be obvious to some. If you did miss our previous blog, preparing your child for Kindergarten is crucial for their early brain development. Not to mention the simple fact that preparedness directly correlates with ones’ success.

 

Tips:

  1. Read to your Child Regularly:
    Reading is extremely important, especially from a really young age. While it’s obviously extremely educational and stimulates early brain development, it can also assist in the generation of their imagination and creativity. Not to mention, reading is extremely soothing and can have many sleeping benefits.
  2. Get Musical:
    Even if you don’t play an instrumental or consider yourself a talented singer, introducing music into their lives can be an effective way to encourage their creativity and introduce them to new sounds and experiences.
  3. Encourage Responsibility:
    Encouraging responsibility is such a great way to inspire growth and taking responsibility for their actions. Not to mention, early development of leadership skills can be a great way to inspire independence, individuality and personality development.
  4. Get Involved:
    Get involved with your children and their activities and games that they enjoy. More than you know, they will appreciate your support and involvement. Not to mention, it’s a chance to bond while doing something they love. Getting involved is such an important step in the process as social skills is a huge part of Kindergarten preparation; sharing, talking, watching and playing with other children is a huge part of early brain development.
  5. Encourage Educational Activities:
    Encouraging educational activities is potentially the most powerful way to prepare your child educationally for Kindergarten. While, educational preparation isn’t the most important, it can be useful in early brain development.
  6. Give them Freedom:
    A lot of these tips involved impressing a particular activity or “way of being” onto them, which is obviously important as a parent. However, it’s just as equally important to let them go and enjoy their lives as they wish. Personal development is extremely important – self-discovery leads the way for future success.

 

Hopefully this article has been useful to you in learning how exactly you can easily prepare your children for Kindergarten without being too intense or hard on them. It can be easy to forget sometimes that even though they’re children, they need their space and their own time just as much as we do.

Why Outdoor Play is so Important for Your Child

Playing outdoors, unlocks a whole new territory for children. The fresh air, green grass, dancing grasshoppers, and blue skies create the perfect environment for growth, self-confidence, adventures and physical exercise. Playing outdoor allows children to test their physical boundaries which leads to self-discovery and growth. Unlike indoors, where running, jumping and crazy movement isn’t particularly welcomed with vases and furniture in such close proximity – outdoors is the perfect environment for children to move their bodies and challenge themselves physically. Not to mention, being outdoors introduces children to animals, plants and nature.

How to Encourage Outdoor Play:

Now that you understand why outdoor play is so important the benefits it can have on your Childs mental and physical health, here’s how you can encourage outdoor play if your child isn’t particularly warming up to the idea.

  1. Walks: Taking your children for walks, perhaps on the beach or around the neighbourhood is a great start to introducing them to nature. If you have a dog, you could make it a regular daily event.
  2. Sport: Sport is a great way to encourage outdoor play. Choose an easy game you think your child might enjoy and be able to participate such as easy soccer or even just throwing and catching. Invite them out, teach them the rules and see how they respond to it.
  3. Visit Parks: Visiting your local park on a regular basis will introduce your child to a new and challenging outdoor environment. Meeting up for a play date is an even more effective use of outdoor play time – incorporating socialising and outdoor play is important as well.
  4. Building: Building cubby houses, tree houses and hidey holes is a great way to incorporate motor skills, creativity and outdoor play.
  5. Climbing Trees: Climbing trees, while scary for you as a parent, can be a great way to face fears, learn new tricks and experience something different and challenging.

As a Parent:

As a parent it is completely normal for outdoor play to overwhelm or scare you. However, it is important to remember that children need to explore and learn and a couple of bumps and scratches just so happens to be included. A great way to prepare yourself for these learning curves, is to supervise outdoor play time until you feel comfortable with them playing without your presence.

 

Loose Parts

Sitting with some children and really observing what they are doing, listening to their conversations with themselves and other children is like opening a portal to another place. How they see the world, their understandings of the way things work is intriguing.  

The collection of loose parts nearby provided an amazing endless exploration of possibilities and invited creativity. The children used the materials and equipment in manner I had not thought of myself. There are boundless possibilities of how the children engage with the materials and learn, exploring their own thoughts and ideas. The children were driven to discover the answers to their own questions, not mine, they were not interested in what shape the bucket was, but more driven to discover how they can stack 4 colanders without them falling and then run sand through the lot, upon reflection a much better question.

Dale and Beloglovsky (2015) note that children’s play with loose parts provides opportunities for divergent and creative problem-solving skills. The use of loose parts in the play environment provides a plethora of opportunities for children to develop problems solving skills, explore imagination and creativity, engineering, and sound.

Providing opportunities for children to use materials in any manner they choose can be a little challenging at times for example, watching a small child drag a branch that is twice as big as them across the yard, but it is also exciting to watch their thinking, it’s a rare to chance to actually see what’s going on in their little brains, a very special gift.  

Needless to say I am a loose parts fan and when I am providing provocations they certainly include an array of loose parts that can be combined, redesigned, taken apart and rearranged in multiple ways.

 

Angela Gibson

Springfield

How early childhood education in Capalaba helps kids grow

Early childhood education in Capalaba, Karana Downs, and other places around Australia helps children grow into confident young people. Formal education itself is a right for all. But at Eskay Kids, we are the ones who feel privileged when children not only learn, but take lessons home with them.

 

Eskay Kids early childhood education centres don’t have separate ‘play’ and ‘learning’ times. We don’t force children to do anything they don’t want to. Rather, we follow children’s lead and observe valuable learning in almost every situation.  Whether you’re looking at early childhood education in Capalaba, Karana Downs, or Springfield, all our centres follow the same ethos. The children play with each other regardless of age, and the staff provide a safe environment where children can explore the world around them.

 

At our early childhood education centre, the children develop relationships, find their voice, and learn how to listen to the opinions of others. This valuable learning stays with children throughout their lives. Our educators observe children throughout the year, and record the beautiful journey of learning for each child.  It’s an ongoing cycle of observation that happens throughout every day, during play, interactions, meal times, quiet times and many other opportunities that present themselves each day.  

 

As children grow, they become more adept at observing, analysing, explaining, and verifying information. These and other mathematical/scientific skills develop in the early years and are especially important to nurture, so children can grow to the best of their ability. Our Eskay Kids educators facilitate these skills further by carefully planning environments where children invited to explore, play, learn, create, enquire, question and problem solve.  

 

If you’re looking for early childhood education in Capalaba, give Eskay Kids Capalaba your consideration. We give your children the opportunity to grow through play. Children build their mathematical and scientific skills, make friends, and get back to nature in our centre, where joyful, authentic childhoods are at the top of our priority list . Early childhood education doesn’t stop when children leave us, many skills, dispositions and attitudes children learn in the early years will stay with them forever.