When we enrol a child in the Early Learning Centre we enrol a family that will become an integral part of our College community. At the end of 2015 we enrolled many new families into our Centre that have been introduced and welcomed over the last four weeks. During these past few weeks we have been developing a sense of belonging that allows us to ensure that the children and their families feel happy and comfortable in the knowledge that they have chosen a Centre that cares for everyone. Thank you to all the families who have provided us with feedback on their child’s settling period as this has confirmed for us that we are the identifying the needs of the children and supporting them.
I am delighted to say that the children are settling very well with less and less tears happening in the morning at drop off time. Tears are being replaced with laughter and smiles as the children move quickly into activities and conversation with the Educators in the Centre. There are still a couple of little ones who are taking a little longer to separate easily but this is to be expected and perfectly normal as we are all different and we cope with things differently. If your child is still unsettled at drop off time please let me reassure you that once you have left the building they engage in activities supported by the educators and the tears are replaced with smiles. In these early days it is wise to follow a couple of simple strategies:
- Providing your child with something special to share or have as a comforter will provide support for them during this challenging time.
- Acknowledge how they are feeling but reassure them that you will come back.
- Give a kiss and cuddle and hand them over to an Educator.
- Leave quickly as while it is difficult for them, it is also hard on you. DO NOT COME BACK INTO THE ROOM ONCE YOU HAVE LEFT.
- If you are concerned give us a call later in the morning and we will let you know how they have settled.
It is our goal to ensure that every child in our care can experience a genuine sense of belonging. This can be achieved when they have time and space to be themselves and if they are supported in who they are becoming, then we have done a good job.
As many parents are aware parking is very difficult especially at school drop off times. Unfortunately I have noticed quite a number of families who are parking in the Centre car park and walking up to primary to collect other children and then coming into the Centre to collect younger ones. Please drive your car around and use the drop off / pick up zone that has been made available to families after collecting younger children. This allows freedom of access for all families both in the morning and in the afternoon. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN ALONE IN A CAR.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Just a reminder to all families that the Centre opens at 7.00am and shuts at 6.00pm. If you arrive prior to 7.00am you will need to wait in your car until the staff unlock the doors. A late fee will be charged to families who collect their children after 6.00pm. If you are going to be late please make sure that you contact the Centre to let staff know.
Please make sure that you sign your child into the Centre in the morning and out at the end of the day. This is a legal requirement for families to ensure that they receive the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate offered by the government.
2016 COOMERA ANGLICAN COLLEGE - CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF GROWTH
Coomera Anglican College is celebrating 20 years of growth starting with the 20th Anniversary Gala Ball. I would encourage all our families to come along and join in the festivities. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet new families and get to know families from the wider College community.
The details are as follows:
“20th Anniversary Gala Ball”
Date: Saturday 19 March 2016
Venue: RACV Royal Pines Resort
Dress: Black Tie (or if you prefer, “Flappers & Dappers”)
Includes: 3-course Meal, Drinks, Live Entertainment, Dancing,
Lucky Door Prizes and more
Tickets: $150.00 per person and are available online through the College Website:firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Maire Bruneau who finishes in the Centre on Friday 29 January 2016. Maire has been an integral member of our Centre community for the past 8 years as a Lead Educator and Assistant Director. During this time Maire has touched the lives of many young children, their families and staff. Her passion, dedication and commitment to ensuring quality education and care for young children has always been forefront in all that she has done. Maire leaves our community to embark on a new phase of her career as a teacher. We wish her all the very best for the future.
Prep Orientation to the ‘Big School’ took place this week. What a fabulous day for all the children in Preprep at the Early Learning Centre. With great excitement the children walked up to the Prep classrooms, eager to get a taste of what they had worked towards all year. They all settled very quickly, participating in group activities and listening to the new teachers. The children had an extended stay, beginning their day at 8.30am, having morning tea at 10am and returning for lunch at 12pm. They participated in Chinese, sport, music and drama. What a fantastic opportunity they had to experience all the wonders of ‘Big school’!
Transitioning from our world to the great big world of school can be daunting for a child and even more so for the parent who is waving good bye to their baby and welcoming back their grown-up child. As adults we need to remember that children will instinctively pick up the emotions shown by their parents. It is our responsibility that the vibes we give out are positive and exciting and therefore ensure that your child will be filled with confidence for the beginning of Prep in 2016.
It is important to remember that the College has not determined which class group or teacher your child will have in Prep 2016. This information will be available as soon as possible. Many factors are taken into consideration when children are placed into classes. The right teacher and the right learning environment for the needs of each individual child are a priority. As adults we sometimes are concerned with the need for friendships to be maintained when children transition from one environment to another; however children have the ability to engage in new relationships and develop new friendships provided they feel secure and have a strong sense of belonging. This strength of character is something we work very hard to develop in the children through the Preprep programme in the Centre.
I am extremely proud of the way the children responded to their new environments and saw evidence of the hard work put in by the staff in the Early Learning Centre. They were amazing! Congratulations to the children, families and staff of the Early Learning Centre.
Just a reminder of a couple of upcoming events:-
Early Learning Centre Christmas Concert: This year the children and staff of the Early Learning Centre will be celebrating a fantastic year and sharing their learning with their families’ in the Ivan Gibbs Centre on Friday 28 November from 6pm to 7pm. Our Kindy and Senior Kindy children will be presenting some of the favourite songs that they have learnt during their Godly Play with Mrs Harrison from Primary. Our Preprep children will continue the Centre tradition and perform a reenactment of the nativity story – Wiggly Nativity. All the children are working very hard practising songs and actions to share on this wonderful occasion. Please make sure that you put this date in your diary. More information will come home with the children from the Early Learning Centre.
Crossing of the Little Bridge: We are all looking forward to the Crossing of the Little Bridge Ceremony on Wednesday 2 December 2015 from 2pm. At this ceremony we will celebrate the growth and development achieved by the children this year in Preprep and farewell them as they continue their learning journey at big school.
Jenny Rees - Early Learning Centre Director
On a beautiful day nothing could stop the excitement and exuberance of all the children, families and staff as we welcomed all our very special visitors to Grandparents' Day and Book Week. The children could be heard throughout the Centre squealing with delight as they greeted one another guessing who or what they were dressed up as. Lots of family members joined in donning a costume for the day.
The children from Preprep excitedly joined in the Primary character parade walking up through the Primary campus to parade before an audience of lots of admiring visitors. What a great way to celebrate the love of books and the importance of reading to children.
The children in Kindy and Senior Kindy enjoyed the opportunity of spending time with their grandparents in their rooms and out on the yard, painting, threading, climbing, dancing and role playing. Characters from Frozen were very much a favourite in the Centre with lots of little friends dressed as ‘Anna’ and ‘Elsa’.
Throughout the morning the children in all the Preprep classes with the assistance of their Grandparents and educators planted lots of seedlings out in all the play areas. Preprep A planted herbs and annuals in lots of brightly coloured pots while Preprep B filled the garden with vegetable seedlings to remind us about the importance of healthy eating. Preprep C worked with their grandparents to create a magical fairy garden in our natural play area at the front of the Centre.
Each day the plants are watched, watered and given the highest amount of quality care that any plant could wish for. We are all eager to harvest the foods that we are growing. Ensuring that we care and have respect for our environment is a lifelong skill that is flourishing here in the Early Learning Centre.
Fathers’ Day will be celebrated next Friday 4 September 2015. This occasion provides a platform for many hard working dads time to come and kick a ball, construct buildings and dabble in some paint before heading back to work. Days like these are the memories we cherish as we grow older as they go past so quickly and we can’t catch them back up again. We hope that most of our dads will be able to escape work for a couple of hours to join us in the Early Learning Centre.
Thank you also to the wonderful ladies from PAFA who tirelessly organise and provide a lovely variety of special gifts for the children in the Centre to buy their dads for Fathers’ Day. Our Fathers’ Day stall will be held next week. The children really enjoy having the opportunity to visit my office to select their very special gift for Dad and Grandad.
Next week we will be welcoming some Year 9 students who will complete three days of community service. This experience enhances the important relationship between the College and the Early Learning Centre in so many ways. The children from the Centre enjoy sharing their world with older students while the year nine students step back into their childhood as they read books, paint, play with play dough, built sandcastles and dance with their new friends.
Jenny Rees - Early Learning Centre Director
As an Anglican Early Learning Centre our ethos and values culture is a vital aspect of our professional, personal and spiritual development. iLR provides a framework that connects us together and provides us all with a sense of belonging to a family and community.
Last term the Preprep children ventured beyond the Early Leaning Centre up to St Matthew’s Anglican Church.
Throughout the term the children were introduced to all the different aspects of the church; the building and what it looks like, songs, stories and music, special events that take place within the Church and prayer – using our fingers to remind us of who and what we can pray for.
They met The Reverend Canon Ron Bundy, the Reverend Stephen Hooper and ‘Bob’ his constant companion. Reverend Ron and Reverend Stephen supported the children in their understanding of all the key components of the church and parish community. Reverend Stephen, with the support of Bob introduced the children to some of his favourite songs and stories and the children reciprocated by sharing a couple of the songs and stores we use in the Centre.
With the support of Mrs Heather Van den Boss and her band of volunteers the children had something to drink and a special booklet that they could complete reminding them of all the things that they had learnt through their visit. We are very grateful to everyone who worked with us to provide this enriching experience for the children.
On Wednesday 8 July the children along with their families celebrated their learning with Reverend Stephen at St Matthews. It was a beautiful celebration as the children guided their parents through all that they had learnt last term. This celebration concluded with a morning tea that allowed families to get to know one another and to meet all the important people that had contributed to their child’s learning.
This experience provided the children with the knowledge that community goes beyond their home, their kindy and their school and that these community connections are important. Now when the children drive past St Matthews Church, they know that it is more than a building that stands beside a road. It is a building filled with song, music, activity, fun and people who care.
This week, on Wednesday, the children from Preprep joined with the children from Prep and Year One at Worship hosted by the Chaplin Mary-Anne from the College. As this was the first worship for the term the children from Preprep took the opportunity to share all that they had learnt with the school community. What a fabulous way to show the connection between the Church community, College community and the ELC community.
For the remainder of the year the Preprep children will attend worship in the Ivan Gibbs Centre at 10.00am with the children from Prep and Year One. Parents are very welcome to join us each week for worship as well as a cup of tea or coffee afterwards.
Not to be left out, the children in the Kindy and Senior Kindy room will work with the Mrs Kathy Harrison and the staff in ‘Godly Play’ this term. This play experience will provide the children with opportunities to share in stories, songs and prayers that reinforce the message that Christian people love and work together as a community. We are looking forward welcoming Mrs Harrison to the Centre next week.
Congratulations to the staff, children and families on a wonderful result with our Assessment and Rating Visit.
Coomera Anglican College Early Learning Centre is rated overall at:
EXCEEDING NATIONAL QUALITY STANDARDS.
To achieve an overall rating of Exceeding National Quality Standard, a service needs to achieve Exceeding National Quality Standard in four or more Quality areas of which two must be from Quality Area 1, Quality Area 5, Quality Area 6 or Quality Area 7. The result achieved by the Centre are as follows:
Quality Area 1: Educational program and practice.
RATING: Exceeding National Quality Standard
Quality Area 2: Children’s Health and Safety
RATING: Exceeding National Quality Standard
Quality Area 3: Physical Environment
RATING: Meeting National Quality Standards
Quality Area 4: Staffing Arrangements
RATING: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 5: Relationships with Children
RATING: Meeting National Quality Standards
Quality Area 6: Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
RATING: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 7: Leadership and Service Management
RATING: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Special mention was made commending the service on its achievements in providing quality outcomes for children in Relationships with the Service’s families, Strong relationships with the community and Effective Leadership and Management.
We are extremely delighted with our result as it reflects the passion, commitment and partnership that we have strived to achieve in our Centre.
I am sure that you would join with me in acknowledging and congratulating staff on the work they do each day to ensure that your children are provided with high quality care and education. They do a magnificent job!
A copy of the complete report is available on request through Administration in the Early Learning Centre.
Jenny Rees - ELC Director
As I walked through the yards I am amazed and delighted with the ease at which the children wave goodbye to family members and confidently engage in one of the many activities offered. The last four months have been extremely busy setting up a newly renovated building, welcoming existing families back and new families into our community and building a sense of belonging that is fundamental in a child’s world. As a community we can stand back and confidently know that this goal has been achieved and learning has begun.
‘Learning to be ….’ is the theme that the College has embraced for 2015. We are all learning to be the best that we can be in all that we do here in the Centre.
Opportunities for learning occur throughout the Early Learning Centre every minute of every day. These experiences widen the children’s knowledge, strengthen their life experiences, provide a foundation for imagination and foster a love for inquiry and exploration.
Over the term we have celebrated the richness of our parent community as many parents have come in for Show and Tell, sharing their cultural backgrounds, family traditions, new arrivals and special interests. The excitement and delight that overflows from each child when mum or dad come into the room ready to be the center of everyone’s attention, brings tears to your eyes. The knowledge that is shared is unique and something many children really respond to.
Here at Coomera Anglican College Early Learning Centre we are also very fortunate to have a resource close by to extend our platform of learning. The College campus provides us with a learning environment rich in experiences waiting to be explored. Significant College events such as the Festival of Gifts provide platforms for learning about the importance of community extending the children’s experiences beyond their home and the Centre both of which are very familiar to them.
In the last week of term one the children in Preprep celebrated with the whole College our values culture ‘ILR - Imagine, Listen and Respect’ at the Festival of Gifts opening ceremony. In awe and wonder the children watched, listened and responded to all the excitement. Over the Easter break all of the children toured the primary campus to visit the wonderful sculptures that had been created by the students as part of these festivities.
During the holidays and into this week we have supported the children with information and conversation around the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC. This significant event is a stark reminder of the fragility of peace and the need to do all in our power to protect the freedom that we often take for granted. We have chosen to celebrate ANZAC Day with the message that we remember those brave soldiers who went courageously to war to help us and celebrate those who came home to share their stories with us. Each child has created their own poppy with a photo of themselves inside, which has formed a wreath displayed in the Centre. We asked families to provide us with personal recounts of family members who have gone to war in the past as well as the present. This personalizes a concept that is often beyond young children’s understanding.
Last Friday we joined with the Prep and Year One to mark this special occasion with a short memorial service up in the Primary campus. Students also joined the ANZAC Day Service at Upper Coomera on Saturday 25 April marching from the School of Arts, and concluding with a service at the War Memorial. It was wonderful to see many parents, friends and students represented there again this year.
Happy New Year!
While all our families are enjoying a nice long break and Dare to Imagine what 2015 will bring, there has been a hive of activity around the College in preparation for the commencement of Term 1. The long break is a time when everything is thoroughly cleaned, all painting is done, programmed maintenance undertaken, and major works and upgrades are completed. It is also a time when computer and audio visual hardware is upgraded and new technology is rolled out in readiness for the start of the year.
Early Learning Centre
The Centre has been cleared, new flooring has been laid and all the walls have been painted. Everything on the inside is looking new and very conducive to a very happy learning environment. New technology will soon be added to aid in the delivery of our quality programmes. The internal refurbishment is being complemented with an external facelift which includes new playground equipment and shade structures. Even in the construction phase it is all looking amazing and we know that the students (and parents) will love it.
The GPLA Building which includes Year 9, Robotics, Continuous Learning and the College Counsellor has been gutted. These rooms have been reconfigured, and work continues on lowering the ceilings, enhancing the acoustics and replacing the flooring. Once completed new technology will be added along with new furniture. The robotics room will undergo the biggest transformation with the development of an innovative flexible learning space to further enhance and support our academic offering.
Our three older Preparatory rooms have undergone a minor refurbishment with the whole block having all the flooring replaced. This flooring does get a thorough workout over time given the age of the students and all the activities that they do. The change in colour complements the existing décor and the rooms look fantastic. Our new Preparatory students should love their new surroundings.
The Uniform Shop has undergone a refit with the front of the shop enclosed and air-conditioned, which includes the construction of a mezzanine level for additional storage. This should make a visit to the Uniform Shop more pleasant for our families in the hotter months.
Shade Structures and Seating – PAFA
PAFA fundraising efforts for 2014 were targeted towards shade and seating. A considerable amount of work has happened over the break to utilise the funds raised in the areas most needed. Shade posts are in over the timber playground waiting for the shade sail to be installed, and the shade sail has been removed from the adjoining play area to be replaced. Seating has gone in at the front of the library and throughout the Secondary Campus. This work will be completed for the start of term.
The holidays will see the installation of air-conditioning in the Secondary Art rooms which was delayed from 2014 works. Some cooling is also being added to the stage and backstage areas of the Ivan Gibbs Centre.
All of the work has been a major logistical exercise in a very compressed timeframe with Christmas and New Year thrown in. A huge thank you to all our staff and in particular Rob Lambeth our Facilities Manager for making this happen, and our IT staff for all the work required with maintaining and improving our technology. Thank you to all our suppliers for your quality work under immense time pressure. It is very much appreciated.
We look forward to welcoming everyone back for the start of the New Year, starting with the Early Learning Centre and Vacation Care on 12 January.
|Mark Sly||David Dobbie|
2015. “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”
Coomera Anglican College Early Learning Centre is an integral part of the whole College and provides a pathway for many parents with entry to Prep offered to children attending the Centre.
In 2015 we will be offering three Kindergarten programmes through the Early Learning Centre. Each of these programmes will be taught by a four year trained teacher supported by a qualified lead educator or educator. Our programmes have been carefully designed to support children transitioning through to school, especially those continuing their learning through the College. The teachers incorporate the Queensland Kindergarten Curriculum into their programme and work closely with the Prep teachers ensuring that the children are ready to embrace the challenges of going to school.
For the first time in a very long time, with the introduction of a third Preprep room, we are able to offer more families an opportunity to be a part of the Early Learning Centre and College community.
We still have a few spaces available to families in these rooms so please contact the Centre if you are interested.
The Centre in 2015 will provide care for 80 children per day from 2 years to school age. The care offered in 2015 is as follows:
- Kindy: 2 years – 3 years: 10 children – 2 educators
- Senior Kindy: 3 years – 4 years: 10 children – 2 educators
- Preprep A: 3.5 years – 5 years: 16 children – 1 teacher, 1 educator
- Preprep B: 3.5 years – 5 years: 22 children – 1 teacher, 1 educator
- Preprep C: 3.5 years – 5 years: 22 children – 1 teacher, 1 educator
For those families who have placed children on our Waitlist for the Toddler Room please be assured that you will remain on our list.
2015 will also see Coomera Anglican College Early Learning Centre create a new engaging learning environment both indoors and outdoors that will promote competency and independent learning for the children.
Internally the Centre will undergo a complete transformation with all floor covering being replaced, walls painted with a soft grey and new felt covered feature walls taking the place of what we currently have. Timber architraves will feature at the base of walls adding a contrast.
Technology will also feature with the inclusion of an interactive screen in the Senior Kindy Room and an additional 10 ipads to be used throughout the entire Centre.
Outside in the yard the fence that currently divides the Kindy/ Senior Kindy yard from the Preprep yard will be removed extending the children’s play area right through to our current Toddler area.
We are very excited to announce that a new permanent playground structure will be installed outside the Senior Kindy room. This piece of equipment will allow all children within the Centre an opportunity to explore, master and challenge a variety of gross motor skills within a creative environment. New swings will replace our existing ones with new shade sails covering the swings as this is one of the children’s favourite activities.
We are all very excited and can’t wait to see what our Centre will look like!
The Centre will close for business on Friday 19 December 2014 and reopen on Monday 12 January 2015.
Jenny Rees - Director Early Learning Centre
Prep Orientation to the ‘Big School’ took place this week. What a fabulous day for all the children in Preprep at the Early Learning Centre. The children with great excitement confidently walked up to the Prep classrooms eager to get a taste of what they had worked towards all year. They all settled very quickly participating in group activities and listening to their new teachers. The children had an extended stay starting their day at 8.30, having morning tea at 10am and returning for lunch at 12.00. During their special visit the children participated in a sport, music, Chinese, phonics and a math’s lesson.
One of the children said as he sat down at the table; “I’m a big Prep boy now so I need to write!” He took a piece of paper from the middle of the desk, drew a picture and then wrote three lines of a story that he then read back. Whilst the words may not have contained the correct spelling or grammatical structure the self-belief that this child displayed echoes his confidence and desire for learning. What a fantastic opportunity they had to experience all the wonders of ‘Big school’!
Transitioning from our world to the great big world of school can be daunting for the child but even more so for the parent who is waving good bye to their baby and welcoming back their grown up child. As adults we need to remember that children will instinctively pick up the emotions shown by their parents. It is our responsibility to ensure that the vibes we give out are positive and exciting and therefore ensuring that your child will be filled with confidence for the beginning of Prep in 2015.
It is important to remember that the College has not determined which class group or teacher your child will have in Prep 2015. Be aware that many factors are taken into consideration when children are placed into groups. The right teacher and the right learning environment for the needs of each individual child are a priority. Often we as adults get concerned with the need for friendships to be maintained when children transition from one environment to another; however children have the ability to engage in new relationships and develop new friends provided they feel secure and a sense of belonging.
I am extremely proud of the way the children responded to their new environments and saw evidence of the hard work put in by the staff in the Early Learning Centre. Congratulations to the children, families and staff of the Early Learning Centre. We are all looking forward to the Crossing of the Little Bridge Ceremony on Wednesday 3 December 2014.
Yesterday the children from The Early Learning Centre presented their beautiful butterfly artworks and sang The Butterfly Song!
The Prep and Year 1 students as well as the many visiting parents were delighted by their smiling faces and beautiful singing voices.
Thank you Pre Prep students for sharing your morning with us.
Thank you also to Chaplain Mary-Ann who delivered our Worship message of Celebrating God's Kingdom of Love.
Over the past three weeks life in the Early Learning Centre has been very busy with lots of wonderful learning opportunities and activities taking place.
We have celebrated Book Week combined with Grandparents Day and Fathers’ Day inviting and welcoming lots of special visitors to spend time in our world.
Despite the damp conditions on Grandparents’ Day nothing stopped the excitement and exuberance of all the children, families and staff. The children could be heard throughout the Centre squealing with delight as they greeted one another guessing who or what they were dressed up as. We even had an entire family of bears visit us from Goldilocks and the Three Bears! Congratulations to everyone on their creative costume designs. The children really enjoyed sharing quality time with their grandparents engaging in lots of wonderful activities.
Fathers’ Day last Wednesday provided a platform for many hard working dads time to come and kick a ball, construct buildings and dabble in some paint before heading back to work. Days like these are the memories we cherish as we grow older as they go past so quickly and we can’t catch them back up again. Thank you to all the Dads that successfully escaped work for a couple of hours. We had lots of fun and hope that you did too.
Thank you also to the wonderful ladies from PAFA who tirelessly organised and provided a lovely variety of special gifts for the children in the Centre to buy their dads for Fathers’ Day.
Our third set of visitors to the Centre was five year nine students who completed three days of community service. This experience enhanced the important relationship between the College and the Early Learning Centre in so many ways. The children from the Centre sharing their world with older students while the year nine students took a step back into their childhood as they read books, painted, played with play dough, built sandcastles and danced with their new friends.
Worm! Worms! Worms! Last Monday the Centre was as a sea of worms kindly provided by our visiting worm lady. The children had the opportunity to investigate, explore and experience worms, their habitat, what they like to eat and where you can find them. Each child created their very own worm habitat and then carefully selected 20 special worms to live in their new homes. At the end of the day they took their worm farms home to share with families or to put in their garden.
Spring has sprung and the children with the assistance of Grandparents and educators have planted lots of seedlings out in all the play areas. Each day they are watched, watered and given the highest amount of quality care that any plant could wish for. We were very fortunate to have many of the visiting worms take permanent residence in our gardens and pots. Ensuring that we care and have respect for our environment is a lifelong skill that is flourishing here in the Early Learning Centre.
The expanding world of digital technologies means that iPads and other tablet and smart technologies are part of young children's everyday worlds and their early learning settings. In our early childhood classrooms they provide rich, individualised learning that support curriculum outcomes. The Early Years Learning Framework indicates the importance of using digital technologies to support young children's learning, as does the Australian Curriculum.
Prensky (2001) believed 'digital natives' are those born into the digital age who grasp digital technologies with ease, whereas those born earlier are 'digital immigrants', need to learn to use technologies but will never be totally fluent in their use. These days our children are much more tech-savvy making them 'digital natives' while many adults are considered 'digital immigrants' however adults are more aware of the content contained within the supporting media.
Over the past two years we have introduced 20 iPads, interactive whiteboads and an interactive smart board into the Centre for the children to engage with. Over this time we have witnessed eleven key activities that have emerged through their use: social interactions; exploring the technology itself; capturing an event or a moment in time; imaginative play; fine motor skills; literacy; numeracy; creative expression; investigation; creative expression and discovery of a world beyond their immediate community.
The most common activity the children engaged in was 'social interactions'. These included cooperating together to use the device, recording each other with the device and using the camera to capture what they had created. Even though the iPad is a solitary device, the children rarely use it by themselves. Often groups of children watch and encourage the users as they have their turn.
Children wanted to be shown how to use the devices, especially the camera – how to start and stop recording and how to zoom. In the beginning it was the educators who showed the children how to use the devices but as time has moved on the children have become mentors helping their friends.
The children are quick to grab a device and capture a special moment or event record it and then share it with their friends. Captured special moments included a hermit crab coming out of its shell and crawling across the sand to reposition itself or a building construction that needs to be packed away before mum or dad can see it.
Many of the world's budding photographer will come from these 'digital natives' as they capture themselves, photo enhance, set as a backdrop or redesign images. 'Selfies' are all the rage and here in the ELC we have used this craze to capture each child and use these images for the children to replicate using charcoal.
The children explore and investigate the world outside of their community through the internet on the iPads or interactive whiteboards bringing significant buildings from Big Ben in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Sydney Opera House into the construction area or creative areas.
Today's children have no hesitation in using iPads. They approach them in the same way as any other piece of equipment. While digital technologies can enrich the learning and play environments for children just like building blocks or play dough the importance of their use and effectiveness depends on context: the who, what and why and this is what our Educators provide.
Over the past week I have had the privilege of watching and listening to the children in the Early Learning Centre file through my office to patiently wait their turn to select the appropriate Mother’s Day gift for their mums, grandmas and nanas.
Each child has very thoughtfully inspected and identified which gift they think their mum would like.
“My mum likes chocolate!” One child declares choosing the gift with a large chocolate attached. “So do I!”
“My Nan can’t have chocolate but I think she would like this cause it smells nice.” Says another child; selecting a beautiful array of hand and body lotions.
“I need one for my mum, my Nan and my great Nan but not my dad. He’s not a girl. My sister is a girl but she can’t get one cause she is not a mum.” Explained one little boy to others who were waiting while he selected carefully the gifts for each person.
Leaving the room with their parcel in hand and a smile as wide as the Nile, is such a delight. To the adult a small task but in the eyes of a child one that is very responsible and important.
For good or for bad we have introduced the children to ‘shopping’ thanks to the wonderful ladies from PAFA. The gifts that we have offered to the children have been fabulous.
For those children who may not have shopped in every room staff are working with the children to support them to create a special thing for their mum, grandma, aunty or nana.
Our Mothers’ Day morning tea this morning has been a fantastic success with lots of mums have the opportunity of a manicure, pedicure and custom made jewellery all provided in the one space with enormous love and affection. How glamorous everyone looked with striking red, orange and pink polish so carefully painted on nails and at times parts of the finger and toes. Once they had finished they stepped into our photo booth for a glamour photo to remind them of this very special occasion.
On reflection the pleasure that the children experienced this morning, at little cost is one that many mums will remember with great fondness for a long time. Often it is not the expensive gifts or the glamorous restaurants that we cherish and remember; but the quality time that we share that we can never relive that is the most important!
Families are the primary influence in their child’s lives. Every family is different. Children all have a diverse understanding of ‘family’ and unique relationships with those who feature prominently in their lives. Recognising the importance of extended families, kinship ties, carers and guardians in children’s lives is extremely important.
Through special events like ‘Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day’ we aim to develop the special partnerships with families that contribute to building a strong, inclusive community within the Centre and College.
An extension of this is the Centre’s involvement in the College community supporting the CAC Community Fair on the 1 June 2014. This event is expected to be enormous. I would like to encourage all the families to come along and enjoy a fun filled action packed day. Ride tickets are currently available to families through the College Website.
In the foyer we have a basket waiting to be filled with items for a new born baby for the Cent Action. If you have anything at home please drop it off to add to our basket.
The Centre will be looking after the Teddy Tombola stall on the day. Any parents who would like to assist the Centre in manning the stall at some stage on the 1 June 2014 your assistance would be gratefully received. Please let Jenny or Robyn know.
From the staff and children in the Early Learning Centre we send this special message and say Happy Mothers’ Day to all our wonderful mums!
As I walked through the yards earlier this week I notice a child quietly singing a song to themselves while hopping on one leg from one coloured stepping stone to another. At a glance this appears to be a very simple activity yet the child is learning a lot. They are gaining experiential knowledge about gravity, developing large – and small – muscle groups, honing their balance, getting to know what the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the breeze on their skin feels like, improving their memory as they search for the words to the song, working on pronunciation and diction as they sing, better their depth perception, and many other things all at once. Most of us would see a child hopping and singing; they should see a scientist at work rediscovering the world.
Opportunities for learning occur throughout the Early Learning Centre every minute of every day. These experiences widen the children’s knowledge, strengthen their life experiences, provide a foundation for imagination and foster a love for inquiry and exploration.
Here at Coomera Anglican College Early Learning Centre we are very fortunate to have a resource close by to extend our platform of learning. The College campus provides us with a learning environment rich in experiences waiting to be explored. Significant College events such as the Festival of Gifts, ANZAC Day and special parent days provide platforms for learning about the importance of community extending the children’s experiences beyond their home and the Centre both of which are very familiar to them.
At the end of the College Term One the children in Preprep celebrated with the whole College our values culture ‘iLR - Imagine, Listen and Respect’ at the Festival of Gifts opening ceremony. In awe and wonder the children watched, listened and responded to all the excitement.
This term we commenced the first week with a visit to the College ANZAC Memorial laying our own wreath in recognition of the men who so gallantly fought to keep us safe and for those who continue to do so.
ANZAC Day even for our youngest child holds a special reverence.
On the 8 May 2014 we are looking forward to welcoming all our mums, grandmas and nanas to the Centre for a beautiful ‘Thank you’ morning tea and to be spoilt with love and attention during activities that will be offered in the Centre.
Please put this date into your calendar as one not to be missed.
Dad’s if you haven’t placed an order for your child to purchase a special gift from the PAFA Mothers’ Day Stall we are taking last minute orders up until Wednesday 30 April. This is a very exciting experience for all the children to select something very special just for mum.
A reminder about parking: We have only limited car parking spaces within the area. Those families who have older siblings in the College are asked to use the College drop off / pick up zones either before or after dropping your other child to the Centre. Parking and walking up to the Primary campus results in many other parents who do not have children in the College becoming frustrated at the lack of sufficient parking spaces.
Finally a reminder about the College Fair that is being held on Sunday 1 June 2014; we are looking for teddies. The Early Learning Centre is running a Teddy Tombola stall so we need your assistance. Please donate one teddy.
If anyone is available to assist us with the organisation of this stall please see Jenny, Maire or Robyn.
We have had the wonderful opportunity of welcoming the College Adopt-a-Cop; Constable Jodie and her partner Constable Bruce into the Centre to speak to the children on their role within the community.
They spoke about safety on the road, in the community and at home. The children learnt that it is always very important to wear seat belts and to be in a car seat to stay safe when mum and dad are driving; that crossing at a crossing is the safest way to cross the road and that if you are lost then look for a policeman or lady and they will always help you. The children had the opportunity to look closely at the uniforms worn by the police and to sit in the police car.
Real life learning opportunities support the children to learn that the Police are always here to help us. To follow on from the visit by Constable Jodie and Constable Bruce we have focussed on each child’s personal safety.
Child Protection has been a topic that is foremost in the minds of the whole community as we have watched and listened to the Daniel Morcombe trail take place in Brisbane with the final verdict issued on last Friday morning.
Throughout this week all the children have been focusing on the importance of child safety. We have been covering topics such as:
• I am special so are you! – everyone is special, unique and one of a kind.
• Safety is my right all day and all night – we need to feel safe everywhere and at all times and so does everyone around us
• My body belongs to me – I can choose what I do with my body and who touches me and that I can say NO. I need to respect that others can do this as well.
• I can get help – I have a safety network of five adults who I trust to be available to me, listen to me, believe me and will help me.
While these focus topics are covered regularly throughout the year this week has been a perfect opportunity to once again remind the children of these important messages.
Today we asked all the children who attend our Centre to wear RED in recognition of the efforts made by Daniel’s parents in making Child Protection a real focus in the community. We were not looking to raise money but to raise awareness with the children and also within our own Centre community.
It is very important that families continue these discussions at home so that the children know that it is okay to talk about feelings and what is safe behaviour and what is not.
Information is available to parents about child safety from the following websites:
Children’s Safety Australia Inc: www.childsafety.org.au
Daniel Morcombe Foundation: http://www.danielmorcombe.com.au
Brave Hearts: http://www.bravehearts.org.au
The Early Learning Centre has been a hive of activity, filled with warmth and laughter and finally a sense of belonging seeps from all areas. Children, families and staff are settled!
Each room presents with an aura of calmness and sense of purpose as the children eagerly investigate and explore their environment. Staff, children and families have shared important information with one another building relationships and creating a sense of belonging. Family photographs decorate feature walls in each room and conversation is centered on the very important ‘All About Me’ bags with precious items brought to Kindy to share with friends during ‘Show and Tell’.
Last week we welcomed favourite family pets into the Preprep rooms as an extension on the topic of ‘Family’. Suddenly in the foyer we have guinea pigs, a cat, lizard, green frog, chicken and lots of different types of fish all waiting eagerly to visit the rooms. We have even had a visit from a miniature pony. It is not very often that a pony comes to Coomera Anglican College ELC so all the children in the Centre had the opportunity of this experience. I am really pleased to say that all our animal visitors left the Centre happily and safely.
Thank you to all those parents who gave up time to bring and stay with our pets until it was time to go home. We really enjoy and value the opportunities we have to share what we are doing with the families and to use all your wonderful experiences to enhance our programme.
A special thanks goes to Ben from Preprep B’s dad, Dr Mike who organised a very special interactive information session on the role of a Vet in our community. Ben’s dad introduced us to Sarah, a nurse and Kirra a very special dog who goes into all the children’s hospitals to see the sick children. Kirra was beautiful and very well trained to just sit. It is great to get opportunities like this to teach our young people about the importance of asking to pat animals and how to do this safely when they go into a park.
Parent participation in our programmes is very important and we would love to encourage all families to take an active role within the Centre. Please let us know if you would like to visit to share your experiences or expertise with the children.
ELC Stepping Stones to Learning, our online documentation programme allows us to share with families, all the learning that takes place while the children are in the Centre. I would encourage all families to check this regularly as information is uploaded each day.
I would also like to remind all families to ensure that they sign their child into and out of the Centre each day. This is a legal document which if not completed properly can affect your CCB or CCR payments from the government.
The traffic and parking around the College including the Early Learning Centre is very heavy and often an issue of frustration for all stakeholders. In all the rooms within the Centre we have on display a petition asking for the M1 and roads surrounding the College to be upgraded in an attempt to address the traffic congestion. I would encourage all families to read this information and to sign the petition. If you have children in primary and in the Early Learning Centre please make sure that you drop your child into the Centre and then drive around through Primary to drop older children off to allow other families to safely park in the Centre carpark. Parking in the Centre and walking siblings to school exacerbates this frustration when families can’t find a park.
Finally we have been practising with the children our different types of emergency drills over the last couple of days. We have had a lockdown and a fire drill. These procedures are very important to ensure the safety of all the children in the Centre. Much work is done prior to these drills to ensure that the children are aware that they are not in any imminent danger and for them to become aware of the different sounds we use to announce the drill.
In the event of a fire the children in the Early Learning Centre will evacuate to under the gum trees in the area at the very back of the small playground. If we need to lock the Centre down all the children are safely placed in the hallway areas away from any windows or doors.
The children have adapted to each of these different scenarios very confidently and capably. If your child talks to you at home about what is happening in the Centre you might like to nominate a meeting area at the front of your home in the case of a fire.
PAFA Trivia Night is on Friday 7 March 2014 from 6.00pm. If you are interested in coming along it is lots of fun and a great chance to meet other families in the College. Please see Robyn or Jenny for more information.