Home   Uncategorized   August Newsletter- Classroom Update, Nutrition, School Readiness, Preschool Screening.

August Newsletter- Classroom Update, Nutrition, School Readiness, Preschool Screening.

August Newsletter:

 

Classroom News:

 

Monday and Wednesday children have been thinking about music, and experimenting with how music looks on paper. We introduced this a few months ago, looking at high and low notes, and how these are written onto the ‘staff’ or ‘music paper’, and reintroduced this recently, after children made some percussion instruments with chook food, and cylinders. This time our marks were pictures of how the sounds ‘looked’. We carefully selected a couple of very different sounding instruments, and listened to the sound, before representing that sound with a mark- maracas were represented by a squiggly red line, cymbals by two big circles, a drum with lots of little dots. This experiences shows us that children can think carefully, and abstractly about the world around them.

 

We have also begun to explore a couple of interesting ideas on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Firstly, we have been thinking and talking about Courage, and Bravery. From the beginning of the year, children have talked about superheroes, and favourite characters in games such as Super Mario Brothers. We want to find out what being brave means to children, and if bravery can be more than physical acts such as rescue and capture. Children have shared information about seeing brave acts on TV, alerting family to a snake in the backyard, falling over and not crying, jumping high on the trampoline, killing a snake, sleeping with the light off, going to the toilet in the middle of the night. These responses encourage us to consider how we can frame conversations with children, and explore issues of safety, such as unsafe risky play. Some questions that we have been considering: Do you feel scared when acting in a brave or courageous way?

 

Is bravery subjective?

 

When do we tell children they have acted in a brave way?

 

We are also continuing to investigate how shapes are used in modern art, and provide space and opportunity for children to be creative with shape, colour and pattern in artistic design inspired initially by . Thank you also to all those who have added to our colour card collection.

 

Tree Day:

 

Opportunities to be outside, enjoying the natural wonders in our community should be celebrated and it was wonderful to see so many families make the trip up North Brother Mountain to celebrate National Tree Day together! Sadly, Uncle Bill’s eldest Son is very unwell in Sydney, and he was unable to join us as planned, however, the morning was a great way to celebrate our developing connections with the natural environment, and recognize the significance of the Mountain in our locality. Thank you to Margaret and Sooz who organised the event, and led the festivities up the top, and well done to all the Tree Treat Chefs for providing a delicious, healthy and creative menu it was taste sensation!

 

Nutrition at Kendall Preschool:

 

Another reminder that the Early Years are critical in building positive attitudes about healthy eating with young children. Mealtimes are an important cultural and social event, and we enjoy the opportunity to recognize the healthy and creative foods that families prepare for children. Some ways to help you think about your food choices and provide healthier food  for children include:

 

Home-made biscuits instead of pre-packaged foods

 

Multi-grain bread instead of white bread

 

Water instead of cordial or fruit juicePack pieces of fruit instead of processed fruit sticks

 

Mixed nuts and dried fruit instead of processed muesli bars (or the home made muesli bars below!)

 

Carrot and celery sticks with homemade hommus, salsa, or guacamole

 

Reading food labels:

 

Be aware of the sneaky marketing campaigns by food producers who try to trick children and parents into making seemingly healthy food choices. Some foods labels ‘low fat’ may be indeed low fat products with very high sugar levels, with some pre-packaged children’s snacks over 30% sugar, with a low fat label.

 

To help with understanding food labels, we have attached a brochure which can be printed and will fit in wallets and bags, with simple information about making sense of food labels. Homemade Muesli Bar Recipe:

 

Great lunch box snack

 

Ingredients

 

60 g apricots (dried, chopped)

 

2 egg (whites)

 

1⁄3 Cup honey

 

1 Cup Orange (juice)

 

2 Cup rolled oats

 

1⁄2 Cup sultanas

 

6 Weetbix (crushed)

 

Instructions

 

1. Combine oats, weetbix, sultanas and apricots in a bowl.

 

2. Place honey and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce and simmer for 8-10 mins or until syrup is formed.

 

3. Stir syrup into oats mixture then mix in egg whites.

 

4. Press mixture into 18 x 28 cm lined baking tray.

 

5. Bake in moderate oven for 20-25 mins or until golden brown.

 

6. Allow to cool then cut into bars.

 

If you have a simple, fail-safe recipe to share, please email it to preschool so we can include it in future newsletters.

 

Advice for parents:

 

Louise Porter is the author of ‘Children are People Too’, a sensible, and thoughtful approach to guiding children’s behavior. We have two copies of the book, available for families to borrow. Louise also has a very informative website with lots of responses to typical parenting challenges such as: disputes between siblings, dealing with homework, shyness, sleeping problems, smacking, toileting, and of course, guiding children’s behavior. The following address will take you to her FAQ page:

 

http://www.louiseporter.com.au/your_questions.html

 

School Readiness:

 

It is that time of year again to begin thinking about school in 2012. We encourage all families with concerns and questions to make a time to sit down and speak with Andrew about school readiness and your child. We have some information sheets available for families, from a well recognized school readiness expert and child psychologist, Kathy Walker. Please take any that you are interested in, and provide us with a little feedback! From our perspective, our thoughts regarding school readiness echo those of Kathy Walker and Louise Porter in the available articles. We believe all children transitioning to school should be applying themselves to everyday tasks with confidence, and be engaged in sustained conversations with adults and those around them. When children find something that interests them, having opportunities to play and experiment for long periods of time builds the thinking skills that will be useful in schools.

 

We see print and literacy as an opportunity to enjoy sharing stories, finding information, or having fun. Literacy practices in the home that are fun, useful and relevant, help children to see literacy as a useful tool for navigating through the world. Conversations at home that provide children with opportunities to talk about emotions, to identify how people are feeling, and support with building empathic attitudes are important.

 

Social and emotional maturity are both often underestimated areas of development when we consider preparation and readiness for formal education. The school environment can often be heavily focused around academic performance, and this can impact significantly on children who are developing confidence in the social world, and this is mirrored with emotional development too. We have Kendall Public School Enrolment Packs available for families considering enrolling there next year. Please see Helen to get your pack if you’d like one.

 

Cooking at Kendall Preschool:

 

Our recipe book is growing, with the addition of Spinach and Cheese Pie, which children cooked on Monday. We used spinach from our veggie gardens, leeks from the Smith family garden, and 5 fresh Kendall Preschool Chook eggs. The recipe is attached to this month’s newsletter.

 

Kendall Preschool Hours and day choice:

 

Very soon we will be seeking responses from families about how our service meets the needs of our community.

 

At a recent committee meeting, a discussion about our hours of operation, and days that were available to families took place. We will NEED your feedback so we can continue to provide accessible education for children and families.

 

Surveys will be available for families in the next 2 weeks.

 

Andrew’s Absence:

 

An early reminder that Andrew will be away for the from the 7th October, until the 14th November, as he commences his final work placement in Victoria. We are currently working on staff arrangements to fill his absence during this time (shouldn’t be too hard!!). Becoming independent:

 

Some helpful tips to prepare your child for preschoolRemember to reinforce road safety rules as you come into preschool. We see lots of children running out into the car-park, and are concerned about car-park safety.

 

Help your child see themselves as a growing into a responsible, independent person, by letting them walk into preschool, and carry (some of) their belongings. Help your child unpack their bags, putting all labeled containers in the right spot- remember morning teas go in the crisper, afternoon fruit into the basket and lunch boxes into the main area of the fridge!

 

Find out what happened during the day by reading the daily journal on the computer, and use this as an opportunity to instigate conversations with your child.

Helping out around the preschool:

This Winter has been a tough winter on the veggie garden, with lots of weeds taking over the usual space of delicious, healthy veggies! Help weeding and preparing the veggie garden for September planting would be much appreciated!

 

We are also seeking some donations of seeds and seedlings. In particular, we want to plant:

 

Basil

 

Beetroot

 

Broccoli

 

Capsicums

 

Chilies

 

Chives

 

Climbing Beans

 

Eggplant

 

Loofa or plant sponge (may be hard to get!)

 

Pumpkin

 

Silver beets/Swiss Chard (rainbow)Snow peas

 

Corn

 

Zucchini

 

A donation of mature horse manure would be a great way to kick-start the veggies before spring really sets in!

 

The Meeting Place:

 

The meeting place is a weekly community celebration of food, prepared and cooked by volunteers, who raise money to keep home cooked meals alive and well, and to raise money for a school in Burma, led by the energetic Tin HtaNu. Tin has asked us to alert families to the need for volunteers, once a week, on Thursday, to help with the Meeting Place, by cooking, preparing foods, or helping with orders. This would be a great opportunity for someone with a little time on their hands to get into the community, meet some friendly people, and be involved in a terrific community scheme. Cooking classes would be provided by Tin (who is an excellent cook)! For more information, please contact Tin at her email address:

 

Tin HtaNu: tinhtanu@gmail.com

 

Preschool Screening:

 

Last year we conducted a before school screening for children going to school, implemented by a vision therapist and behavioural therapist. We have decided to run the program again, on Friday the 16th September, for children enrolling in 2012. The process for screening is aimed to identify children who may require additional support with vision and information processing, attention to task, fine and gross motor muscle control. This screening is very detailed and provides the best monitoring for children as they prepare for school. The program costs $20 per child, with the preschool subsidizing half the costs. If you would like your child to participate, please complete a permission form, and bring your $10 before the event on the 16th September! If your child does not usually attend this day, but will be going to school and you would like to attend, please make arrangements with Andrew and Natasha, so that we can schedule you in! Information sheets will be available from this week, at preschool!

 

New building finished!

 

After a couple of months of hard work, our new space is finished, and we have moved in! We are really pleased with the space, with Martin and Andrew working hard to get us in on time! Well done to all those involved, from the painters, plumbers, builders, electricians, to the draftsman who helped us get the building plans ready for Council all those months ago. The new space will give us so much more flexibility, provide loads of natural light, and enjoy a more open and engaging indoor learning environment! Finally, a huge thank-you to all our children and families who have been very patient and understanding, during the build. We have met some challenges, however our supportive families have been very understanding, so thank you!

 

We will be having an official opening at preschool, to thank those involved, and to thank the Men’s Shed for their wonderful work around the preschool over the last few months too, so stay tuned!

 

Outdoor Play:

 

As we move towards more pleasant weather, we want to remind families again about our outdoor play surveys. We want to find out what families are outside, what families are enjoying, and what families used to do. We want to know what might be stopping families from spending more time outside, and what we could do about this. We have attached the survey again, and would encourage families to put the kettle on, sit outside and spend a few minutes thinking about these questions. After all, being outdoors is a big part of the Australian way of life!

 

Toy Catalogues:

 

Once again this year families have the opportunity to purchase resources from some retailers who we sometimes use. This is a good way for families to get some goodies for Christmas, whilst raising some funds for the preschool! Please return your orders (with payment) by the due date on the forms!

 

That’s all for now!

 

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