What you need to know

Navigating the new normal

We Connect - Family and Children blog

The past week has seen some of our early learning and kindergarten children and families returning to face-to-face attendance. The educators have been anticipating your arrival back into their programs. Processes may have changed a little but we are determined to offer our services in the most COVID-safe way, so we really appreciate your willingness to join with us as we navigate the new normal.

Social and emotional wellbeing: Friendship

This year the theme for Children’s Week 2020 (24 Oct -1 Nov) celebrates the right of all children to choose their own friends and safely connect with others. This is based on Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Over the coming month’s our early years programs will be exploring friendship, through children’s social and emotional skills and development. Responding appropriately to children’s social and emotional needs helps educators to understand what the child needs and how they can assist them to develop strong wellbeing, based on the responsiveness they offer.

From a very early age, children learn how to communicate their needs and wants through their emotional response to what is happening around them. Having access to adults and other children who respond appropriately to these needs creates opportunities for young children to trust that their needs will be met and understood. This trust builds social and emotional skills that allow children to work with others in ways that support their learning and ability to develop friendships and social connections. Making sure the environment is as calm as it can be, there are enough materials for play, having engaged adults nearby to facilitate play attempts, all help in creating socially and emotionally safe spaces.

Teaching and demonstrating kindness and openness to someone’s attempts to join in or enter into play may be useful for children to be able to see and hear what these attempts look like. Some children may need a clear demonstration of skills of how to join the play of others, the type of words to use, the behaviours that are more accepted by others, as well as how to contribute ideas. Stories and opportunities for pretend play can help with this.

For many children, these skills may not come easily or naturally. All children need time and opportunities to build ways to connect with others. Working alongside educators who they have strong relationships with will support the practicing of new skills and the resilience of trying and persevering when, at first, they may not be successful.

Our children’s services (kindergarten and early learning) seek to strengthen and support the mental health of the communities who access our services. Providing environments and programs that give children and families a sense of welcome and belonging will help strengthen children’s ability to develop trust and resilience, now and in the future. Building children’s capacity to experience and regulate their emotional wellbeing will help children develop skills to form connections and establish relationships with peers and educators, grounded in a sense of belonging.

The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework guides us in creating programs that enhance the opportunities to reach the Outcome of Children have a strong sense of Wellbeing.

BE YOU

Be You, is a digital program designed to create mentally healthy communities. It is a combination of Head Space, Beyond Blue and Kids Matter. Families can join and participate in learning that strengthens the wellbeing of individuals, families, work teams and children. Some of the early years educators are using Be You to understand what well-being looks like and how they can further strengthen this through their programs.

Ways you can enhance your child’s understanding at home; talk to your child about:

  • What does it mean to have a friend?
  • What does it mean to be a friend?
  • What do you want/need from a friend?
  • Where is your favourite place to play?
  • What makes it a safe place?
  • Tell me some of the ways you can join in with other children?
  • Have you thought of these ways? (you could brainstorm some ideas with your child)
  • What if you know someone has no one to play with, is this Ok? What could you do if you saw this
    • Ask them to play
    • Sometimes children choose to play on their own.
    • You could play alongside them
    • If you are feeling worried about another child, you could ask a teacher to help
    • Offer to play something that they choose

Keep in touch with your educators. Share information that you have discovered, pictures that have been drawn, conversations that have been had. In turn, educators may give you information back about your child’s learning and participation within the program.

Milleara Integrated Learning and Development Centre

Science Experiments

In last week’s blog, we had some experiments using flowers, celery and food colouring to demonstrate the process of absorption. This week, MILD Children’s Centre would like to share a similar experience you can download here to try at home. It has the same absorption process but this time creating a Walking Rainbow.

Here is another experiment you can watch and perhaps have a go at trying at home, it is about how a rainbow is formed.

Dr.Binocs Show Learn videos for kids

Avondale Heights Early Years Centre

Looking for some bingo style games to play with the whole family? Use these game templates to bring the family together and support the learning of the pre-literacy and numeracy skills of your children. Children develop number and letter awareness through the jumbled nature of the games. They may be used to rote counting in order and know which number/letter comes next. However, when the order is jumbled up in these types of games, children need to develop shape recognition of the number/letter in order to match their card.

Libraries

You may have noticed something different about the libraries online storytime. During the school holidays, some of the copyright agreements between public libraries and book publishers expired. That meant that they had to remove some of their children’s programs from Facebook. It’s also meant that their regular programs have had to move to a new home. You’ll need to check the MV libraries Facebook page for a unique link for each video and head to YouTube to continue watching our children’s programs. We’ll see you over there!

Some great libraries videos to watch this week are:

Baby Rhyme Time: Carolyn & Monkey Read Maisy’s Bus by Lucy Cousins

Toddler time: Steph sings and dances & reads the story The Little Green Donkey

If you are looking for other resources to explore during this time, don’t forget to visit our Resources to Support children’s wellbeing and learning from home page.

Stay well, stay safe,

MV Early Years Team