Working with smaller schools for term 4 has been a real pleasure, both Ravensbourne and Pine Hill have total roles of about 30 students. Working with smaller groups has been really successful with more time for one on one with the children, it’s lovely to see them build stronger bonds with each other and the facilitators throughout the course of the programme. The feedback received from both schools has also been really positive, especially because the programme provides opportunity for the children to do things that they would not normally be able to.
To end the programme we had our usual whānau shared kai and sharing of experiments and learnings. Unfortunately the turn out from whānau this term was not fantastic, with parents at work or prior commitments. A great time was had nonetheless and the children enjoyed the celebration, and worked really well together to present their science experiments to the families present
Kiwi room: We have started 2018 with a rapidly increasing roll in the Kiwi Room, and a heat wave – two great issues to contend with. The increased roll, currently with up to 17 under twos, has meant we have been busy settling new children into the environment: learning about them, their interests and care routines, and getting to know their whānau. Some of the children have settled quickly and easily, and are comfortable moving to explore the indoor and outdoor environments. Some children require 1:1 contact to support their sense of security and belonging, and this requires planning for placement and roles of staff. However, the increase in child numbers also means we have 3 teachers regularly in the Kiwi Room, and sometimes 4, and with the extra staff we are able manage very well.
With the heat we are very conscious of the well-being of the children in our care. We are careful to sunscreen thoroughly, encourage the children to wear their sunhats – an ongoing goal for the infants and young toddlers. We avoid being outside during the middle of the day, and we ensure children are offered water, and are drinking. All our children are in nappies, and we closely monitor nappy changes, so we are able to note if a child may need to drink more water. And we are enjoying lots of water play outdoors to keep cool!
Kotuku/Tui Room: Preschool is extremely busy with lots of new enrolments. Even though we have farewells over 5 children to school out numbers continue to grow. In the kotuku group this has seen several children who have turned 3½ remain in the tui room for longer periods of time to allow for a more even distribution of children and to accommodate changing group dynamics.
Our increasing number of children with diverse or high needs has added challenges to the teaching and learning where 1:1 support has been implemented to aid in their transition and to engage them in learning. Close relationships with outside support agencies has allowed us to gain advice and extra guidance to support us through this time.
The Tui room remains steady and busy with new enrolments and children moving from the kiwi room increasing their numbers of two year olds who require social coaching and modelling as they experiment and develop their social competencies.