38 Teachers attend the second Talking Transition Network !

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The first Transition to School network meeting for 2017 was held today at Pymble Turramurra Preschool.  

Thank you to Melanie and her staff for hosting.

Attendance was again above expectation.

38 teachers from 2 local Public Schools and 17 Preschool’s   discussed expectations and routines in the first few weeks of students entering school and Kindergarten.

Many  asked questions and together  we shared ideas to best support students and families when starting school.

 

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One point of discussion was how teachers in schools use the Transition to School Statements they receive from preschool services in addition to personal conferences between educators and school teaching staff.  It was agreed communication is vital for successful transition for many students and families.

We then talked about how polarising our environments ( inside and outside ) are between prior to school and school.  One concern was the difference in  adult to student supervision and security of school sites.  Playgrounds are large and often students are lost at what to do.  We shared strategies we have to support students in both Pymble Public and Wahroonga Public to assist students them in the playground.

Discussion moved onto our indoor environments – One question was do we need to have a designated seat for every child in Kindergarten?  There are times we all do sit, however during literacy and numeracy group work  children are given the freedom of movement and a sense of agency inside the classroom.

Using the outside environment during lesson times in primary schools is one area Kindergarten teachers could consider more often.   Learning about Prior to school environments can assist Kindergarten teachers to re think their classrooms, particularly in Term 1, which may assist during this transition period.

Kindergarten classrooms often have less space for designated permanent block, art, play centres or space to leave construction up for periods of times.

Thank you to the entire Kindergarten team from Wahroonga Public School  and Jane from Pymble Public School for supporting me in presenting and answering questions. We aim to ensure all children and families have a happy transition and a great start to school.

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In attendance was staff from –

  • Wahroonga Public School
  • Pymble Public School
  • Pymble Turramurra Preschool
  • Balamara Preschool
  • Earth Kids Nth Turramurra
  • Wahroonga Beehive Preschool
  • St Ives Beehive Preschool
  • Turramurra Beehive Preschool
  • Only About Children,  West Pymble
  • Only About Children, Turramurra
  • Three Bears Kindergarten
  • Pinjara Preschool Pymble
  • KU South Turramurra
  • KU Fox Valley
  • KU Wahroonga
  • Little Wallabies Early Learning Centre
  • Birdhouse Hornsby
  • Christ Church St Ives Preschool
  • Explore and Develop,  Waitara

 

Topics for discussion are sort for our next meeting in Term 2. 

Suggestions can be emailed to kristine.graham@det.nsw.edu.au

 

Outdoor Education – the third teacher

I attended an ECA workshop today at KU Ourimbah on the Central Coast.  The guest speaker was well renowned  Educator at Mia Mia, Janet Robertson.

The inaugural event for the proposed Central Coast branch of Early Childhood Australia, was an informative afternoon to expand our understanding of outdoor education.   We had the opportunity to explore the award winning environment at KU Ourimbah Preschool.

I was invited to attend by the director, Rosanne Pugh.  Roseanne  has set up Forest Schools in the UK and she knows Wahroonga has a unique environment at The Bush School.   I would like to learn from her and find ways we can use the bush environment at school for the benefits of the students.

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A great deal of research has been written on the positive impacts on the children’s resilience, confidence and wellbeing.

 

Sarah Blackwell writes in her paper ‘Impacts of Long Term Forest School Programmes on Children’s Resilience, Confidence and Wellbeing’

‘Resilience in children is demonstrated in a variety of behaviours, such strong sense self efficacy and self esteem, which is characterised by positive self regard, strong belief in one’s abilities and a positive attitude. Resilient children have well developed problem solving abilities and easily resolve issues pertaining to their interpersonal relationships with their peers and adults. In addition, they demonstrate a high level of self awareness and are capable of expressing their fears and other emotions without difficulties. Children exhibit these characteristics in form of easy going temperament, good self regulation of emotions and impulses and maintaining attention. In regard to their social competence, resilient children are emotionally responsive, demonstrating empathy and care to others, have a sense of humour and they increasingly portray behaviours that makes them appeal and relate well with others. In relation to their personal goals, resilient children demonstrate a strong sense of purpose, have realistic expectations, and are self motivated and persistent.

Long term Forest School programmes enhanced resilience in children by providing self directed learning opportunities, where children participate in making their own decisions and engaging in activities which they enjoy and those within their capabilities.

The programmes encourage children to develop positive relationship with educators, peers and family members, which further enhance the child social and cognitive competence.

Long term forest programmes improved the confidence of the participating children. Children with high self confidence are characterised by willingness to take calculated risks and try new 38 things. O’Brien and Murray116 opined that self confident children demonstrate a high level of self belief that comes about when they are given the freedom and opportunities to explore and grow independently.

Self belief in children is demonstrable in their personalities, which is characterised by high levels of positive attitude, resilience, persistence, independence and self control. Moreover, confident children are curious and seek new opportunities that will utilise their abilities and are also willing to learn new skills.

Educators play a critical role in promoting children’s confidence in forest school setting. Instead of directing the learners, the educators initiate the learners’ enthusiasm, sparking children’s engagement in the process. The educators also encourage and reassure the nervous and timid learners by initiating new ideas, and providing resources that would stimulate their creativity and participation.

Wellbeing in children and human kind in general is associated with good physical and psychological health. In children attending forest school programmes, wellbeing arises from an interplay of carefully designed activities and curriculum that focuses on holistic development of the child. Research has demonstrated that playing in the outdoors is essential for physical development of the child and offers ideal physical exercises that help in reducing obesity, promoting development of a strong body and also enhancing physical agility. Interaction with green space and a wide range of fauna and flora have been found to enhance psychological and ‘A marvellous opportunity for children to learn;

A participatory evaluation of forest schools in Wales and England’, 39 mental wellbeing of children. Exposure to nature has also been found to be an effective remedy for managing ADHD. From this study, frequent and constant visits to the woodlands enable the children to become familiar with the natural setting. It was noted that during the first Forest Sessions, children normally demonstrate some degree of discomfort and uneasiness but when they become used to the natural setting, they eventually develop confidence and they blend naturally in the woods.

Development of confidence, resilience and wellbeing as the children become familiar with the natural setting could be attributed to the fact that forest schools programmes are founded on the principle of positive psychology. This implies that the curriculum is child centred, and it focuses on enhancing the learners’ strengths, interests and capabilities. Wellbeing in children promotes their resilience and confidence. Physical and psychological health is critical components that enhance coping capability and self confidence in children as well as in adults. It is therefore important for educational stakeholders to put appropriate measures and policies that promote wellbeing, to ensure that children acquire self confidence and resilience. The measures that enhance wellbeing in school include application of whole school approach and strength based approaches.’

https://getchildrenoutdoors.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/impacts-of-long-term-forest-schools-programmes-on-childrens-resilience-confidence-and-wellbeing.pdf

Photos of the outdoor environment =

Photos of the indoor environment –

Wahroonga Network Takes off!

 

Today was the inaugural meeting of the  Talking Transition Network at Wahroonga Public School.

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The Kindergarten staff of Wahroonga Public School shared their knowledge of the Best Start Assessment, its links to the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Continuum, what information parents receive and how the assessment outcomes inform our classroom programming.

This is a copy of the presentation.  Click on the image below.

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In attendance :  6 Wahroonga PS Kindergarten teachers and 20 Early Childhood Educators from 9 local prior to school settings.  These included:-

KU Wahroonga, Turramurra Beehive, Wahroonga Beehive, Pymble/Turramurra Community Preschool, All About Children Turramurra, Twinkle Tots, Pymble Pinjarra, Explore and Develop Waitara and Christchurch Preschool St Ives.

I  received emails from other centres unable to attend on this occasion and hope to see them and other centres at future meetings.  We discussed the invitation being extended to other Kindergarten staff members from local Public Education, Catholic and Independent schools.

Everyone agreed meetings would be beneficial once a term next year. Finding a suitable day and date will be impossible to suit everyone.  However the more often we meet – the more opportunities we will have to attend.

Topics brainstormed for future discussions included :- EYLF, Kindergarten routines, Visiting each others settings, Loose Parts, Playground ideas, Student needs such as fine motor development, Buddy Programs, What are other centres doing for transition , etc

Dates and locations  for 2017  Talking Transition Network meetings will be advised shortly.

I’m excited to see we have finally begun and cannot wait for the 2017 meeting.