Harmony Newsletter
6 February 2002

Dear Parents

 

Staffing

We had a good beginning to the year, with staff settling themselves in quickly, as well as helping children become comfortable too. We have had some planned staff changes which have proceeded smoothly, because we kept one member with the same age group as last year.

 

Toni has been relief cook in Harmony for several years and is now our permanent Cook. Please talk to her about special needs for your child’s diet or to offer favorite family recipes. (Toni has already noted a parent’s suggestion for more stews, lasagne, and cauliflower cheese, but unfortunately roasts are not practical here.) Simmone is back from maternity leave full time in our 2 year olds group (her baby Chelsey is in our Babies room). Janet is taking over Ian’s duties (Ian is doing his final honors year at uni) and is now almost full time in the office with Robin, working as Administrator and able to respond to many situations in Harmony.

Josephine was able to work in our Preschool group for only a short while before her family arrangements for care of her three young children let her down, so she decided to terminate. However, we are extremely fortunate that Caroline (whose older baby is in Harmony care) was ready to step into the position and already has the group running beautifully.

Staffing is as follows—

                                    Babies                          2 year olds                   Kindy/Preschool

Qualified Educator        Carissa                         Simmone                      Caroline

Assistants                     Kelly & Alisha  Ginette & Erin              Yvonne & Brooke

Cook               Toni

Office               Janet & Robin

While Robin is on holidays from 10th to 20th February Janet will be able to respond to most queries, especially with the support of our experienced staff.

Donations

We’ve had some great donations lately. Many thanks to Harrison X’s mother for the tall reindeer painted gold, to Kali’s & Jamie’s mum for toys & puzzles, to Sandie’s family for books & toys (before they moved to Melbourne), to Luke’s & Matthew’s parents for pads of large drawing paper, and to Thomas’ mum for new towels that she brought back from Hong Kong. Staff really enjoyed the sausage rolls, quiche, & cake from Brandon’s mum. We also received some much appreciated stationery, filing stuff, and children’s craft materials from our next door neighbor Karen (who’s our Relief Cook), and some excellent books from Maya who attended Harmony many years ago (she’s now 11 years old). We are so grateful to you all for thinking of Harmony for goodies no longer wanted.


Fundraising

Unfortunately, for the second year, Baileys Bakery delivered incorrect Christmas orders, so we won’t use them again. However, we are promoting the popular Entertainment Values books of coupons and savings. If you wish to buy one ($30), please see Janet who has some in stock.

Maintenance

You will have noticed the two big blue gums gone (they were dropping lots of small branches) and we need to provide sun protection asap. The quotes for shade sails have been very slow coming in, but we should have a contract soon. The painting of the blue ceiling in our Preschool was done during the Australia Day long weekend and should last for many years. The lawn is recovering well in the main areas, and the low limestone walls look good, at the same time keeping soil and grass in their proper places.

Name labels

Remember that these very good quality labels are subsidised by Harmony and will prevent your child’s clothing being taken home inadvertently by another family or going into the Lost Property crate to be later taken to the Save the Children op shop. The labels also mean that staff are not taken away from supervising your children in order to look around the centre for lost property. Please fill in your label application details asap.

Most of those parents who have received their iron-on labels have also received a free sample of stick-on labels which are designed for plastic containers such as bottles, backpacks, lunch boxes etc. Soon parents may purchase these (optional) at a cost of $13.50 for 25 ($17.50 for 50).

Kindercams

The web cameras are set up in the Babies and 2 year olds rooms, and as of 1st February the speed of pictures was increased through technology advances (the speed also depends on the type of connection at the user’s end). If you wish to see your child playing and learning in almost real time, please get an application form from Janet or Robin. For $40 a calendar year you can get a user name and password that allow only you, and those you nominate, to log on via the internet.

Internet/Direct debit

This option is a convenient method to pay fees and other charges electronically. Please ask Janet or Robin for a print-out of procedures. If parents are able to print out a receipt after the electronic transfer, it can be dropped into Harmony’s payment box in the front entry without having to fill in a deposit envelope.

Programming

The written program of activities is posted on the wall in each age group and contains details of the important work that educators prepare, implement, and then evaluate in order to care for and educate your most precious youngsters. Please make sure you look at the program each day that your child attends (it helps you know what to talk with your child about at, say, dinner time).

Babies (news from Carissa)

Bonding with the babies is very important to develop feelings of trust and calm, so we’ve been spending lots of one-on-one with each baby and cuddling and tickling. We have also been busily helping babies get involved in activities that develop fine motor skills, such as string painting and sponge painting, and these beautiful creations now decorate the room. To promote problem solving and logical thinking skills we’ve been encouraging sorting shapes, building castles, and stacking cups. For independence skills (what we term “self-help”) the children have been encouraged to feed themselves and pack away toys.

Please don’t hesitate to approach us about any ideas or concerns you may have. We remind parents to bring a trainer cup, pillowcase, and hat, to leave at the centre (labelled with name). Also, we wonder if anyone has a baby monitor that is no longer needed at home—we would like to have one in each cot room so that we can hear babies when we are outdoors.

2 year olds (news from Simmone)

Thanks to those parents who brought in photos for activities, when our theme was Me & My Family. The pictures were certainly great for self-recognition, and the children were so enthusiastic to talk about their families. They are also developing self-help skills when putting on dress-up clothes and dancing and laughing in front of the mirror (we recently purchased some new dress-ups, including some special ones for the boys).

Our home corner includes dolls and kitchen area with mixing bowls and spoons which are a great hit and lead to cooking our own playdough. The children explored it immediately and thus were able to make the connection between making something with their own hands and then using it with pleasure.

Our People & Places focus lead to setting up a medical home corner where all children enjoyed pretending to be a doctor using the stethoscope and bandaging their patients. For fine motor (finger manipulation) activities the children made confetti collages, glitter gluing, and painting with string, sponges, cotton buds and of course brushes. Freehand drawing and cutting with scissors are also important fine motor practices.

For gross motor skills (using large body muscles) we played skittles, cricket, a Going-on-a-Bear-Hunt obstacle course, and action rhymes such as Head & Shoulders, Dingle Dangle Scarecrow (very popular!), and of course the Hokey Pokey. The children always enjoy their explorations of musical instruments, either planned in the program or just spontaneous.

Kindy/Preschool (news from Caroline)

Firstly, we would like to welcome all the new children who have come into the Preschool group, either having moved from the 2 year olds room or having just joined Harmony. We also know that the children who have moved onto primary school are well prepared for their exciting life ahead.

I am just a few weeks into working in Harmony and happy to be working closer to home. I have two young girls at home with their dad (one has been attending Harmony for several months one day a week in the Babies group). To get to know each other better, please look at my profile at the front entry and introduce yourself to me. For the first few weeks we have been doing get-to-know-you activities and finding out what stage every child is at developmentally. If parents have any suggestions for activities or would like to help us with a cooking or dancing experience (especially from another culture) or by reading a story, please feel free to come in and do so.


We have just finished a busy January Holiday Program, which included walking to nearby Newborough Primary School for a picnic lunch and games such as cricket and chasey. Another Newborough excursion was the pony rides which the children thoroughly enjoyed—they even patiently waited for their turns while playing on the different climbing equipment. We can’t thank enough those parents who volunteered their time to help on excursions, because without you we would have no fun outside the centre—our warm appreciation goes to Kali’s father, Tige’s friend, and mums of Jaiden, Bryce, Jason, and Rhaquelle.

 

Back in Harmony on very hot days the children loved running in and out of the sprinkler and we made our own water slide with a hose running down the tunnel slide. It was amazing that the day we had scheduled for the “Day at Harmony Beach” turned out to be the coldest summer day for ages, so our beach umbrellas and beach towels on the grass looked a bit strange!

 

Before Josephine left she brought us recipes (and samples for staff!) of Burmese stir fry and rice, which the preschoolers helped prepare for lunch one day. We also had a busy time celebrating All Australians Day by making damper for afternoon snack (we had lunch of real kangaroo stew, with lamingtons and ice cream for dessert). The children made a collage map of Australia and painted kangaroos and koalas and aboriginal people and boomerangs.

 

This week we are back into the preschool educational curriculum, the Virtues Project, Letterland, and French. These provide more of challenge to the children’s learning than the holiday program which is primarily for fun, so you should see some fantastic work coming home. For French Ginette has begun with greetings such as “Hello”, “My name is…”, and in the next newsletter she will give you a full French report.

 

Important reminders

1.         Please remember that every child needs a hat every day—NO HAT, NO PLAY. It should stay at the centre (we wash them regularly) and must be labelled either with iron-on labels or permanent marker pen.

2.         Until our new shade sails are up, please dress your children in a tee-shirt or similar (rather than strappy tops) to help protect them against sunburn.

3.         Please check the name on the cubicle before putting your child’s bag inside, because they are moved from time to time to accommodate every child.

4.         Unwanted baby monitors for our cot rooms would very much appreciated.

5.         We do value your suggestions (see anonymous box near sign in/out files).

 

Robin Garbutt, Manager                                               Janet Johnston, Administrator

 

Why…
Why does the sun lighten our hair, but darken our skin?
Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?
Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?
Why is it that to stop Windows, you have to click on "Start"?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
When dog food is new and with improved taste, who tests it?
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Why do they sterilise the needle for lethal injections?
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?