It seems like only last week we were writing a newsletter and handing it out, but with so much happening in Harmony at the moment we needed another one.
Thank you to Kain’s mum for magazines of cars and trucks (for preschoolers’ Transport theme) and to our own Yvonne for loan of the family guitar (for Italy Day). Much appreciation also to families bringing in plastic bags (we still need more).
We are sending a sad farewell to Nicole from everyone in Harmony. Nicole has been unwell and has resigned from her position as Child Care Assistant and French Specialist for the Kindy group. For more than four years Nicole facilitated French sessions for Kindy and Preprimary children, with great warmth and caring. Nobody cuddled or soothed children better than Nicole, as she also encouraged their love of learning. We will all miss her greatly.
We shall let parents know about our new French Specialist very soon.
The Kindy group is going on an exciting free excursion on Wednesday 21st March, 9.15 am. The children will be collected from Harmony in a Transperth bus and taken to the Karrinyup depot to go through the bus wash—just like a regular car wash but on a much larger scale. Parents are more than welcome to come, so please let Carissa know. We will need parent permission for your child to attend, so please fill in the permission form in the Kindy room.
Earlier this year we tried to purchase polo shirts for the Kindy children, mainly to wear on excursions. Unfortunately we were unable to purchase enough of one color at the great sale price, so we will be refunding monies already paid by parents. We are quite disappointed but will keep eyes open for a similar good deal in the future.
We have been having a lot of fun over the last few weeks with plenty of creative/messy activities. We’re not sure who’s been having more fun, children or staff, particularly Janet, our Glitter Queen who will even put glitter into shaving cream for the children to play and explore with. We have also done collages using natural resources and bright colorful materials. These particular activities encourage the development of fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and budding creative talents.
Books, songs and stories are always popular, and are critical to the development of language. We have also introduced a lot of action songs for babies to move to, such as When All the Cows are Sleeping, Teddy Bear Teddy Bear Turn Around, Open Shut Them, and 5 Little Speckled Frogs. Ask us for the lyrics so you can sing along at home, or wait until we have the complete Harmony Songbook printed very soon.
The babies’ interests are becoming more varied. They are talking about the roadworks and imitating the workers, and are using cooking tools and the kitchen sets etc. If your children are doing things at home that are unacceptable (like climbing on furniture or drawing on things they shouldn’t) please let us know so that we can offer appropriate alternatives such as climbing equipment and more drawing activities. Other interests like feeding selves and looking after new pets are also good things for us to know about, so that we include related skills into our activities (e.g. holding a spoon correctly, or patting gently).
The 2 year olds have been very busy. We have spent the last month focussing on Colors, and activities have included colored playdough, group games, singing, painting and stories. They have also been molding creative pieces of art using playdough.
The children’s language and social skills are improving as they use their words to assert themselves with their peers. They enjoy lots of singing including our Good Morning Song, Five Currant Buns, Five Fat Sausages, Row Row Your Boat, and Miss/Mr. Polly.
We noticed something interesting recently when the 2 year olds suddenly started packing away their toys on the shelves. They had heard Carissa playing the Kindy packaway song Popcorn and thought they would join in!
For the next few weeks we will be looking at the Senses, covering smell, touch, sound, taste and sight. If you have anything at home that relates to this area of interest, please bring it in.
Our Occupations theme has continued to bring out children’s imagination—the children have been seen acting as shop assistants, customers, mothers, fathers, doctors and nurses. At mat sessions we’ve talked about different jobs and different tools. Over the next few weeks we will begin a Transport theme and have planned an excursion to the local Transperth bus wash. We recently had a visitor to Harmony named Tamara who enthusiastically organised a Fairy Day. The children made fairy wands and were enchanted as two dressed-up “fairies” read them a fairy story before lunch.
We have just experienced a fun Italy Day, organised by Nick. The children made traditional masks (maschere) called Pulcinella and Dottore and listened attentively as Nick read the story Pinocchio and then played a guitar to the song Old MacDonald had a Farm (Nella Vecchia Fattoria), both in Italian. They played a game called Open the Little Box (Aprire lo Scatolino) with animals like monkey (scimmia), lion (leone), chichen (gallina), and cat (gatto). Of course lunch was Italian too—lasagna, Italian salad complete with optional green olives, gelato ice cream, and hazelnut spread on Italian bread. Yummy!
We are asking parents to bring in one or two family photos which we can stick onto the family tree cutouts that the children have been busy painting. These photos will be a great talking point, and will act as a comfort for children who may at times feel apprehensive.
and also will encourage the acceptance of all families.
Every week we talk about and practise a virtue (one of the universal values that people strive for in any culture), following the guide The Virtues Project written especially for teaching young children. So far, we have practised Kindness, Self-Discipline, Tolerance, Gentleness, and appropriate Assertiveness, and the children are learning very easily.
Over the last few weeks we have been busy decorating and brightening up the toilet room. We feel that the bathroom should be just as bright as the rest of the room and should be a fun place to visit. This outlook will encourage children to leave play to attend to their toileting needs and encourage good hygiene habits. We have been working on many cognitive and language areas, with the children very receptive at mat times to new stories, discussions, songs and information. Our timetables for the mat session and for transitions are on the Kindy noticeboard.
The computer is a big favorite with the children, as they become proficient with the programs and familiar with its working components. A much loved activity which greatly encouraged threading was our fruit loop threading experience where the children could eat the fruit loops after lunch. If any parents wish to share their time and skills with us, we would love to hear from you. It could be any skill, such as:
· Cooking a favorite recipe with the children at activity time.
· Bathing a newborn baby in front of the group.
· Playing a musical instrument.
These are just few examples that spring to mind--we are open to any suggestions and really value your participation if your schedule will allow it.
We are sending out our final round of parent surveys soon. Could all parents please fill in this short form and return it to the box marked PARENT SURVEYS at the Harmony entrance foyer. Our deadline is 20th March because our reviewer will be at Harmony on 27th and 28th March. The survey is a very important part of our Accreditation process, and your response can be anonymous if you so choose.
Our first parent/staff night for 2001 will be on Monday 19th March at 7.00 pm and is for all families at Harmony It is an opportunity to meet with the staff and discuss your child’s progress. If you have anything you would like to discuss with the Early Childhood Educators in your child’s room (Simmone, Dale or Carissa) you can make an appointment for on the evening. See the staff in your child’s room to make your appointment.
We also have a guest speaker on the night. Joy Boothman will be discussing the up-and-coming Harmony workshops Raising Happy & Cooperative Children. Joy is from Tuart College and will be talking to us for about 30 minutes. We will also be showing the video that Jackie is filming of your children in Harmony. Light refreshments will help create a memorable night of information and exchange of ideas.
As mentioned above, Joy Boothman will be holding a series of workshops on Raising Happy & Cooperative Children. The course will be held over 3 nights with each night being approximately 2 hours long. The cost is only $23, which is great value. They will be on Tuesdays—the dates are to be announced. A tear-off slip is attached to this newsletter for you to return as soon as possible to staff.
The payments box system is going extremely well, and we thank you all for your assistance in making it successful. Eftpos is a very convenient way to pay fees, and any one of five staff can help you—Jackie, Janet, Ian, Yvonne, and Robin.
Our first yoga course was cancelled due to lack of interest but, would you believe, the very next week people came out of the woodwork, as they say. We now have classes organised for Wednesdays, commencing 14th March, 6.30 to 8.00 pm (it is better that you do not eat beforehand). Jan, who is a local teacher of Hatha Yoga (relaxation, stretching/flexibility, breathing, strength) is offering a special introductory price of $45 for 7 weeks, payable on the first night. We already have some participants so, if interested, do complete the attached tear-off slip and return to staff straightaway.
Harmony will be holding its first Open Day for many years. It is planned to be more of a fun day for children and their families. We will have face painting, balloons, games, a special guest (maybe Humphrey B Bear), some retail stalls, and much, much more. The day will be on a Saturday, with date and times to be announced. How exciting!
There is a very full Lost Property box located at Harmony’s entrance foyer. Could parents please look through it for any property belonging to your child. Any property left at the end of the week will go to the Save the Children op shop.
Harmony is creating a video about what your children do while in Harmony. The video is in its early stages of filming; an unedited version will be available for viewing at the parent & staff evening. Later on, completed copies will be available to purchase at a nominal fee. If you would not like your child to be in the video, please let Jackie or Robin know by the end of the week, i.e. by 16th March.
Thanks to parents who have already returned the yellow questionnaire. To answer your questions and/or tell you about option plans, Kindercams needs the yellow form returned to Jackie or Robin by Friday, 16th March. This could be a great opportunity to see your child developing in individual and group situations and playing with his/her friends in Harmony, while you are having a break from work (without the fattening Kit-Kat!!).
Ann at Melville Child Care Centre has been running Kindercams for nearly two months now—her phone number is 9330 4497 and she would be happy to talk with you about the families’ experience. The Managing Director of Kindercams, Danny Devila, will be at the Parent & Staff Night on 19th March to give more information about secure internet connection and to answer queries.
We have organised a new deal to have Kinda Dance return to Harmony, with an initial complimentary session on Tuesday morning, 20th March. (Harmony trialed another dance and music teacher last year because Kinda Dance became too expensive for our families.) However, we have negotiated a special price of $5.50 per child for half an hour of fun and developmentally appropriate dance and music. The condition for this discount is that payment is monthly in advance, by cash or cash cheque ($22 for a 4-week month or $27.50 for a 5-week month). The sessions are available for children 3 years and over who attend Harmony on Tuesdays, and are optional. If you are interested, please complete the tear-off slip at the end of this newsletter and return it to Carissa by Friday 16th March.
If you have any questions regarding the newsletter or want to discuss anything, please feel free to come and see Jackie and Robin at any time.