17th July 2001
Mid-year already! It seems that every year demands more of our 'disposable' time (that is,
beyond the time for a paid job and housekeeping) and we don’t necessarily realise why this should
be. A consoling point is that there are always people much worse off than we are, in many ways,
and even here in Australia.
A bit has been happening here. We thought we had a permanent Cook with Wendy but family problems
in Canberra took her away from us. We have had several Relief Cooks (coping admirably in the
circumstances) but as from this coming Monday we will have a new permanent Cook. She is Carissa
(yes, another one!) who has some previous experience as a Cook and several years as a Child Care
Assistant in child care centres. She is also mother of a four year old and did some casual child
care work at Harmony earlier this year. Please welcome Carissa and look at her profile at the
Jackie, who was our part-time coordinator and very ably helped Robin with centre administration
for six months, has left Harmony to devote more time to her family and to prepare for a Big Event
(see below). However, we will see Jackie from time to time (such as for our recent Parent &
Staff Night) because she has agreed to do casual admin work for us. Jackie was instrumental in
gathering the masses of documentation necessary for national accreditation of our centre. Janet
is now our Second-in-Charge for when Robin is absent.
We have two very important announcements. Tanya, our Child Care Trainee in the Babies group, is
expecting a baby in November. We are all very excited for her and her partner, who are also
about to buy their own home. Tanya is a wonderful carer and a great team member with Simmone and
Janet. Another memorable occasion coming up, in September, is the marriage of Jackie, our centre
coordinator, to her partner Glenn. The Harmony staff have been invited to her Hen’s Night which,
knowing our fun-loving Jackie, should be a hoot of a celebration.
National Accreditation for Quality in Child Care
Before Jackie left Harmony, her fine efforts assured Harmony of the highest accreditation award
(three years), and 51 highest possible ratings out of 52, which is absolutely fabulous. Several
years ago our first accreditation process gained us a perfect score of 52 out of 52 (none of the
5000 centres in Australia could get higher), but our current 51 out of 52 is still very
admirable. Every one of our staff is to be congratulated for such a high level of quality
assurance, and of course we duly celebrated with dinner at the Tavern.
Mid-Year Parent & Staff Night
We had all (healthy) staff talking with parents and handing out Child Developmental Records on
2nd July. Thank you to Harmony’s qualified Educators (ECE’s) for taking such care and
responsibility in writing out these Records, which summarise such valuable information about the
important early childhood years. All our Child Care Assistants also provide valuable input to
the Developmental Records. By reading each line and the summary carefully, parents will know
where their child is developmentally in each of the critical areas--gross motor (big muscles),
fine motor (finger manipulation and eye-hand coordination), social (inter-personal interactions),
emotional (feelings, self-confidence, assertiveness, self-esteem), language (receptive,
expressive, assertive) and intellectual (concepts, problem solving, adaptation, etc.).
The three Early Childhood Educators who are in charge of the age groups prepared notes to explain
to parents at the meeting the reasons, and the methods used, for writing programs of activities
for the children every day. The staff gave extremely enlightening rationale for why we do the
specific daily activities with children. For those not present, we have summarised some of the
points about the why’s and wherefore’s of Daily Programming.
We had two other speakers as well. Celia Buck, who is the well-known and well-respected Child
Health Nurse from the Karrinyup Clinic, told us how newborns and older children develop immunity
to illness. She mentioned that babies who are kept in a “sterile” environment usually take
longer to develop their immune system because they are not being exposed to small amounts of
bacteria and viruses gradually—they end up being exposed to a full-blown illness, often in
winter, and cannot fight off the bugs naturally. A chemist from Newpark Pharmacy in Girrawheen,
Richard Smirk, continued the talk with information about the differences between viruses,
influenza, and infections, and how each of them is treated—e.g. viruses do not respond to
Unfortunately the parent participation was not up to the number we expected for such an important
Parent & Staff Night, but those who did attend, had a lovely time one-on-one with the carers and
educators who are closest to their children and who are making a significant difference in their
Yoga by Candlelight
We are going to try again to have a yoga class at Harmony for parents, friends, and staff, on
Time: 7-8.30 p.m.
Cost: $70 for 8 weeks
Minimum No: 10
Please tell Robin and pay fees by 27th July, if you would like to join us for a very pleasant
time. Payment is in advance (payable to Jan Round) but a substitute person is welcome if you are
unable to attend. When we have the minimum of ten participants, we will commence the class.
Janet has been our leading donor this time—she given the children a yellow teapot, puzzles,
threading beads (always welcome), plastic pretend food, a red chimney pot & other toys. Another
extremely generous person is father of twins Lili and Asha—he is a bricklayer who filled up the
holes in our walls left when unused ventilators were removed. Many thanks also to Thomas R’s
mum for money donated to purchase bouncy balls.
Red Nose Day
Thank you to those thoughtful people who bought red nose paraphernalia to support SIDS research.
However, when we did a count, we found $11.50 missing—if you have not yet given us the SIDS
money, please let Robin or Janet know, so that we can forward it on.
Family Portrait Photos
A number of families got a bargain when they received a large, framed family portrait photo for
only $10. The $150 paid has been put into our Fundraising kitty, which we are hoping to spend on
shadecloth over the big sandpit.
New Payment Conditions
As you all would know by now, unfortunately we have had to introduce an Overdue Charge for
delayed fees. Our Accountant says this should lead to more timely family payments, so that
Harmony’s wages and suppliers can be paid when due. Others face a similar problem, which is why
organisations like Western Power and Water Corp charge a penalty.
Five percent will be levied on fees overdue by more than one week, will be charged on each week’s
Monday balance, and will compound weekly. We sincerely hope that this will be seldom necessary.
We realise times are difficult these days for parents to meet all the demands placed on families.
Please remember that we are open to payment arrangements if circumstances are particularly
constrained at present.
Kindergarten (news from Carissa, Yvonne, and Christine)
The Dinosaur theme was extremely popular as you can imagine. The children learned the names of
many varieties and enjoyed the accompanying art experiences and stories.
For several weeks we set up a Music Centre, so that children could choose and play instruments
during any activities time during the week. New songs we have been learning are 'I’m Taking Home
my Baby Bumble Bee', 'She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain', and 'Where is Thumbkin?' staff have
the words if you would like them.
Our latest big theme was about Posting Letters. Some children made and painted a large mailbox
as a group project, and then all children wrote and posted their own letters and creations
throughout the week. At the end of the week we walked to the Sackville shops across the road and
posted real letters to our families. We understand there was generally great excitement when
these letters were received at home.
It’s now school holidays again and we are enjoying an exciting program of activities. We have
marvelled at how chickens hatch from eggs and are carefully caring for our three healthy chicks.
The Kindy children are realising how important it is to be very kind and gentle with animals.
This was reinforced by Mick who brought his Farmyard on Wheels with its ducks, geese, cows,
horses, rabbits, lambs, and many many more gorgeous animals (we even bottlefed the goats). Conny
the Clown entertained us all morning with face painting, balloon animals, dancing, and magic
tricks. Several kind parents gave their time to help on our excursion to Deanmore Primary
playground where we also had a picnic lunch. The Bouncy Castle was great value all day, and even
the Harmony babies had a go! Another excursion is to the Fun Factory.
Soon after the Holiday Program the Kindy children will be focussing on a new theme Nature. We
will be look at the environment around us, such as weather, wind, grass, sky, trees, plants,
etc. Christine has been working closely with the children to encourage and extend the children’s
French. They have been learning colors, everyday phrases, and body parts.
For any questions about French or the Kindy group programs, please don’t hesitate to see Carissa,
Yvonne, or Christine.
2 year olds (news from Dale & Deb)
During the last few weeks we have been focussing on Me, which has included discussions about our
body, stretching our bodies, and making shapes with our bodies like stars and balls. We’ve
talked about colors of our hair and eyes, have measured our height, and are learning our
surnames. All these activities help develop healthy self-esteem and pride in their bodies.
To develop awareness of music and interest in musical instruments and how to use them, we set up
a musical corner. Here the children could choose instruments freely, and at group time we sang
in time with their playing. Language development is promoted by group singing and discussions,
feltboard stories, and encouragement to gently assert themselves. Current favorite songs are
'Row, Row, Row Your Boat', 'Five Fat Sausages', and 'I Wonder What Your Name is?'.
Many activities have been programmed to develop eye-hand coordination, through collage gluing,
cutting up magazine pictures, and threading pasta. We have also been gaining projectile skills,
strength, coordination, and balance, by jumping into shapes, running games, throwing balls,
somersaulting, dancing, and musical bobs.
Children’s self-help and increasing independence are showing, as children are insisting on (and
we are actively encouraging) putting on and taking off their own shoes and socks, wiping down
tables, and sweeping floors. You should be able to see a lot of this for yourself by logging
into the Kindercams.
Babies (news from Simmone, Janet, Tanya, & Rachael)
Over the past few weeks we have been looking at a lot of one-on-one and small group (2-3
children) experiences. By doing this we are supporting the younger infants and new children in
developing trust and feeling secure in their new environment (which is the basis for learning in
all other areas of development). The babies become familiar with each other and interact in
valuable social situations such as dancing together, being gentle with each other, and maybe even
Babies love to learn through exploring their surroundings and using their senses. Especially
interesting are musical experiences (singing, dancing, musical instruments), nature (leaves,
sand, Ziggy our rabbit), creativity (finger and sponge paintings), cause and effect toys
(pull-alongs, weighted bobbing toys, musical response toys). We’ve introduced simple action
songs to relate developing physical skills to social and language experiences. The older
children have enjoyed learning new words while moving to rhymes, while the infants try to imitate
them (imitation is another valuable way of learning).
Beata, a worker from the Ethnic Child Care Resource Unit that Harmony belongs to, joined babies
for a few weeks recently and brought in some interesting props. She helped settle a new child in
his home language and for everyone introduced some Cantonese/Chinese words and traditions and
some unusual cultural masks.
With winter upon us again, we need to ensure the babies keep warm, so please remember to bring
socks/booties and even a beanie.
The parents who have security passwords to log on to Kindercams at Harmony are giving us
fantastic feedback. They regularly watch their children at play, at lunchtime, and generally
having a good time, and for only $2 per day (or even lower if 3 months full-time is paid in
Many of you would have seen the Today Tonight show on Channel 7 on 5th July, when the Harmony
story was televised all over Australia. Some of your children were absolute stars.
Kindercams was also featured nationally on A Current Affair on the same night but without Harmony
included. It all followed a large photo and article on page 3 of the national newspaper The
Australian (see front entry noticeboard). Harmony interviews were also on Sydney’s Radio 2SM
with Howard Sattler and 2GB, Melbourne’s Radio 3AK, and Perth’s Aboriginal Radio 11.7. Articles
were also broadcast on Perth’s Radio 92.9 and 96.1, and an article and photo in Adelaide’s Sunday
Mail newspaper. All in all, there was quite a commotion at Harmony on
The Rationale behind Activity Programming
All groups have similar procedures and reasons for their written programs. Babies programs are
very flexible and sensory-based (using the 5 senses). Two year olds are also very sensory-based
but include routines which they love and need, to make sense of their world. Preschool/Kindy
children need some structure to their day and the introduction of abstract concepts in readiness
for Year 1 at school.
Three strong benefits of a written program are: (a) Plan for the day, (b) Developmentally
appropriate activites, and (c) Source of communication.
Children of the three groups are observed by our qualified Early Childhood Educators (ECE), using
several different methods, during the children’s play and their interactions in order to
discover, in groups and individually, where their current development stands, what their special
interests are, and areas where further encouragement is advisable. The ECE’s can then program
later on to meet any specific interests and to implement activities that will provide practice
for children with delayed development (such as using scissors). “Observations” also provide the
basis for Development Reports back to parents, either written or verbal.
Following are notes written for parents by Harmony’s ECE’s:
The Basic Process of Programming and how/why we plan particular activities:
- We write a set of objectives that we aim to achieve for the group and for individual
- We use a variety of methods to observe and record what we see the children doing, how they
interact with others and with their surroundings, and the milestones they are achieving.
- We evaluate/interpret the observations, so that we know what the group is interested in and
we are aware of what developmental stage each child is at.
- We plan and write up activities and experiences, from the observations and relating to our
objectives, that aim to support and encourage the potential development of each child and to
provide activities and experiences (planned and spontaneous) that all the children are interested
- We record, display, and carry out these activities.
- We evaluate the program at the end of each week for its effectiveness, so that new objectives
in a future program can modify previous activities, can expand on existing knowledge by providing
variety and challenge, and can meet identified needs of individual children.
- We repeat the above process each week.
Methods for Observing and Recording:
Goals for the individual child:
- Anecdotal Records (firsthand observation by any staff)
- Running Records (watching a particular child over a period)
- Checklists (developed by early childhood specialists)
- Time Samples (watching for a pattern of behavior associated with times)
- To enjoy participation in the activities
- To be able to choose freely, thus promoting independence
- To develop and extend each child in all developmental areas while being aware of individual
differences between children
- To promote each child’s eagerness for learning through firsthand experiences
- To allow each child to build up trust and confidence with friends and carers
- To allow each child to develop at own pace
- To encourage each child to develop respect in self, in friends, in adults, and in the world
in which they live
- To acknowledge each child’s thoughts and feelings, while providing positive opportunities to
- To acquire knowledge of limits for safety and the comfort of others around them
- To allow each child to develop a sense of control over environment
- To provide solitude and privacy if the child wants it
- Provides direction and focus in each child’s day
- Provides continuity and stability for children
- Introduces new knowledge, new concepts, new resources, new vocabulary
- Provides a means of communication between parents and staff, staff and staff
- Provides documentation of daily activities and observations for possible future need
The following sessions are additional to all of the above, in order to prepare preschoolers for
Year 1 in the formal education system:
Child care in W.A.
- Themes, which bring a particular focus to the activities, introduce new concepts and
vocabulary, provide learning through repetition and variety
- The Virtues Project, which is written especially for young children, includes 52 basic
virtues (virtues are desirable human values that are universal and not specific to just some
cultures). Examples of virtues are Kindness, Helpfulness, Love, Respect. Daily discussions
during a week reinforce the value of guiding, explaining, redirecting, and encouraging, instead
of correcting, condemning, humiliating, or over-using discipline.
- Letterland, which uses child-popular practices such as rhymes, singing, humor, coloring-in
templates, individual letter characters with memorable names, repetitive sounds, and above all
makes it fun to learn alphabet sounds and writing
Another heavy increase in operating costs was advised yesterday, which unfortunately will force a
small increase in everyone’s child care fees. All child care workers in W.A. will receive an
hourly wage increase from 20th July, which will necessitate a $1 per day increase in fees as from
Monday, 30th July.
Reminders and Requests
- Please check the Lost Property crate near the front entry (lots of warm winter
- We would really appreciate any size trackpants to keep at Harmony as spare clothing.
Robin Garbutt, Manager
Poem from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and the daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.