Harmony Newsletter
6th February 2002

Dear Parents

Welcome
We are well into the new year and hope that everyone had a happy time and a good rest over the Christmas/New Year break. We warmly welcome all new families to the Harmony community, knowing that Harmony staff will support your needs, as well as care for and educate your children in the best way possible. We also take this opportunity to say farewell to families moving on, to a new address, or to “big school”—we have all thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and feel so privileged to have been a part of the very important early years of your child’s life.

Thank you
As has become a tradition in our loooong newsletters, there are some very special people that we need to send a load of thanks to. It is only with the continued support of families and dedication of staff that Harmony is able to continue striving for excellence. Many thanks to parents for donating items and time to help make Harmony a better place for all children.

Special mention goes to Luke McC’s mum for babies’ wind chimes; to Heather’s mum for disposable nappies, a music CD, and several computer CD-ROMs; and to Jakob’s mum for icy poles for staff and special ice cream for children. Also very much appreciated are excursion helpers, without whom we cannot take children on outings. Thanks to Alanna’s dad and mothers of Abbie, of Hamish and of Aaron, all in Kindy, and to Jakob’s mum for the 2 y.o.’s Beach House outing (she also gave a lovely souvenir photo to each staff member). Our own Yvonne is also thanked for sewing curtains for our craft trolleys.

Thank you to our wonderful Santa who has been such a hit for several years now in Harmony (looks a bit like our relief qualified Educator, Ben!). Once again staff organised a memorable end-of-year concert which showed proud families that their “performers” may be small in stature but are big in confidence. All staff thank families for giving educators gifts of appreciation at Christmas, especially ones we can share such as chocolates, biscuits and sweet smelling things. 

Staffing
We warmly welcome our new staff and ask parents to read their profiles in the front Entry. Sandra is working as qualified Early Childhood Educator in the 2 year olds group until she returns to uni. Last year Kelly worked as Relief Assistant in Harmony but is now working full-time with our babies and is studying her 12-month Child Care Traineeship. Alisha is brand new to us, working full-time as Assistant with the 2 year olds, and also doing her Child Care Traineeship in Harmony. Kathy, our new Cook, is preparing some very tasty and nutritious dishes (they are very popular, and few scraps go to the compost!).

Replacing Sandra with the 2 year olds as from Monday, 18th February, will be Dana who is a fully qualified Early Childhood Educator moved from New Zealand. Taking Simmone’s place during her leave as from Monday, 18th February, is Blanche who graduated in Perth and has been working at Challenge Children’s Centre. 

At the same time, we farewell and wish lots of success to Dale who left the 2 year olds to work closer to her new home, and to Maryann who is returning to school. Simmone will go on maternity leave on 15th February (baby is due on 23rd March) which will be a very exciting time for her and Scott.

Our permanent staffing from 18th February are:
Babies Early Childhood Educator Blanche
Child Care Assistant & Trainee Brooke
Child Care Assistant & Trainee Kelly

2 year olds Early Childhood Educator Dana (pronounced Darna)
Senior Child Care Assistant & 2-IC Janet
Child Care Assistant & Trainee Alisha

Kindy Early Childhood Educator Carissa
Senior Child Care Assistant Yvonne
Assistant & French Specialist Ginette

Our newest staff members will have their photos and profiles on the entry noticeboard very soon. We are indeed very fortunate to have found two excellent and highly skilled qualified Educators, at a time when nationally (and especially WA and Queensland) there is a severe shortage of early childhood education graduates.

Group programs
Babies (news from Simmone)
On behalf of Brooke and Kelly, I am happy to say that all babies have settled in really well to the New Year and everyone is actively exploring their environment, both indoors and outdoors. As we have some new faces, we began by introducing each other. It’s important for infants to develop trust in their primary carers and educators, to develop their confidence, so that they feel safe and secure. We have been achieving this through small group activities such as one-on-one interactions, and singing “I wonder what your name is?”.

The babies have been showing us their creative side in paintings (using twigs, fly swats, shaving cream, powdered chalk, and of course fingers!), not only adding color to our walls but also developing manipulation and sensory skills. Do have a look at these masterpieces displayed on the walls and also at the Program of activities that is posted above the Daily Report that Babies’ parents fill in every day.

Action songs/rhymes and dancing are always lots of fun and encourage social skills as the children develop an awareness of others around them (still believing of course that they are the centre of the universe!). Musical experiences provide valuable opportunities to learn coordination and listening and language skills. They are a joy to watch as they attempt to sing along with our favorite action songs, including Dingle Dangle Scarecrow, Everybody Clapping, and The Wheels of the Bus.

In a week or so I will be going on maternity leave for a while and, although I plan to return, I will really miss everyone here at Harmony while I’m away. However, I know that your precious babies will be in good hands with Brooke and Kelly and our new Educator, Blanche.

2 year olds (news from Sandra)
I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how I have been running the 2 year olds program since I started as a Temporary at Harmony, with the wonderful help of Janet, Maryann and Alisha. My main focus has been to get to know the children and for the children to become comfortable with the change in staff. This involves discussing how they are feeling, expressing thoughts through art, playing music, singing, and dramatic play. 

Other sessions have included flower figures, mask making, color charts, water play, and dancing, all aimed at encouraging children to explore their creative abilities. Due to the hot weather water play has been our most popular activity outside.

You may have also noticed that the room furniture has been changed—this was done to guide each child to participate in more direct play. We are looking at Animals, an area that young children always enjoy and which is a great medium to teach all sorts of concepts and descriptions such as colors, “big and small”, and “types of homes”.

Kindy (news from Carissa)
A big hello and welcome back from all of us in the Kindy group. We have been busy with an exciting January Holiday Program. Our keen dinosaur lovers thought the excursion to the WA Museum Dinosaurs of Darkness exhibit was a highlight. Also popular was our trip to the Scarborough Police & Citizens Centre where, like gymnasts, we worked through a circuit of soft foam shapes, trampolines, and much more. A big part of the fun and learning came from just the bus trips themselves!

We also invited in Greg with his Wandering in the Bush interactive show—he was amazing and taught us many new songs about Australian animals and told us musical stories using his “talking” didgeridoo, guitar, and tapping sticks. He certainly had no trouble keeping the children entertained, while making them aware of our Australian/Aboriginal culture.

During art activities we have made masks, money boxes, popstick collage, and bookmarks. Our calendar drawings have been sent off for laminating and will add to our fundraising objectives. The holiday activities would not be complete without some energetic and zany free play. Our bathers and water play days were heaps of fun, as the children danced under the “flower” spray and portable shower. We’ve become cooking geniuses, following our Blue Day pikelets, teddy bears picnic, and Party Day.

Remember to pack a plastic bag marked with your child’s name in marker pen, bathers and a light towel, so that on very hot days we can go for a run under the playground water sprays. The February theme will be Friendships and Limits which will help us learn what is expected of each other and get along with each other. Sadly we have to say a big goodbye to our older children who are moving off to “big school”. We wish them the best of luck and will miss them terribly. 

French session (notes from Ginette)
Our French language sessions will resume with learning introductions, body parts, colors, fruits, and counting 1 to 10. We will have some new songs, which we’ll give you to read, so that you can understand your child’s bathtime singing! 

Fundraising
Our Fundraising Organiser, Janet, is doing a superb job coordinating efforts such as Christmas festive foods and the recent Entertainment Books with bargains for everyone. The discount coupon books raised $360, which is absolutely fantastic, thanks to parents’ generous support. Soon we will be getting iron-on name labels, another idea that saves families money because lost items can be returned to the owner. 

The Kindy group have purchased a new stereo CD player to accompany their singing, dancing, musical bobs, and musical chairs. We have bought a nice shade sail for over the large sandpit and climbing gym which will be erected soon, and we’re currently pricing impact-absorbing matting for under the swings. So, you know that your efforts are put to good use in purchasing desirable but expensive equipment.

Repairs & maintenance
Ian coordinated a lot of heavy maintenance during the Harmony closedown period, including digging out many trailerloads of dirt and planting hardy buffalo grass, varnishing tabletops, repositioning the clothesline to give children extra outdoors play space, paving the big kids’ outside storage area, and moving furniture around so that the jarrah floors could be sanded and re-sealed (doesn’t it look fabulous!!). 

Support workers
Harmony is indeed fortunate to have the services of several workers to integrate children, in their own language whether sign language or Japanese, into the Harmony culture and with friends of their own age group. Brenda is helping in the 2 year olds group, two days a week with commonwealth government special funding, and bilingual worker Takako helped a Japanese family settle in the Kindy group.

KinderCams
KinderCams is offering an absolute bargain to parents. If you have access to the internet, you can log on and watch your child play and learn in Harmony. Just complete a yellow form which you can get from Robin and pay a once only $30 connection fee. Harmony was the first child care centre in Australia to trial this technological innovation which has the highest possible security encryption.

Fauna Rehabilitation Foundation
This Foundation in Malaga, set up to care for injured animals and return them to their habitat, is again looking for donations, so Harmony has set up a money box at the sign in/out counter. Any loose change donations would be greatly appreciated and put to sensitive, humane use.

Yoga by Candlelight
These gentle HathaYoga sessions are in demand again, at the Harmony Centre, so please complete your application (tear off at the end of this newsletter) and leave with Janet or Robin by 14th February, so that we can get started on Tuesday 19th February. Jan Round (phone 9204 1838 for any further info) runs them for about $8-9 per session, payable a term in advance, from 7 to 8.30 p.m. on Tuesdays, with a break during school holidays.

Kinda Dance
Again Jodie is conducting excellent half-hour sessions of music and movement for the Kindy children every Tuesday morning from 10.00 a.m. The first session (29th February) was complimentary and from Tuesday 5th February each session costs $5.50 payable monthly in advance (cash or cash cheque). Please get an enrolment form from Carissa or Yvonne.

Year 2002 speakers and courses
Harmony considers itself a “community” of families and educators and, as such, likes to offer speakers at Parent & Staff Nights and courses of interest. Please help us by taking the time to fill out a register of interest form (tear off at the end of this newsletter) and give it to Janet or Robin as soon as possible. Ideas may include (a) A Men’s Group, (b) Neck & Back Massage, (c) Making Choices in Your Life, (d) Activities for Children at Home, (e) Looking After Yourself, (f) Easy Care Gardening, (g) Reducing Stress, etc. etc.

Harmony Day, and Harmony is 12 years old
The official Australian Harmony Day this year is on 20th March. Your Harmony Centre was officially 12 years old on 29th January this year (even though the Mayor of Stirling opened the renovated building on 7th April 1990). Therefore, we thought it would be appropriate and exciting and lots of fun if Harmony celebrated its “dozen” birthday on the Saturday nearest Harmony Day, which makes it Saturday, 23rd March.

Staff and helpers will organise children’s entertainment and displays, indoors and outdoors, photographs from the first day of opening, and all sorts of other events and ideas.

We would like to form a committee to get things moving along, so if you have a few hours spare, we would very much appreciate your letting Robin or Janet know as soon as possible. In addition, we ask that parents who know of families whose children previously attended Harmony, to please let them know what we are planning, the date, and Harmony’s phone number. To help find as many previous families as possible, we will write articles for the media and get ourselves into several data bases and mail outs.

Requests and Reminders
1. One of our parents is learning the guitar and would appreciate sheet music of children’s nursery rhymes and songs—please see Robin or Janet if you can help.
2. Lost property is piling up again already (this is why we’re offering iron-on name labels in a few weeks)—please check the Lost Property box in the front entry.
3. It is very important to bring in one piece of fruit per child, so that all children get the right amount of fruit every day.
4. The Kindy team request that parents bring in a large size scrapbook (about $1.70) so that the Kindy children’s work can be organised and pasted in to take home.
5. Kindy carers also ask that if families have interesting music CD’s, could Harmony borrow them to listen.

…………………Robin (Garbutt), Manager …………………Janet (Johnston), 2-IC


Quotations
· You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing!
· Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art!
· It’s a funny thing, life. If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it!

Ideas for Speakers and Courses (please tear off & give to Janet or Robin)
I would be interested in the following speakers’ topics and courses:
Speakers’ topics (1)………………………………………….. (2)…………………………………………... 
Short courses (1)………………………………………….. (2)……………………………………………...

Print name………………………………………… Home phone…………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Yoga by Candlelight (please tear off & give to Janet or Robin)
I would like to register for Hatha Yoga in Harmony on Tuesday nights from 7 p.m. and agree to pay by the term in advance, commencing 19th February.

Print name…………………………………….. Home phone……………. …… Signed………….……….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Harmony’s 12th Birthday in March (please tear off & give to Janet or Robin)
I would like to offer help to celebrate Harmony’s 12 years and Harmony Day on Saturday, 23rd March. 

Print name………………………………………… Home phone……………. 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
KinderCams (please tear off & give to Robin)
I am interested in connecting to KinderCams web cameras in Harmony for only $30 total fee. I would like a demonstration and a yellow questionnaire.

Print name………………………………………… Home phone…………..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Ideas for Speakers and Courses (please tear off & give to Janet or Robin)
I would be interested in the following speakers’ topics and courses:
Speakers’ topics (1)……………………………………. (2)…………………………………… 
Short courses (1)……………………………………. (2)……………………………………….

Print name………………………………………… Home phone………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Yoga by Candlelight (please tear off & give to Janet or Robin)
I would like to register for Hatha Yoga in Harmony on Tuesday nights from 7 p.m. and agree to pay by the term in advance, commencing 19th February.

Print name……………………………. Home phone……………. Signed………….……….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Harmony’s 12th Birthday in March (please tear off & give to Janet or Robin)
I would like to offer my help to families and Harmony to celebrate 12 years and Harmony Day on Saturday, 23rd March. 

Print name………………………………………… Home phone……………. 


KinderCams (please tear off & give to Robin)
I am interested in connecting to KinderCams web cameras in Harmony for only $30 total fee. I would like a demonstration and a yellow questionnaire.

Print name………………………………………… Home phone…………..