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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 55 Winter 2014
12 While the common goal of creating a Children's Handbook took the form of a similar process of implementation across the two sites (Carlton North and Docklands), the outcomes were different, reflecting the children in their own community: Carlton North The process began by asking children at group time if they were staying in the same room the following year, moving to a different room, or going to school. The conversation moved to what new children coming into the room next year would need to know. The children came up with ideas relating to the different play spaces, rules, responsibilities and practicalities of knowing, for example, where the toilets, fruit basket, plates and cups are kept. The children were extremely creative but quite serious in their responses: 'If they follow the trail, they will know where the toilets are.' 'You can't put any forks in the toilet, the toilet will get blocked.' 'We need to show them what to do with their painting - they need to put their name on it and put it on the drying rack.' 'They need to know how to share and be kind to other children.' Using the elements of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) to help us focus and articulate the learning that was occurring during this experience, we were able to support children to effectively communicate their ideas through group discussions and through drawn, written and photographed images. Educators intentionally set aside many weeks for this process to unfold, knowing it would take time for children to formulate their own ideas, opinions and be confident to explore different ways to contribute to the project. Another element of intentional teaching came through the second part of the process where we asked children to take on the responsibility of showing new peers around the environment. As a result, a 'checklist' was developed listing important things for new children to remember and see. The children took photos of important places and responsibilities and these were printed as a table providing an area for children to write yes, or place a tick, as they completed each 'task'. The checklist was attached to a clipboard and pen so the children could refer to it and mark off elements when completed. This component provided children with something concrete and purposeful to work with to maximize their learning during the orientation process. This process also enabled children to express pro-social behaviours in helping others, listening, sharing and being responsible. For example: Noa, Jasper and Luca showed Alyse around. Jasper held her hand and Noa and Luca worked through the checklist. They both held onto the checklist to steady it with Noa doing the ticking. Docklands At Docklands, the children in the kindergarten program drove much of the process. We started by asking the children what they would want to know if they had just started in a new place. It's always impressive to ask a group of pre-schoolers what they know on any given topic, because inevitably a wealth of knowledge just pours out, and you get an insight into what is important to each of them. Sometimes it's little things that you hadn't even considered. Docklands initially brainstormed in a large group, with smaller groups meeting and coming up with questions over a two-month period. We asked the children to consider questions such as: How can we make people feel welcome? What do children need to bring to Gowrie? What can children do if they are hurt, worried, or need to get changed?
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Magazine Issue 54