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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 55 Winter 2014
13 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • WINTER 2014 - ISSUE 55 The Docklands Handbook became a more 'interactive' one, as the Docklands service is much larger than the Carlton North service, with nine different rooms. Each child was given a sheet of stick-in photos of educators, and spaces relevant to each individual room. While the book was primarily the work of the 3 to 5 year olds, we had a fantastic contribution from 1½ year old Zara who walked her educator through the process of a nappy change: showing where nappies and change of clothes are kept, walking up the steps to the change table, lying down on it, wiping down the mat, getting down from change table, washing hands with soap and drying them. This is a great example of how a younger child can demonstrate knowledge, understanding and agency. As part of our reflective process feedback is welcomed and instrumental to our ongoing cycle of learning. This is what some parents had to stay: 'I liked the list of things to bring. We have cut it out and put it on the wall.' 'When we got home that night she immediately cut out your photos and stuck them in, and was proud to show me what was in the handbook.' 'After being at Gowrie for two months, I think it was a good way for him to process the experience, and it gave me the opportunity to point out that the teachers are there if he needs help.' 'We really liked being able to read the Book with our son, who started at Gowrie this year. It was a very good way of inducting him and helping him to feel some ownership of his room and teachers, and the outdoor space.' 'It's been easy dropping my child off each morning; he knows where everything else is thanks to the Book and races into play. It doesn't feel like a child care centre it is more a learning environment.' Conclusion We know that children learn best when they are actively engaged in relevant real life situations. Whilst the project was initially about hearing children's voices in the orientation process it became so much more than that. Elements of literacy, numeracy, responsibility, pro-social actions, communication, collaboration and a sense of community involved children developing in all areas of the EYLF. This project was also about how the adults in our community (educators, staff, parents and family members) viewed children, and was an exercise in highlighting their potential. Giving children opportunities enables their agency to be demonstrated in meaningful ways. We know that children learn best when they are actively engaged in relevant real life situations. Whilst the project was initially about hearing children's voices in the orientation process it became so much more than that. The photo of the two girls on our cover and this drawing of people hugging were used together on one page of the handbook with the caption .... 'They would need to know how to share and be kind to other children.' India 5.3 years
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Magazine Issue 54