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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 61, 2015
3 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • SUMMER 2015 - ISSUE 61 Dear Colleagues, Welcome to the last Reflections magazine for the year. This time last year, we were awaiting the response from the Government to the Productivity Commission Report. It has been a year where debate has been energised concerning the importance of early childhood in the education system and, particularly, in the transition to school. ECEC has been very much in the media as a voice for our children, and we have challenged with confidence the right to play in the early years. In this issue of Reflections we have inspiring stories to share and, as always, knowledge to impart. We particularly appreciate the contribution by ECEC practitioners who have put effort and time into sharing their experiences and learnings with us all. Jo Darbyshire, from Fairholme College Kindy in Toowoomba has shared her inspiring and heart-warming journey of discovery that was prompted by 'Jessie' and the challenges she faced during her first weeks in kindergarten. The result involved a study of Auslan (the language of the deaf and hearing-impaired community in Australia) and encompassed the kindergarten children, staff, families and the school community in a new and ongoing learning journey. 'Risk' has had a lot of 'bad press' over the last few years and is generally viewed as something to be measured and avoided at all cost! But some educators ask, are children given enough risk in their day-to-day lives, are they being wrapped in cotton wool and is that a good thing? From their viewpoint of children as competent learners, Kate Stone and Christina Lipitkas challenge the idea of risk as a bad thing and share with readers the benefits of their exploration into benefit-risk assessment with children. In another inspiring account, Cathy Cameron discusses the actions taken by Teng, the owner of a childcare service, as he worked to gain a better understanding of the National Quality Standard, of the theory behind good early childhood practice and of the importance of involving staff in a meaningful commitment to good practice. Teng's story is a challenge to us all to do better and to learn more. In a very satisfying in-depth article, Fiona Starry answers all our questions on handedness and gives us some understanding of the life of a left-hander. From the discovery that left-handed Fiona spins a hula hoop in the opposite direction to the 'norm', we gain some insight into the development of hand preference, are encouraged to bring awareness of handedness into early childhood environments, learn about the connection between handedness, and the brain and get to ponder whether there is, indeed, a 'right way'! Darlene Woodhall and Alison Rowley share with readers their exploration of indoor/ outdoor play as part of a program of supported professional learning. Their article traces their initial tentative inquiry and their increasingly robust academic discussions, observations and documentation. We can all surely identify with their real life struggles and achievements. If you are looking for quality professional development, take some time to view Gowrie Australia's 'Theory in to Practice' program. This is a professional learning partnership between Lady Gowrie Centres in NSW, SA, Vic, Tas and QLD. For Certificate and Diploma courses, Gowrie Centres from Vic, SA and Tasmania offer training in up skilling qualifications. Find out more! We would like to thank Jo Musumeci, our wonderful Editor, for the many years of work she has put into her position on Reflections magazine, and it is with sadness that we see her moving onto new projects. Many heartfelt thanks Jo. There is just room left for me to join with my colleagues, Ros Cornish, Kaye Colmer, Natalie Grenfell, , Tonia Westmore and Andrew Hume to wish you all Season's Greetings. Thank you for your continued patronage and a very Happy New Year. Jane Bourne on behalf of Gowrie Australia. editorial contents Communicating Quietly 4 Benefit-Risk Assessments with Children 8 The Power of Professional Learning 11 A Show of Hands.... a meditation on handedness 12 Understanding Practice through Professional Learning 16 Back Cover - National & International Conference Updates 20 Access an e-copy of Reflections at: www.gowrie-brisbane.com.au www.gowriesa.org.au www.gowriensw.com.au www.gowrie-tas.com.au www.gowrievictoria.org.au www.gowrie-wa.com.au Natalie Grenfell -- Gowrie NSW Andrew Hume -- Gowrie Victoria Jane Bourne -- The Gowrie (QLD) Inc Kaye Colmer -- Gowrie SA Tonia Westmore -- The Gowrie (WA) Inc Ros Cornish -- Lady Gowrie Tasmania GOWRIE CEOs
Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015