Building waterfalls curriculum newsletter 1

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					                                                             Building waterfalls curriculum newsletter

                                                                                                        Volume 1 2007

                                                                                     Building waterfalls suggests
                                                                                     that adults should ask
Welcome to the first edition of Cascades − the
companion newsletter to Building waterfalls -                                        • Is documentation used to visualise the
                                                                                       thinking of both children and adults?
A living and learning curriculum framework for
                                                                                     • Does documentation incorporate the
adults and children (birth to school age).                                             voices of children and parents?
Building waterfalls is a curriculum framework that invites                           • Does documentation capture all of the
early childhood professionals, together with children and           languages of expression of children?
families, to fill with it life in a way that is meaningful to       • How are children and families engaged in the
their lives and their contexts. There are no prescriptions or         process of documentation?
formulas to follow. Rather educators use their professional         • Is documentation used to inform, reflect and learn?
knowledge supported by the principles inherent in the
                                                                    • Who is the documentation for?
framework to guide them as they explore the many
possibilities that are afforded to them on a daily basis in their     BW p17
work with children and families.
The stories shared in this newsletter, like the ripples found
in Building waterfalls, are from your colleagues in early
childhood. They are honest stories about the personal journey
of each contributor as they navigate their own way through
Building waterfalls. Together the stories provide insight into
                                                                    Have you ever wondered where the Building                   1
a myriad of ways of seeing, thinking and doing. What is             waterfalls swirl came from?
consistent, however, is each contributor’s willingness to:          This series of photos shows how the children at Campus
                                                                    C&K Kindergarten, with and alongside artist Sharon Clark,
• view children as competent and capable
                                                                    explored the properties of water in designing the artwork
• view learning as a collaborative endeavour
                                                                    for our curriculum.
• engage in listening, dialogue and critically reflective
  teaching practices
• make their thinking visible
• work in partnership with families and communities
• engage in the possibility of change.
     BW p20
Throughout the newsletter we have made specific references
to excerpts in Building waterfalls.
These are noted as “BW” with the relevant page number and
this symbol    . Reflections from the curriculum resource team
are also included as further thinking opportunities. These are
noted in blue text with the Building waterfalls swirl. We hope
you find this a useful strategy to support your understanding
of the curriculum.
In this edition we have chosen to share stories about the
documentation of children’s learning. By allowing their
thinking to become “public” each storyteller provides an
insight into how early childhood professionals seek ways
to connect and engage with new information when it is
presented to them. In each story you will sense the critical
self-reflection, questioning, experimentation and sometimes
uncertainty experienced by each contributor. These are valued
stories that need to be told. They are neither “right” nor
“wrong”. As you engage with each story we hope
that you, too, may find your own place in the Building
waterfalls journey.

              Connecting                      Enlarging                  Listening                     Exploring
    Curriculum prompts philosophy                                                                  rethink
    Jo Sorensen teaches in the 3-5 room at C&K Kelvin Grove Community                          It is also very meaningful to
    Childcare Centre. Jo is using Building waterfalls as a framework for her                   the children to see that we
    planning each day. This is Jo’s story.
                                                                                               take action on their ideas
                                                                                               and suggestions. There is a
    I was very fortunate to be involved          The children reflect upon their               great deal of ownership for
    in the curriculum working party for          individual and group experiences.             our room and the program
    Building waterfalls and couldn’t wait        They document this using the digital
    to put this document into practice at        camera and or pictorially. Often children     and the children get a buzz
    Kelvin Grove. Since the first week in        will want their story written down.           when we acknowledge
    August 2006 we have been on a journey,
    slowly evolving and sharing our new
                                                 Contributions valued                          whose idea it was.
    program with all participants in our         » Planning is happening continuously
    community − parents, children, centre        and collaboratively as children and           Portfolio partnerships
    staff and staff from other centres. All      adults together create opportunities
                                                                                               We use portfolios and have a table
    program documents are on display             for living and learning through
                                                                                               we call “Portfolio Partnerships”. This
    within the room reinforcing that it is a     spontaneous and unpredictable
                                                                                               space was designed to further promote
    collaborative process with the children      encounters ( BW p16).
                                                                                               partnerships between staff, parents and
    that ensures their valid perspectives                                                      children. All participants are encouraged
    are included. Their ideas as well as staff   As much as possible l try to ensure that      to contribute their ideas, thoughts or
    observations drive the program.              the documentation is completed during         experiences. Photos of children and
    » Jo is making her thinking visible          that day. Often there may be a small          adults are displayed in a variety of
2   through documentation that                   group of children who sit down with me        combinations to give others the idea
    engages children, colleagues                 at rest time and contribute. As we are        that everyone can join in. We also have
    and families ( BW p20).                      multi-age many of the older children          suggestions for events from home that
                                                 choose not to rest, so this is an ideal       could be added, such as trips or holidays.
    Children sharing                             time. It is also very meaningful to the       The low table has several chairs and a
    Throughout the day the children are          children to see that we take action on        collection of pens, pencils, scissors, glue
    involved in active discussions, for          their ideas and suggestions. There is a       sticks, rulers and staplers. The portfolios
    example, what experiences they would         great deal of ownership for our room          are on a small table beside this making
    like to continue with, what resources        and the program and the children get a        them accessible to all. Children often
    they would like to access and the            buzz when we acknowledge whose                flick through and revisit previous
    organisation of the environment and          idea it was.                                  experiences, add a drawing, write some
    routines. Children actively participate in                                                 words or staple something in. It is great
    all aspects of the program, including the
                                                 » Children are learning to reflect on         to see this as a shared experience rather
                                                 and evaluate ideas, actions and
    shared task of the daily evaluation.                                                       than just from one perspective.
                                                 relationships ( BW p49).
                                                                                               » We are active negotiators in our own
                                                                                               learning ( BW p100).

                                                                                                   Children at
                                                                                                  Kelvin Grove
                                                                                             actively enagage
                                                                                               in contributing
                                                                                                  to their own

                                                                                                                    We encourage
                                                                                                                    all participants
                                                                                                                    to contribute
                                                                                                                    their ideas,
                                                                                                                    thoughts or
We are very realistic as to what we
can add to each portfolio. There are
45 families that attend across the week          Postscript from Jo                           documents of information and ideas
− some for one day others two and                                                             that the children have co-created.
usually not on consecutive days. We              Going with the flow                          These program overviews are used
offer one addition to the portfolio per          Our Building waterfalls journey              more as a reflective tool to document
month if the child attends one day each          has ebbed and flowed and over                the range of spontaneous, flexible
week. There is often more as the child           time joined many other streams of            and continuous moments, thoughts
also contributes, or we have made a              ideas to carve out a wide, expansive         and visual images that happen every
group observation that we photocopy              and collaborative program. Since             day ( BW p50).
for everyone that day.                           beginning this journey in August last
                                                 year we have been gradually evolving,        Our “Portfolio Partnerships” table
Constant reflections                             filling up and almost overflowing with       began as a way to share and
Every day l think about my actions/              ideas for our program.                       encourage parents, children and
interactions and the resulting reactions/                                                     others to contribute to and become
                                                 Previously we had viewed the program
interactions of children/staff/parents and                                                    more involved in our program. We
                                                 from the teacher’s perspective
the environment. Every week we have a                                                         began with a simple table with two
                                                 using terminology such as “Planned
team meeting with the other staff in the                                                      chairs that had to be expanded to four
                                                 program focus”. This way of
room, writing down our reflections.                                                           chairs as the children would gather
                                                 viewing, organising and presenting
I strongly believe that stopping to                                                           throughout the day to add a drawing
                                                 the learning environments did not
reflect and think has enabled, not only                                                       or photo to their books, or to just
                                                 actually reflect the perspectives of all
myself, but our team to be more able                                                          sit and read, revisit and share past
                                                 participants in our program.
to offer a high quality holistic and                                                          experiences with peers and adults.
                                                 As we navigated our way through              The portfolios became very well used,
collaborative program.
                                                 the new curriculum I found myself            often tatty and in need of repair,
                                                 rethinking everything. Every day I           though obviously truly shared.
According to Joce Nuttall, socio-cultural
                                                 took the time to question and reflect,
theory challenges us to question:                                                             The change from what we would
                                                 transcribing these thoughts down in a
• Whose thinking is being privileged in          diary to share at our weekly meeting.        have previously offered is having a
  making curriculum decisions?                                                                tremendous effect on the direction
                                                 Over time we have changed the                                                         3
• Who makes the decisions about                                                               and flow of our program and the
                                                 planning formats from what we
  what is worthwhile?                                                                         way we will go in the future will be
                                                 had traditionally shared with the
• Of all the possible interpretations                                                         determined by the collection of many.
                                                 parents and children to collaborative
  who makes the decision about which
  ones will be offered to children and

                                                                                                            Building waterfalls in
                                                                                                            action ... C&K Kelvin
                                                                                                            Grove teacher
                                                                                                            Jo Sorensen.

                                                                                                             I strongly
                                                                                                             believe that
                                                                                                             stopping to
                                                                                                             reflect and
                                                                                                             think has
                                                                                                             enabled, not
                                                                                                             only myself,
                                                                                                             but our team
                                                                                                             to be more
                                                                                                             able to offer
                                                                                                             a high quality
                                                                                                             holistic and
                                        Connecting with families … Bucasia Kindergarten on the               program.
                                        northern beaches of Mackay created this display, which was
                                        developed to assist parents understand Building waterfalls.
                                        It sits in the foyer of the kindy, beside the sign-in book
                                        where parents can take their time to read it prior to collecting
                                        their children.
    Innovative documentation
    Nicole Drew (pictured) is a teacher at C&K Arnwood Place Community Childcare Centre. Nicole is continually
    re-thinking the way she documents curriculum and has used the introduction of Building waterfalls to
    re-assess what she is doing within her room. This is Nicole’s story.

    Teaching in the 3-5 room of a long day
    childcare centre has many challenges.
    Issues such as time and enrolment
    patterns seem to be the most prevalent
    and relevant to every teacher I have
    met in the childcare field. At present
    we have 59 children enrolled in the 3-5
    room alone over the course of a week.
    Their enrolment patterns range from
    single days, part-time, full-time, split
    week and alternate week arrangements.
    Working together
    Building waterfalls has encouraged us
    to think of innovative ways to document
    our program with considerable
    thought going into time management
4   techniques and ideas. At present we are
    allocated two hours a week non-contact
    time, therefore, most documentation
    is recorded during the normal day.
    Working very closely with my co-workers
    and the children, documentation
    is completed on a daily basis in a
    collaborative effort.
                                                                                              Children are learning to ... engage in
    The most exciting part about using portfolios is they are                                 and enjoy a rich range of texts.
    out to be seen. Parents and children are encouraged to add
    to them and look at them whenever they please ( BW p37).
                                                  drawings – really anything the child        continual use of the portfolio by all is
    Documentation is recorded in
                                                  or their family would like to include.      an inspiring approach to us. They are
    various forms ranging from the daily
                                                  Children’s drawings and thoughts are        looked at and appreciated and make
    program book, individual portfolio
                                                  transcribed for them if they request it.    all the hard work worthwhile. It is very
    books, documented photo albums,
                                                                                              rewarding watching parents bring in
    brainstorming posters, documented             Keen interest                               their friends or other family members
    children’s stories, drawings/artwork and      The most exciting part about using          just to show them their child’s portfolio.
    video footage of the children at play or      portfolios is they are out to be seen.      Equally rewarding is watching the
    discussing ideas.                             Parents and children are encouraged to      children in excitement pull down their
    The daily program book is a way               add to them and look at them whenever       book in the afternoon and share what
    of documenting the spontaneous                they please.                                they have done with their mum or dad.
    experiences occurring throughout the
    day and the ways in which they are
                                                  » Forming a partnership between the         It’s great to see the progress from neat
                                                  centre and each child’s family is central   new book at the beginning of the year
    embraced and extended upon. Both                                                          to a worn, well used and appreciated
                                                  to providing effective care.
    inside and outside experiences are                                                        piece of work.
                                                  These partnerships are characterised by
                                                  open and extensive communication            Because the documentation is written
    The children’s portfolios share the child’s   ( BW p33).                                  during the day, with and alongside
    individual story, their perspectives on                                                   the children, we have no set time
    life and their continual learning journey     Each child’s learning is documented
                                                                                              allocated to write about a particular
    while attending our centre. From the          and used in planning the program
                                                                                              child ( BW p102). It is more a
    very first day children are encouraged        (Accreditation Handbook, Accreditation
                                                                                              spontaneous experience. Often children
    to take ownership of their books.             Principle 3.2 LDC).
                                                                                              will just go and help themselves to the
    Each portfolio contains a variety of          Parents and children had no idea of         books, and at other times watching us
    information, observations, planning,          the scope and detail of documentation       write in the books seems to encourage
    photos, children’s writing and                filed away each year. Displaying and        them to be more actively involved.
Postscript from Nicole                      Children’s individual portfolios             and I will sit around the table during the
                                                                                         day working on them together.
Since first writing my thoughts in          Each child has an individual portfolio in
October last year, we have changed          which observations about their day, their    Around the room
the style of our documentation around       experiences and learning opportunities       Documentation is everywhere in our
several times. I find I am continually      are reflected upon in a story-like format.   room and is constantly being added
thinking, reflecting and evaluating what    Everyone in the room, including children     to and changed. Children’s artwork
I am doing and why.                         and parents, are free to contribute to       is displayed together with a story.
                                            these books.                                 This is the children’s work and often
Daily Program Book
                                            We believe that by encouraging the           just through asking open-ended
To begin, I had developed a program                                                      questions, I am able to scribe down their
                                            children and parents to contribute to
format (template) which was filled in                                                    thoughts, understandings and stories
                                            the books we are sharing ownership
daily. The advantage of this system was                                                  to accompany their displayed work.
                                            of each child’s learning journey and
that my co-workers and relief staff could                                                Photos with simple explanations or long
                                            acknowledging that learning doesn’t
easily complete the form when I was                                                      narratives are also displayed around
                                            stop once the children leave our gates
unable to do so, and in some ways I still                                                the room, as well as the children’s
                                            every afternoon ( BW p50).
have some of its characteristics in the                                                  ideas on topics of interest gathered
style I am using now.                       Photos play an important role in the
                                            journals. Photos not only give me the        through brainstorms or making lists
At this point in time, I’m working on                                                    ( BW p122). Most work is displayed
                                            time to remember back and reflect, but
building a daily reflection album/journal                                                at the children’s level and they love
                                            also we believe they can say many things
in which pre-typed headings and words                                                    bringing in their family to show them
                                            and can be interpreted differently by all
can be stuck in alongside photos,                                                        their work. I once caught a dad taking
                                            those who view them. Generally photos
written reflections and children’s work                                                  a photo of his child’s artwork (with
                                            are dated, with a comment on what is
or prescribed ideas.                                                                     her own story attached), on his mobile
                                                             happening and what
                                                             led to the photo            phone after she dragged him inside to
                                                             being taken.                show him. He told me he took the photo

                                                           I once caught a dad taking a photo of his child’s
                                                           artwork (with her own story attached), on his                              5
                                                           mobile phone after she dragged him inside to
                                                           show him. He told me he took the photo so he
                                                           could send it on to show all his family.

This is similar to my template idea, but
is more flexible as it can be changed and                                                so he could send it on to show all
added to as the need arises. The journal                                                 his family.
focuses on reflecting upon what the                                                      Collaborative documentation
children are doing, their interests, what                                                Documentation is recorded consistently
they may be learning and reflecting                                                      throughout each working day,
upon, how myself or other adults and                                                     alongside and with the children.
the environment can foster and extend                                                    It is a collaborative effort with all
these learning opportunities. I still                                                    involved including my co-workers and
believe this is a work-in-progress and                                                   our director ( BW p110). I often sit
will probably change in the future as I                                                  down at the children’s level to write
explore further.                                                                         the documentation and I am always
                                                                                         guaranteed to have helpers. Children
» Teacher’s narrative is more                                                            tell me what to write; they talk about
than describing and providing                                                            the photos and contribute their own
a commentary of children’s                                                               work in the form of pictures and pre-
                                                                                         writing which is always added. All of
experiences. Narrative can include
                                                                                         our documentation is focused around
reflection, professional thinking,
                                                                                         the children and the uniqueness of
questions, ideas and possibilities                                                       individual groups each day.
– that self-talk we practise as we
                                                                                         Documentation is reflective of each
carry out our craft of teaching.
                                                                                         day, the experiences, the spontaneity
Teacher’s narrative not only                                                             and our ability to embrace and extend
provides an insight into children                                                        opportunities for learning. The way in
and their learning it also conveys          Children’s thoughts or memories are also
                                                                                         which I record this in my room is my
                                            scribed for them.
powerful messages to other adults                                                        unique journey that I will continue to
                                            Children have access to their portfolios     follow as I gain more and more insight
about teacher’s intentions
                                            throughout the day and can add to            into Building waterfalls.
( BW p50).
                                            them as they please. Often the children
    Building on the past – looking to the future
    Rosemary Lacey is the director of Jamboree Community Kindergarten                           Here are some examples from
    and Preschool. The following is a reflection on Rosemary’s journey                          Rosemary’s monthly reports to
                                                                                                parents. She incorporates the
    with Building waterfalls as retold by former C&K consultant Gina                            language of Building waterfalls into
    Pertile.                                                                                    her descriptions of the children’s
                                                                                                play and learning.
    When Building waterfalls was launched       been a difficult learning journey and           “Children are learning to engage in
    Rosemary embarked on her journey of         that her thinking was still in a state of       imaginary play using resources and
    discovery. The first thing she did was      flux. She believes that practitioners have      actions to represent ideas, feelings and
    to read it and read it and read it again    to start working with the document              understandings ( BW p127) in their
    – and she continues to do so. Secondly,     so that the terminology and concepts            never ending fascination with pirates
    Rosemary attempted to marry Building        become familiar and one can begin to            demonstrated through show-and-tell
    waterfalls with the Preschool Curriculum    develop an understanding.                       items, the clothing they wear each day
    Guidelines, by cross-referencing the                                                        as well as focusing on and playing with
    currents of thought with the Foundation
    Learning Areas.
                                                » Rosemary is demonstrating how she             pirate props at outdoor time.”
                                                is living out the shared understandings         “The children were able to actively
    Rosemary then began to document             of Building waterfalls by connecting            explore and investigate the environment
    this process in her feedback to parents     with families ( BW p30) and                     and the properties of materials and
    using, Appendix 1 Building waterfalls in    demonstrating her willingness to                resources ( BW p115) and contribute to
    context ( BW p132) as a basis for her       explore, investigate and discover new           the documentation of the curriculum
    thinking.                                   ways ( BW p114).                                ( BW p109) when they participated
    She did this for two reasons. Firstly,                                                      in the ‘The Shape Game’… The children
6   Rosemary had not completely                                                                 created their own ‘shape game’ at the
    transitioned to the new language and                                                        easels over several weeks.”
    secondly she wanted to put Building
    waterfalls in context, especially as
    she had always used the Foundation                                                          » By highlighting in bold the direct
    Learning Areas as her framework with                                                        quotes from Building waterfalls
    the parents.                                                                                Rosemary is identifying connections
    My last conversation with Rosemary                                                          between the children’s play and learning
    was about abandoning the terminology                                                        and Building waterfalls, and at the same
    of the Foundation Learning Areas and                                                        time helping parents to navigate their
    embracing the terminology of Building                                                       way through the document as they read
    waterfalls. Rosemary said that this had     Children are learning to ... consider possib-   it for the first time.
                                                ilities and make choices (    BW p132).

    Postscript from Rosemary                    Building waterfalls initially, but now           regular basis. This will give everyone
    March 2007                                  feel and see enormous potential and              a starting point which will ensure
                                                scope to inform and communicate my               they are looking at the daily life of
                                                teaching and the children’s individual           Jamboree Community and everything
    Every time I pick Building waterfalls
                                                learning and development with more               that happens in it through the Building
    up there is always something new to
                                                flexibility and variety. I plan to read and      waterfalls lens.
    think through in the light of the daily
                                                re read so I can continue to absorb and
    curriculum and my thinking about how
                                                learn from this document.
    the children are exploring, listening                                                        » We are all curriculum leaders and
    and connecting (still having trouble        After much discussion with my co-                learners. Rosemary is fostering a
    feeling really comfortable with the         workers, the reflection pages at the             culture of learning within the service
    term, enlarging*).                          end of each shared understanding                 by exploring ways in which she
                                                in Building waterfalls (which I found            can support the change process by
    I remember thinking some of the
                                                just too much to absorb last year),              encouraging all members of the team
    Preschool Curriculum Guidelines initially
                                                will become the basis for our team               to engage with new ideas and ways of
    sounded like a foreign language, but
                                                reflection. Each team member will                thinking collaboratively.
    eventually I adapted and really liked
                                                record a written reflection by selecting
    using them. So I thought the same of
                                                for themselves from each list on a

    *Enlarging recognises children as competent and capable. It is inspired by Indigenous
    educational philosophy that views everywhere as a learning place and everyone as
    having an educational role through the process of enlarging identity through relatedness
    and respect ( BW p6).
Inspiring environments
Sharon McKinlay is the director of C&K Millmerran Community                                 This year, parents are telling me their
Pre-schooling Centre – a long day care service with a DECKAS                                children want to come to kindy more
                                                                                            often. A day does not go by that we
funded kindergarten program embedded within it. This is Sharon’s                            don’t receive at least one positive
journey so far.                                                                             comment about our environment,
                                                                                            program or staff. Parents are sharing
One spring day last year, I arrived          child’s portfolio on the computer. I insert    more about their home environment
at work to find a copy of Building           the photos onto a PowerPoint slide             and will, in time I believe, begin to
waterfalls on my desk. That night I          and tell the story in a text box. Space        include their stories into their children’s
began to read and I became hooked            is left for the child and parent to tell       portfolios.
when I came across the section: “in living   their story. I copy and paste the Building     Every time I dive into Building waterfalls
and learning environments that”. From        waterfalls links and change a few words        I find something more – something to
that moment I started bringing Building      to personalise the currents of thought.        challenge and think deeper. Building
waterfalls into my environment.              The slide is put into the child’s portfolio    waterfalls is not a book to be left on
                                             where staff, children and parents can          the book shelf. It has made a huge
Home away from home
                                             access and add to it. The portfolios           difference in our centre.
I began by developing the third teacher
                                             also include artwork, discussions and          * See page 8 for Sharon’s success story
– the environment. I wanted to create
                                             whatever else the children and their           for helping one little boy settle in.
a beautiful place so I introduced some
                                             families want to include.
homely furnishings – a couch,
soft furnishings, plants. The children
helped me create a large “welcome”              Learning circle                              shelf, then together we either go find
sign on canvas. I began to include              Sharon is an active member of a              it or try to work out how else we could
the children in how the environment             Building waterfalls online learning          solve the problem.                            7
was set up ( BW p33).                           circle operating across Queensland.          Do I have an appreciation that different
From the moment I started to change             We have included some of her                 ways of doing and being can be equally
the environment, parents started                dialogue to demonstrate the                  valid and contribute to a richness of
commenting on how warm, comfortable             collaborative learning that is possible      understanding? Is this a community
and relaxed they felt – that they wanted        when early childhood professionals           of enquiry that supports children to
to stay here all day.                           share their knowledge.                       think for themselves and to think with
Importance of photos                                                                         others? Does this environment allow
                                                Planning has always been a struggle          children to contribute to decision
I had already been using digital
                                                for me. I’d spend time writing up a          making and goal setting? Are we
photography for documentation, but
                                                plan from the children’s observations        modeling wonder and curiosity? Are
wanted to bring Building waterfalls
                                                to support their developmental needs,        we allowing children to create and
into it. I began by working backwards.
                                                extend their interests and challenge         represent their thoughts and ideas in
I started with the photo and asked
                                                them more. I would take the plan             their own ways?
myself: how are the currents of thought
related to what the child was doing in          the next day and guess what − the
the photo and my observation?                   children’s interests had changed. They Sharon’s “I wonder what we will do
I encouraged the children to come up to         were not interested in my planned       today” plan.
the computer and asked them to tell me          experiences and I was becoming
about the photo. This is when I realised        frustrated because the children weren’t
                                                                                               Welcome to Fri
there was so much more happening in             doing what I wanted them to do (or
                                                what I felt they should be doing).
                                                                                                         16 March 2007
their play than what I was observing. As
the child spoke, I typed what they said         Do I see a rich, competent and capable
                                                                                                                  n made both
beside the picture. Then I would read           child in front of me?                       Last week, the rai          The trucks,
their story back to them. From here,            Am I willing to question my own              the   dirt and sand wet.       put to
with Building waterfalls opened on my           beliefs and change in the light of new       diggers    and shovels were         team
                                                understandings?                               good use as    Jack managed his
                                                                                                                    er what Jack
lap, I began to include the currents of
thought.                                        So, I now start the day with a “I             of workers! I wond s and his gang
                                                                                              has planned for Le
                                                wonder what we will do today” plan                                   me safety helmets
Involving parents
                                                and share my ideas with the children. I       today. I will add so
At departure time, I sit down with the
                                                have a visual diary where all the team         to the work site.
                                                                                                                     a popular area for
                                                                                               The deck has been
parents, discuss Building waterfalls,
                                                record what happens throughout the
                                                                                                                    Maybe I should
                                                                                                creative drawing. t the children
and show them the slide show of the
                                                day. The children may add to this with
                                                                                                add some tape so
day, which allows them to read what
                                                                                                                    m the natural
                                                their visual representations.
the children are saying. Parents are                                                            can add items fro
                                                Our environment is open. I do not have                                ir art work.
encouraged to take a copy of Building
                                                any set up activities on the tables −            environment to the
waterfalls home.                                                                                                       t with some music
                                                the tables are left open − equipment             We will experimen s and different
                                                                                                 today. Different so at stories the
This year, I included the Building
                                                is on open shelves. If a child asks for
                                                                                                  sounds. I wonder
waterfalls framework into a PowerPoint
                                                something that is not on the open
                                                                                                  children choose to
document and copied this into each
    Attending a new centre can be an overwhelming challenge for                                              We are developing attachments and
    some children. With support, compassion and understanding, C&K                                           trusting relationships with Alex so that
                                                                                                             he feels safe, nurtured and cared for.
    Millmerran’s Sharon McKinlay helps make the transition a smooth one
    for a particular boy. The following are excerpts from Alex’s portfolio.                                  » Sharon is exploring how her
                                                                                                             documentation can incorporate
                                                                                                             reflective dialogue and at the
    Smooth transitions                                hammering. He selected materials from                  same time her teaching intentions
    Today was Alex’s first day at kindy               the nearby carpentry box.                              with Alex’s parents.
    without his big sister, Paige. Mum carried        However, it wasn’t long before Alex
    Alex into the centre. Alex’s first job was        began to miss his mum. We found                        Alex took my hand and led me into
    to sign himself in … and look what a              one of Alex’s favourite toys – the bike.               the bathroom. He pointed to the
    great job he did (see below).                     This made Alex happy and he continued                  change mat. I asked him if he needed
                                                      to play.                                               his nappy changed. Alex nodded. I
    » Environments allow time and space               We are acknowledging Alex’s right
                                                                                                             let Alex know that I would get his
    for the arrival and departure rituals of                                                                 clean nappy. By the time I got back,
                                                      to express his feelings as we listen
    individuals and families ( BW p65).                                                                      Alex had taken his nappy off himself.
                                                      sensitively with genuine interest and
                                                                                                             While changing Alex’s nappy, I played
    Alex was keen to start his day and his            warmth ( BW p58).
                                                                                                             “Round and round the garden” on his
    first choice was carpentry. Alex needed           Needs acknowledged                                     tummy. Alex giggled. After the nappy
    both hands to bang onto the wood.                 We are allowing Alex to develop a                      change, Alex washed his hands. “This
    When it looked like Alex was settled              sense of belonging and connection                      is the way we wash our hands, wash
    mum gave Alex a kiss goodbye.                     to others and to the environment by                    our hands, wash our hands. This is the
    When mum left, Alex continued the                 acknowledging his needs and feelings.                  way we wash our hands on a Friday
                                                                                                             Alex enjoys the running water and
                                                                                                             I choose to let him play here for a
                                                                                                             while. Alex opened up the cupboards
                                                                                                             to step up higher to the tap and reach
                                                                                                             the flowing water better.
8                                                                                                            Alex did enjoy exploring his new
                                                                                                             environment, but at times he did miss
                                                                                                             his mum. He took his family photo for
                                                                                                             a walk around the room with him and
                                                                                                             returned to it when he was feeling
                                                                                                             sad. He would hold the photo as he
                                                                                                             gave his mum a kiss.
                                                                                                             Alex is experiencing a living and
                                                                                                             learning environment that is
                                                                                                             unhurried, calm and respectful of
                                                                                                             his needs. Here he has a meaningful
                                                                                                             place where he can find traces of his
                                                                                                             life – mirrors, photographs of himself
                                    Some special items ensure the environment is a meaningful                and his family ( BW p59).
                                           place where Alex can find traces of his life.

                                                                                                             If you would like to
      Cascades will be produced 3-4 times each        Cascades is compiled by the
      year and will continue to share your            Building waterfalls curriculum                         join an online learning
      stories. Our next edition will feature          resource team: Tui Benson, Lyn                         circle or would like some
      Children’s Voice. Please forward your           Bower, Kim Davis, Kellie Dwyer, Ali
                                                      Evans, Will Jones, Lynne Moore,
                                                                                                             assistance to establish
      stories, photographs and children’s
      representations to:        Therese Landers, Tess Simpson, Lucy                    one in your region,
      or any member of the resource team by           Vanheck, edited by Libby Burke,                        please contact your
      31 May 2007.                                    design by Richard de Waal.
                                                                                                             C&K consultants.
                        REFERENCES: National Childcare Accreditation Council (2005) Quality Practices Guide, NCAC, Surrey Hills, NSW.
                        Nuttall, J (2005) Educators and children learning together: Reflections on the early childhood assessment exemplars,
                        in Early Education, No 38, Spring/Summer.

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