Early Learning reflection from Sonja Wiedenmaier

Extended Hours Coordinator and Early Childhood Teacher Sonja Wiedenmaier has shared a reflection from the recent Vacation Care in Early Learning Centre.

“As we head towards welcoming all Early Learning children on campus from 18 October, we continue to explore ways to keep children and staff as safe as possible at this time,” Head of Early Learning Sarah Herbert said.

“Safe practices in early education and care programs during COVID-19 includes a wide range of measures, with ventilation featuring heavily on the IGS COVID-safe plan. 

“This term we’re taking many steps to maximise ventilation in the Centre, with a focus on conducting learning experiences outside wherever possible and extending the period of time for outdoor developmental play.

“We’re experimenting with picnic style meal times for some groups outdoors. The natural environment is calming for children. Often, children who may find it tricky to relax and participate in regular routines indoors, can join in more readily outdoors. Time spent outdoors enables exposure to fresh air and social distancing between children which offers the benefit of minimising risk during COVID-19.”

Enjoy Early Childhood Teacher Sonja Wiedenmaier’s reflection:

By their very nature, children are often present in what they are doing. They notice life’s precious beauties such as a delicate butterfly, hidden rainbows in the sky and stars sparkling brightly in the night sky. They possess the ability to experience many emotions, sometimes with and sometimes, perhaps, without thought; when children are sad they might cry and when they are happy they might share this through smiles and laughter.

Relaxation, yoga and mindfulness are among the many ways to teach children essential life skills that allow them to remain true to themselves and their nature. They can offer children the opportunity to listen to their hearts and to what it is that makes them feel, not only happy, but safe and supported.

During the recent Vacation Care period, the team explored various ways to utilise the Early Learning outdoor space to its full potential. With the intention of using a highly ventilated area and in wanting to create a sense of calm, the outdoor green space was proposed for relaxation after lunch time.

The children quickly selected a yoga mat and settled into their own space with books, whilst listening to the soft music playing in the background. Music, stories read aloud and guided meditation created a positive response from all of the children, including those who might usually need support to regulate themselves at rest time.

Was it hearing the many birds around us or perhaps just being able to  feel and hear the wind brush by that allowed the group to calm their bodies and enjoy their time together?

With the outdoor tables set up with various quiet activities such as puzzles, LEGO and drawing, the music softened. Without disturbing the sleeping children, in the room beside the garden, the children took this cue to gradually clean and roll up their own yoga mats, return any books they had used and then smoothly transition to tables.

It was wonderful to reflect on this experience, as it highlighted the children’s strong sense of agency and ability to self-regulate, while promoting safe and meaningful transition during their day.