Update from Melissa
This opportunity really was one of a lifetime and certainly filled my knowledge bank with new ideas and inspiration. Alongside connecting with some wonderful people and gaining new friendships with people from across the globe. To consolidate everything I learned and gained both professionally and personally will take some time. Please enjoy this quick overview to give you some insight to begin with.
My host was Jette who was one of the educators from Denmark that participated in the staff host at KCCC last year.
Jette and the team had arranged some great outings around Copenhagen for us to develop a deepr understanding of the culture in Denmark. This included:
- A Canal tour followed by lunch at a huge street food hall with food from all over the world.
- Dinners out and invites to a number for the staff members homes for dinner (We certainly did not go hungry during our time in Copenhagen!)
- Culture night where we explored the history of Copenhagen
- A night at Tivoli gardens which was set up for Halloween and was incredible
- Market shopping
- And more…
Throughout my time at Frederiksberg I was able to participate in the 3-5 year old group alongside having some time in the babies room and of course the forest kindergarten 3-5 year olds.
Documentation and planning
I had time to really delve into the educators planning and documentation with the help of the pedagogs (educators) to translate this.
I will be reflecting on the forms of documentation we utilize at KCCC and with the educators we will reflect on the benefits of our current documentation and what improvements we could make looking at
- How are we tracking the trajectory of children’s learning?
- How we ensure we are reflecting on our own teaching?
- Is the current documentation meaningful and effective for all children, families and educators?
I also observed and participated in language groups to support children’s language and literature.
As a result will be looking at opportunities for small focus groups that might be beneficial for language development. We will utilize a multiple perspectives tool to reflect on this and look at the advantages and disadvantages for our context. We would be looking at utilizing children’s current interests and extending on these during these sessions if we felt they would be beneficial. Watch this space!
We implemented this program at KCCC in 2015 and the benefits have been outstanding. It was really fantastic to have the opportunity to see this program in action in Denmark and as a result I discovered further extension for this program. The main learning was that each time a book is read it is followed with an activity or experience so the children can relate the context of the book to their own experiences. We will also be looking into a space at KCCC where we can provide a quiet zone for this with the books and prompts readily available.
Each floor had a room that would turn into a sleep room during rest time whilst other rooms stayed open. Once the children are settled one educator stayed in the room. This allowed spare time for educators to do programming or alternatively engage with the children who are not sleeping during this time. This allowed more time for focus groups or time to provide experiences to further challenge older children. Alongside minimized disruption to the children’s environment with not having to transform all rooms for sleep time each day.
We (the educators at KCCCC) will be using this an opportunity to reflect on what sleep routines look like in the programs at KCCC. We will be reflecting on whether or not there may be scope for some changes to the sleeping structure.
We will use a multiple perspectives tool to explore the advantages and disadvantages alongside the benefits should we change the sleep structure.
We have some ideas to consider and will keep you posted. Watch this space!
School focus groups
After visiting one of the other services they spoke about their school groups where they take children up to the school and utilize one of their classrooms. They work in small groups at this time and partake in school like experiences. KCCC has a strong connections with Holy Rosary and Kensington Primary and a solid transition program for the kindergarten children. We have been working on establishing some programs for the 3-5 year old children already. Through providing the children from 3 years on opportunity to become familiar with the school environment using the school library and other facilities.
Allowing the children to be a participant in the environment will support them in knowing what to expect when it is time to transition to school and help with anxiety for some children about the change. We will utilize this inspiration to continue this work and look at how we can strengthen the connection and programs with the two local schools. Again we have some ideas and will keep you posted. Watch this space!
Where to begin? The environment was so rich for the children, the accessibility to nature, the challenges and risky play were really aligned with the values of KCCC and our mission. The programs were still structured in that they had expectations to have focus groups and dialogic reading. These occurred inside the house in small groups whilst the other children were outside. After lunch each day the children had play time inside where there were planned experiences provided, focusing on areas they wanted to extend on with the children or intentional teaching they wanted to introduce.
The children came inside the house for lunch and lunch time was used to read novels to the children or to talk about a topic with the group. There was always an intention behind the lunch time experience. In summer the children eat outside on the picnic tables.
The house was really lovely and had two rooms for the two groups alongside a large communal play room with an open fire. Which I can imagine in the midst of winter would be really inviting.
I had the opportunity to go deep into the forest for a morning adventure one day with the children. This was really incredible the children became totally immersed with the nature. Exploring their world all around. The educators took time to stop at each tree, flower, stick leaf or bug a child decided to explore and stood back providing the chid time to connect with this. When asked questions they provided knowledge. They stopped every now and again reminding the children to look up, look around and listen – exploring all of their senses with them in nature.
This year at KCCC we have increased our regular excursions. We have small groups of children going to the Maribyrnong river, the trains, the park, schools, local shops and many more places. We will continue these and explore how we can further enhance the programs within our context.
Update from Shazia
While in Denmark I had the opportunity to meet, connect and develop friendship with some wonderful and very hospitable people. My host was a university student and daughter of the parent board member at Frederiksberg centre. Sara my host made me feel incredibly welcome opening up her small and cosy apartment provided me with lots of information about different local places.
Ana Sofie, Jette and the team had arranged some great outings around Copenhagen for and Melissa and I to experience the culture and link this to our work.
- A walk tour to the city central and around, to explore different places for Lunch, dinner, casual eating and casual shopping
- Dinner invites at some of the staff member’s homes
- Culture night where we explored the history of Copenhagen
- A night visit to Tivoli gardens which was set up on the Halloween Theme
I had had the opportunity to observe some of the inspiring programs at Frederiksberg in Denmark during my 3 week exchange program. I spent 2 weeks working and observing the under 3 year old children’s educational program, Daily routines, style of documentation of children’s learning, assessment and evaluations and planning. I was involved in a number of focus group learning sessions and excursions during these weeks week. The focus groups engage the children in small group learnings such as Dialogic reading sessions and Language (speech) focus groups.
Dialogic reading sessions
These sessions held at a special created room which is equipped with a variety of books for different age group and each book include pedagogy info page , props, art material and a variety of games. While reading books Educators Prompt the child to say something about the book, then Evaluate the child’s response in regards to the context, from there Expand the child’s response by rephrasing and adding more information to it to expand and elaborate the discussion then Repeat the prompts to make sure the child has learned from the expansion. All the above listed resource used to complete the PEER sequence and memory recall and educators’ asses children’s learning through these sessions by check lists, or using professional Judgements each time reflecting on their own practices and strategies to improve for further plans for individuals and whole group.
Language (speech) focus groups
These sessions are run by educator with training in speech development and held once a week for children with areas that have been identified may benefit from the program. Children at 2 years 10 months undergo a language assessment and at this time groups are established to focus on specific areas such as: Pronunciation, Sentence structure, Descriptive language, Vocabulary extension, at the end of each session educator engage the children in small group games to extend these above area. Another highlight of the program I have observed and focus on was learning and developing children’s understanding about emotions, expressions, feeling, and social queues and for this program they use Emotional dolls as props to demonstrate, discuss, and show children to deepen their ability to recognise and develop understanding about different feelings, emotions and expressions. It’s usually a 30 min session depending on the group of children’s engagement. Educators mutually decide and use emotional dolls for various purposes such as meal times, and cooking experience or they choose to take one doll for excursion with them and so on. For assessment educators record each child’s ability to recognise and development towards understanding about emotions and feelings, participation and engagement in sessions every 4 weeks and after 3 months evaluation of the program.
In the last week Melissa and I had a great week being involved in the forest kinder, we had the opportunity to look at the environment that has similarities to ours indoor / outdoor program at KCCC and much more independence in which they structured the focus learning groups, language groups and Dialogic reading. The children are extremely independent and responsible in the forest they clearly know the limitations and boundaries. Even walking to the bus (which is in a different location this week due to road works so further away) the children are taught to walk in peers with the brick line between them so the Pedagogues can see them. It was really fantastic opportunity to see these programs directly in action. I have learnt that although we have implemented some of these programs at KCCC and the benefits have been outstanding, the ongoing critical reflection is important. There are certainly some areas we can strengthen. We will do this with more discussions, brainstorms with the rest of the KCCC team and management in relation to what’s best meets our Regulations and Requirements in Australia and philosophy and vision of KCCC.
Melissa and I also had the opportunity to visit two other centres in Denmark, one of them was Idraetsbornehueset (Sports Kinderhaus). This centre was themed on sports/Olympics and equipped with highly advanced technologies for children’s program and 60% of their educators were young males, their kitchen produce own fresh breads, cakes and snacks and they also published a book of their recipe book in Denmark which they presented to me and Mellissa. The other centre Rosenhavn (Rose Garden). It has some similarities to our service, such as integrated family group where same group (multi age) stay together with same educators from 11 months to until they go to school all sibling in the same room of different age group. They have lots of visits to local schools for transitions throughout the year. They use public transports for excursions. They use organic fruit and vegetables and cooking ingredients for children’s meals and publish/share their cooking experiences with children on their Instagram page.