Two key focuses in our services are helping children to grow respectfully and socially. By developing an understanding of their own unique place in the community, and the world around them, children develop an important sense of self, as well as respect for others, the community and the planet.
Learning and understanding respect starts by teaching children respect for themselves. We show respect for children by recognising their individuality and giving them a voice in their daily programs. By encouraging children to make their own decisions, take responsibility for their actions and sometimes to stand in other people’s shoes, we help them understand how they can have an impact on others.
Supporting the local community
Our educators look for opportunities to join in activities happening in the community, including activities with a focus on sustainability, social justice and other charitable activities. As with other elements of our kindergarten programs, we look to respond to the children’s interests, as well as what is happening in the wider community, to encourage the children to get involved with purpose.
A wonderful example of this was a project to learn how to make pillows from old plastic bags to help support homeless people. A grandmother of one of the children had been weaving quilts from recycled plastic shopping bags to create bedding and blankets for the homeless, and she came to show the children how it was done.
Picking up on the children’s interest in her story and the activity, the educators created a long-term project that saw the children start learning how to use the loom to weave, and eventually how to make bedding items. Now as a group they’re recycling old plastic bags and making patches that can be stitched to make bigger quilts and pillows. This has not only allowed the children to make a real contribution to their community but also supported their development of fine motor skills.
Getting involved community activities
There are many examples of the ways in which the children are involved their local communities including:
Recycling paper to mash and then dry into paper bricks that can be used for firewood. The bricks were sold at the front gate to parents and the money raised donated to a local charity.
Fire relief and drought relief cupcake aid where the children cooked all week and sold cupcakes to school families next door, with all funds raised donated to fire and flood charities.
Making hampers for Rosies at Christmas, where families of children who work at supermarkets sourced extra products to add to the hamper drive, and all hampers were donated to people in need.
Plant store for the school, which saw the children propagate all their own plants and pot them up for sale in the local community. The money raised was then given to the school to buy books for the library, and when the children go to the school library they know they helped buy some of the books.
Helping children learn about sustainability
Just as the project above recycled used plastic bags, our educators look for ways everyday to demonstrate how items can be recycled and reused, encouraging the children to think sustainably.
This includes repurposing items in the centre after we finish using them, such as old timber, plants and other household items.
"Another important way we help children grow socially and respectfully is by teaching them about sustainability."
Some services have strong recycling programs, using coloured bins to sort general, green and recyclable waste products. There are even some worm farms that the children will fill with any food scraps from throughout the day.
Participating in a wide range of activities and events throughout the year helps build relationships with people of all ages and backgrounds, and helps children grow socially and respectfully. Our educators regularly encourage children to think about, and talk about, what’s happening in their community. This helps establish life-long patterns for the children in thinking about the changes they can make, and the positive impact they can have.
The early years of education and care are the foundation for every child’s future. At Catholic Early EdCare, we help your child to grow and develop respectfully and socially every day. Find out more about our long day care and kindergarten on our website.
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