Brunswick Kindergarten – Term 1 2020 Newsletter
Welcome to our Term 1 newsletter!
Below, you will find reports from the Director and Executive Team. Click on the links to read the full reports from your child’s kindergarten group.
From the Director
I’m a couple of weeks late getting this article into the Committee Newsletter Editor- unsurprisingly, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks. And I think that if I had written my article back then, it would have been a very different one to this.
It can be hard to view life beyond what the last couple of weeks have held for us all, but it is good to remember that it was a very smooth start to the year for our kinder groups. All the teachers marvelled at how quickly the children settled into their groups and started forming bonds with friends and educators. It was certainly fantastic to escape my Office to visit the rooms and the hive of activity each group was fostering. I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our new kinder families- it has been lovely to see such a sea of eager faces (on parents as well as kids!), and a warm welcome back families returning for another year with us.
The start of the year brought its challenges certainly- in hindsight we were beginning to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic long before it really hit home. Enrolments for our 4-year-old program are well down on usual numbers- we just didn’t have the families joining us early in the New Year that we normally do. As a result, the Committee of Management and I have had long discussions regarding ensuring the future of the kinder, and prompted the email sent to all families recently about the importance of maintaining your child’s enrolment and the payment of parent fees if possible.
We have been buoyed by the support received by our kinder community after that email was sent out. Thank you all for your faith and pride in our kinder teachers, educational program and kinder community.
For those who celebrate Easter, I hope you had a wonderful one with your families.
Stay safe and well everyone.
Changes to kinder groups
Kinder families will be aware from earlier communications that the kinder is struggling financially in these uncertain times. The Executive Committee of Management, along with myself and the kinder accountant, have been assessing all options available to us over the course of the past few weeks. Unfortunately, lower enrolments in our 4-year-old kinder program has meant that we will need to make some staffing and group rearrangements in order to keep the kinder financially viable into the short and longer term.
Sadly, this has meant that from the start of Term 2, all children enrolled in Red group will move to another of the Brunswick Kindergarten 4-year-old groups (Purple, Silver & Blue) for the rest of the year. Our Red group teacher, Kerry, who also worked with the Silver group, has offered to take a redundancy package, and will leave the kinder at the beginning of May. We are devastated to lose Kerry from the team, and we know all her kinder kids and families will feel her absence as well as us. Maria remains on the staff team and will work with a variety of groups throughout the week.
As mentioned in my earlier email, the kinder relies on the number of children enrolled in the program to receive government funding- this funding subsidises the cost of your child’s place at kinder but doesn’t cover all operating expenses for the service. We set parent fees each year to cover the shortfall, but there is never a lot of fat in the budget, and whatever there was this year is long gone. We have been extra prudent in our purchasing of kinder supplies, but there’s only so much of that we can do to make savings. At this stage, we are literally relying on parent fees for the kinder to survive.
We know several kinder families may have already lost employment or are struggling under changed job circumstances. If you are suffering financial hardship, please contact Sophie via email@example.com and we can make arrangements for an alternative fee structure or payment plan. Even if you are able to pay your kinder fees in installments, that would be a great help to us – whatever you can manage will help to keep us afloat.
Thanks, Sophie and the Committee of Management.
Report from the Executive team
So far 2020 is not shaping up to be a ‘normal’ year…
This is my fourth year as part of the Brunswick Kinder community and in the last three years the committee has fundraised, renovated and helped over 300 children transition happily into Primary School. This year will be a very different year filled with huge number of challenges and uncertainties.
Normally at this point in the year the committee executive would be asking that you support our small and happy community by volunteering you time and helping us in numerous fundraisers. This year we won’t be asking for your help in the same ways.
This year we are aiming to achieve some very different goals. We understand that parents are being asked to make very hard choices about sending their children outside the safety of their homes.
We ask that even if your family has made the to choice to remain home that you keep your child enrolled so that we can maintain a viable service and apply for government assistance packages.
At Brunswick Kinder we are going to try our best to ensure that any child that is able to attend Kinder comes into a space where they socialise safely with other children and are free from their worries. Where they can colour, draw, build, read stories, bring home half the sandpit in their shoes and leave with smiles on their faces.
The committee and teachers are committed to ensuring that we give our students their best chance to move forward with their education and are able to make the transition into Primary School next year.
So even though the year has started with a lot of uncertainty, I would like to take this opportunity to Welcome all families to the Brunswick Kinder Community and we look forward to gathering together as a community group later in year (hopefully!).
Most of the children have settled and seem to want to get on with the session and play and learn. A few experienced some anxiety at drop off time earlier in the term. We understand the difficulty of coming to terms with the mix of emotions: the uncertainty associated with being in a new environment away from parents and the need to play and be strong. Over time the children have learned to deal with the changes that kinder has brought about and are appearing more comfortable and confident each day.
To support the children’s emotional development we provided many experiences that help to relax and calm. We had some sensory type play using sand water and slime and playdough and we also introduced yoga. It incorporates simple meditation, as well as poses and postures that stretch and flex different muscle groups. Stretching and having the ability to elongate the muscles is beneficial for children. When the muscles are stretched, they massage internal organs and this is very beneficial as it rinses toxins from the body.
It’s wonderful to see such enthusiasm for music and for simple as well as more complex songs in English and Italian. Music extends language skills, concentration and social skills. It develops coordination and practises use of small and large muscles. Best of all its fun and provides a great sense of camaraderie through group singing/sharing/listening to one another.
Photography has also been quite an interest with some children wanting to use a working camera to take pics of the kinder and peers. These children then had an opportunity to extend their creative skills as they engaged in artwork using the printed photos.
The children have loved the cooking experiences. Over the term we made muffins and cakes. Lots of sharing, bonding and connecting amongst the children as they engage in these group experiences.
We hoped to take our first community walk to Aldi on our last day of term. The purpose was twofold, to give the children an opportunity to practice safety skills and behaviours when out and about and also to purchase some yummy treats to have later at our end of term party. However, as explained in our emails, that idea had to be thwarted due to the current situation with the Covid Virus. We do look forward to commencing our community walks and other excursions some time in the future!
Rose Luisa and Manjit
We’ve had such a great start to the term with most of the children appearing quite confident and comfortable in their new environment.
Cooking is not just about making yummy food. The children see science in action; it helps to lay down basic maths, reading and time-telling skills; it encourages healthy food choices; builds confidence and creativity; enhances communication and deepens connections in children. We’ve made muffins and cakes this term and hope to do a whole more cooking next term. Cooking with kinder kids is nothing short of awesome!
Music is a natural and important part of young children’s growth and development. Positive experiences in music help all children bond emotionally and intellectually with others through creative expression in song, rhythmic movement, and listening experiences.
We integrate music within the daily routine when we invite the children to come to singing circle. In this way, lasting attitudes regarding the joy of music-making and sharing are developed. This term we included some wonderful Indian music which enriched our program further.
There has been a lot of role play happening both inside and outdoors – a domestic scene with baby dolls, fairies and wizards having been making magic and potions, a restaurant was set up with children serving peers, couriers delivered parcels on trolleys and secret agents spoke on walkie talkies – just name a few. This area of play encourages socialisation, strengthens language skills and allows children the time to explore and understand the world and the roles that adults play in society.
The children took part in a Responsible Pet program aimed at increasing children’s confidence in the way of knowing how to approach a dog safely. They listened to the presenter and practiced skills. These skills included staying at least 3 steps away from a dog before asking permission to touch the dog and then patting the dog after allowing the dog to smell their closed fist.
Hope you had a great break and if all is well in the world we hope to see you soon.
Frances Rose Kerry and Katerina
The children have spent the term keeping busy and keeping us on our toes! The group moves around the space; both inside and out exploring the activities and learning about each other. We have observed lots of interesting projects and learning and love seeing the group dynamics come together as we have moved through the term together.
Together we have engaged in numerous singing circles, cooking activities and group projects. We have started our preparation for starting bushkinder with an excursion across to the park and down to the library. The children are very street smart and all look out for each other when we are outside of the kinder. We have had an incursion learning about being safe around pets and we will finish the term with a visit from the Melbourne Museum where they will be bringing in some real fossils and dinosaur bones. We can’t wait for that!
We have observed the children engaging with the different learning activities on offer and constantly marvel at their original ideas, creative endeavours and individual approaches to learning.
We hope you had a safe and happy break and look forward to seeing you at some stage in term two.
Cathy and Zareen
The group has settled really well and are thoroughly enjoying exploring the kindergarten environment. They love to come together in groups and work with an educator on an activity, especially for singing circle. We have also done some cooking and spend endless hours pretend cooking in the sandpit and on the play dough table!
The children have been practicing using their whole bodies outside; swinging from ropes, hanging upside down from the monkey bars and lots of rocket pushes on the swings. We observe them grow, take on new risks and responsibilities each day at kinder.
The children are showing more interest in each other, learning names and finding activities that they like to do together. These new and sometimes first emerging friendships are very special and gives the children lots of opportunities to practices their social skills.
We hope you had a peaceful break and hope to see you all back in term two.
Cathy and Zareen
Hello and welcome to our families!
It has been a great pleasure getting to know you all. This term was encouraging seeing how quickly each child settled into their kinder environment developing self-confidence, sharing common interests with their peers, learning new things about each other and forming friendships.
Interests in these early weeks have centred on children navigating both indoor/outdoor environments. Indoors the children interests include creative arts experiences such as play dough, painting and craft construction, learning to manage and manipulate tools and materials to complete small projects. Dinosaurs was also such a highlight leading to extending children’s interests using resources, books and hands on experiments that provoked conversations and ideas about their existence and extinction in our world.
There has also been a great interest in dramatic play and exploring various role play scenarios. Our Responsible Pet Ownership incursion was of particular interest in learning about dogs and animal care, which then transformed our home corner setting into a vet hospital corner for the children to use language for creating roles and scripts in their play. Block construction was equally busy for children to connect with peers. Many children experimented with construction by using various blocks and connectors to build and learn new skills in cooperative play by negotiating different ways to share spaces and equipment with peers.
Finally outdoor play have been great for discovering sand and mud play or riding bikes, swings and tree climbing between a shared learning outdoor environments with our Purple Group friends. All experiences have been a great way for your children to settle and find their sense of self and belonging in their new environment.
Kerry and Maria
Hello friends and welcome to the Orange group. It has been our pleasure getting to know you all. The children have all settled with ease into kinder life and are learning to navigate their new environment. As a parent it is very difficult to pass the responsible role of caring for your child to others and we understand and thank you for giving us the opportunity of getting to know your child and each one of you.
Katerina engages the children with song and movement at different times of the day. The children are becoming much more confident in participating, hence the group time is growing each week.
This term our Melbourne university student Sara worked with the children on STEM activities. The children learnt how magnets gravitate towards each other and how water interferes OR not in the process. We have enjoyed Sara in our group and look forward to having her back sometime in term two.
A very big thank you to our Volunteer Marissa, who each week spends time in our room, playing and supporting the children. Thank you Marisa for your time and care.
The home corner is currently a fairy castle. The children have enjoyed the dress ups and being fairies and having fairy tea parties and eating cake, while making magic spells. A very big thank you to Cecilia’s grandma for making the beautiful fairy wings. The children are enjoying them, as they transform from kinder kids to flying fairies and butterflies.
The play dough table has given the children an opportunity to engage in many role play situations and assisted the children to participate in social groups by sharing and learning from one another.
The outdoor play space has given the children an opportunity to take risks, make choices and initiate play. The freedom of taking of shoes, digging holes in the sand pit to find treasure and the many attempts to climb the tree is how they use play to investigate, imagine and explore ideas.
We cannot wait to see where term two takes us!
Frances and Katerina
Brunswick Kinder Committee of Management 2020
President Ema Fraser
Vice President (Staff Liaison) Kentia Boyle
Vice President (Enrolments) Stephanie Hunt
Treasurer Bethany Macdonald
Secretary Jeremy Loadman
Katinka Drake (Fete & Fundraising Coordinator)
Emma Coast (Communications)
Kieran Hurley (Grants)
Wayne Gibbings (IT)
Jenny Hall (MD Cake Stall Coordinator)
Bill Fahey (Policy Coordinator)
Mark Monnone (Social Coordinator)
VACANT (Volunteer Fee Coordinator)
We’re still on the lookout for people to oversee the kinder maintenance (organise Working Bees, minor repairs and upkeep) and people who can assist to keep records of family volunteer hours. If you are interested, please see Sophie, the Kinder Director.