Our Preschool Community

Research shows children are more likely to reach their potential in life when families and schools work together. At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we are passionate about developing positive relationships with our families and beyond into the wider community. Partnership relationships enable a sense of belonging. Sharing something meaningful about your child’s day is a powerful way to help make a connection.

Family and community members are an external component of our management committee. We value this commitment as a truly community based not for profit preschool.

Welcome to Macquarie Hills Community Preschool 2019!

Welcome to Macquarie Hills Community Preschool to all our returning and new families. We understand every child is unique, capable and resourceful, and hope you are feeling ‘at home’ as we all settle into the new preschool year. Through secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships with educators and the stimulating and secure preschool environment we believe each child will be enabled to develop a strong sense of identity, well-being and become confident and involved in learning.

The Big Hug Box gets Support!

Thank you to our families and educators for donating to the ‘Big Hug Box’. Lisa Greissl has informed us that we raised enough money for eight small boxes and one large box. These boxes were delivered earlier this week to some very deserving people. Each of the boxes contained an original drawing by one of our ‘local preschool artists’ to add some additional love to the gift. Engaging with community is essential for us to succeed and supports relationships to benefit all our children and families.

Sustainable Water Practices

Sustainable water practice is an important part of our daily program. The children are educated on the relationships between themselves, and living and non-living things. Through teachable moments the children are empowered to construct their own knowledge, explore values and develop an appreciation of the world around them. At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we take great pride in our gardens and are confident that not only do we know how to plant and care for the gardens but also how to preserve and use water wisely. Using water from the water rank, left over water from water play and drinks to water the plants demonstrates that we are water wise. The children demonstrate knowledge on how and when to use the taps in the bathroom and when the sprinkler should be used for the lawn. This is evident when they are reminding the adults in their lives to be water wise.

When children participate collaboratively in everyday routines, events and experiences and have opportunities to contribute to decisions, they learn to live interdependently.

Caring for our Friends, Animals and the Environment

Friends, animals and the environment are important elements in all our lives and can have a huge impact on the children. Being a child is a time to seek, belonging is knowing where and with whom you belong and becoming is gaining an identity and understanding of relationships.

At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we have been educating the children on the importance of caring for each other, our animals and the environment around us. These activities are embedded in our daily program to assist children in their understanding and learning.

Giving each child a better understanding of how important it is to show respect for our environment is an essential tool. Involving children in experiences such as planting a flower, taking care of our vegetable garden, cutting up scraps for the worm farm, sorting their rubbish or simply watering the garden each morning scaffolds children to care for their environment.

We have welcomed pet fish into the Preschool Room and added bug catchers to the outdoor area. Educating the children to care for these animals through feeding, changing their water or simply discussing their needs is important to develop empathy and respect for others.

Friendships at preschool are the key element to positive communication and feeling safe, secure and supported. Feeling a sense of belonging in a community is very important. We encourage all children to care for each other. Role modelling small things such as helping put a friend’s apron on, finding their hat, encouraging them to do well at a task or simply saying hello are ways we can show concerns and respect for one another.

Children's Week

Children's Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia around the world in October each year. This year it is October 19 to 28.

Children's Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. It is also a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills and abilities.

Designated by the nations of the world, Universal Children's Day calls society to a greater response to the plight of many millions of children around the world who are denied the basic necessities of a happy childhood and the education to develop their capacities. It also calls on us in Australia to consider those conditions in society which affect the lives and future of our own children.

The theme of 2018 Children’s Week is “Children’s Views and Opinions are Respected” based on article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Rights’ are things that every child should have or be able to do. All children have the same rights. Almost every country has agreed to these rights. All the rights are connected to each other, and all are equally important. Sometimes, we have to think about the rights in terms of what is best for children in a situation, and what is critical to life and protection from harm. As you grow, you have more responsibility to make choices and exercise your rights.

At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool, children are encouraged to and enjoy sharing their views and opinions. Our children make choices and decisions effecting all aspects of the program. Learning associated with building cultural competence has incorporated sharing stories, ideas and opinions and respecting the rights of others to do this also using our Yarning Circle.

A Year On From MHCPS

Going to kindergarten is a really important milestone in any child’s life. Several children from the class of 2017 have proven themselves more than ready for big school by achieving a high level of success in the area of public speaking. Jasper, Bastian, Matilda and Emerson all reached advanced levels in the public speaking competition for early stage one in both the public and catholic school systems.

Public speaking is an important part of the curriculum, developing and extending language skills as well as confidence and self-esteem. Many of the parents have attributed this success to both the relevant schools and to Macquarie Hills Community Preschool. At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we are very proud of the achievements of our children and hope for further success.

Kids Matter

Macquarie Hills Community Preschool is a Kids Matter service. Kids Matter is an Australian Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative providing a way for everyone to share their perspective and experience.

Experiences in the early years affect long term mental health, relationships, and learning. Good mental health is vital for learning and life, and like physical health, is something we all need to have.

At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we value and encourage spontaneous and planned experiences that create humour, happiness and satisfaction. We believe that through our secure relationships our children develop confidence and feel respected and valued. We support children to develop the skills and understanding they need to interact with others. By using Kids Matter, Macquarie Hills Community Preschool supports children to develop their own strategies to manage and cope with the unexpected and to be open to new challenges and discoveries.

Pedagogy in Practice

Pedagogy describes the ‘art of teaching’ and at Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we are fortunate to have professional, qualified, experienced, knowledgeable, intuitive, and passionate educators. Our team is committed to ensuring the preschool environment offers endless opportunities for quality teaching and learning.

Our pedagogy is the way we work with children. It includes what we do, how we do it and how we think about what we do. Our pedagogy is usually based on children, education and the families we work with. The Early Years Learning Framework encourages us to reflect on our pedagogy, to make sure that we have carefully thought through what we are doing. Recent training has helped our educators and administration staff reflect on all aspects of our service. Giving of their own time, our team had fun and enjoyed networking with other professional teams. Leadership, behaviour management, financial and management systems, cultural competence, STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) are just some of the subjects we have recently attended researched and professional training on.

Implementing aspects of all we have learned is part of critical reflection aimed to ensure quality.

The Children at MHCPS are the Sustainability Heroes of the Future!

At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we regularly discuss recycling, food scraps, and soft plastics. The children are developing greater understanding and opinions about sustainability. We talk about sorting waste, composting, the use of recyclable materials and how this can benefit our environment. The children have discussed changes in the Lake Macquarie City Council waste management system, and as a result we have chosen to recycle using a four bin system, to better support sorting waste and recycling.

Last week our curbside bins received a 'thumbs up' award because the children have decided to recycle right! Well done sustainability heroes! Our educators have actively supported the children's decisions by helping them research and gather accurate information throughout the process.

Aboriginal Art Exploration - Culture

At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool we are connecting with our community with Aunty Shellie from Speaking In Colour. We are developing greater connection and understanding of the Awabakal people, the land and culture. Exploring weaving, art and dance over a few weeks, the children are enjoying hands on experiences, gaining knowledge, and further understanding different aspects of Indigenous culture.

Aunty Shellie explained how to use natural earthly materials to create rock paintings and art. She shared her skills and resources with us to promote our learning.

Inclusion

As an inclusive early childhood service MHCPS aims to create opportunities and experiences for all our children and families to feel they belong.  We like to think we are helping to build bridges and help everyone involved benefit from experiences and backgrounds that may differ from their own. Children, families and staff show more caring and compassion towards others when they feel safe, more secure and they also learn better and have better mental health.

Inclusion is a protective factor for children’s mental health and wellbeing. Creating an inclusive environment is important for nurturing children’s developing identities. Inclusion helps children develop a sense of pride in who they are, which helps build positive self esteem. It also helps children to appreciate and value differences in those around them.

Macquarie Hills Community Preschool understands, respects, welcomes, celebrates and honours the diversity of children, their families and staff. Diversity comes in different forms such as culture, language, religion, lifestyle, family arrangements, abilities and disabilities.

 

Miss Georgia

 

 

The Importance of Communication

Communicating is important to all of us at MHCPS. We value the trust of families and want to work in partnership with each family to ensure positive learning outcomes and goals are achieved for all our children.  MHCPS is passionate about early childhood education and embraces and encourages families’ involvement, understanding that families are children’s first and most influential teachers. We do all we can to help families feel listened to, to promote family involvement in their child’s experiences and share information to support children.

Miss Dannielle

Imaginative Play

The Early Years Learning Framework states, “play provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine” (DEEWR, 2009, p.15). This was emphasised during a recent experience when a group of children used materials and resources available to them to engage in play and create roles for each other, revolving around their knowledge of a veterinarian’s clinic (Learning Outcome 5.3).

The children were able to use this play to investigate, imagine and explore new ideas, develop understanding and continually extend their learning (Learning Outcome 4.1).

Miss Dannielle - August 2017

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills are important for enabling children to perform every day functions. The skills children require for optimum gross motor development include rolling, reaching, sitting, crawling, walking, climbing, balancing, running, jumping, catching, throwing and striking.

At Macquarie Hills Community Preschool children are given many opportunities to extend on and develop their gross motor skills. Activities include climbing and manoeuvring on equipment, obstacle courses, construction activities, group games, use of specific equipment for development, balance, strength, flexibility and endurance, movement and music activities, yoga and relaxation activities.

At MHCPS we keep our bodies moving.  It’s good for us and lots of fun!

Miss Tara - August 2017

Friendship

Children develop a sense of identity as they learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect. Cherry and Mia are establishing and maintaining a respectful, trusting relationship with each other.

Cherry and Mia’s burgeoning friendship is a good example. Inviting peers to join a specific activity requires knowledge about that person, their interests and the confidence to approach, possibly being able to predict, anticipate or at least expect their favourable response. Friendships grow as common interests are shared. Collecting fairy treasures is quickly becoming a favourite for these two girls and many others. The activity and the friendship means sharing, communication, hypothesising, negotiating learning FUN and lots more can happen.

Mrs Karen - August 2017

Dirt Play

This grubby, gooey, sticky substance always seemed to have magical powers. Can you remember what it felt like to squelch mud through your toes?

Playing in mud is not only fun, it’s good for children too!

Playing in the dirt is amazing as it is not only delivering a great play experience for our children, it’s easy and affordable to be involved in.

There is a growing body of research into why children have an inbuilt need to play in mud.

Dirt play builds a connection with nature, makes you happy, builds creativity and can have many health benefits. Mud play will help children to achieve key milestones, fine and gross motor skills, sensory awareness, balance and coordination.

Mud play will also create opportunities to practice social skills and make sense of their world.

 

Miss Jodie - August 2017

Cultural Competence

Cultural competence is about understanding our own culture and background as well as being open and respectful to other cultures.

Culture is central to our feelings of “being” and “belonging” and also our sense of identity. If children feel welcome and are to develop a sense of identity then we need to think about how each of their culture is visible in what we do.

Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.

As educators we demonstrate an ongoing commitment to developing their own cultural competence in a two way process with families and communities.

We had loads of fun celebrating St Patricks Day and going green.

The EYLF (p. 16) describes cultural competence as: …

 “much more than awareness of cultural differences. It is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures. Cultural competence encompasses:

-          being aware of one’s own world view

-          developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences,

-          gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and world views,

-          developing skills for communication and interaction across cultures.”

Reconciliation Week

This week at MHCPS we acknowledge Reconciliation Week and this year's theme of "Let's Take the Next Steps".

Early childhood education has a critical role to play in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to feel culturally secure in the preschool setting.

This week the children have participated in music and movement with songs, enjoyed dot painting with cotton buds, and listened to stories of dream time further extending our awareness and understanding of cultures within our society.