Exciting activities in Preschool!
Over the last few months the preschool at Durack has been learning, playing and exploring ideas around identity, including learning about their own bodies and how it works, and health and hygiene concepts. The focus on learning about our bodies is an extension of their interests, with one of their favourite role playing games, pretending to be parents taking care of their sick babies, and talking about how they had temperatures and needed medicine.
The Preschool children showed us they were mimicking and repeating situations and events familiar to them, such as what happens at home when they or their siblings get sick. The following experiences and learning completed by the children over the last six weeks shows how with support and scaffolding from their teacher and educators, the children’s voices are heard and used effectively in the preschool room.
This first included the establishment of Journey Preschool Hospital- a small regional hospital featuring many doctors, a bed for resting and books to read (to read while waiting for the doctors, added at children’s suggestion). Once established the hospital provide a place for children to further their role play and a place to come together to socially learn form each other. This included overhearing lots of shared discussions around what medicine to use, how to take temperatures (in ear or under arm) and even one of Preschoolers sharing learnt knowledge on how to bandage and support a broken arm-which she learnt from her paramedic Grandmother.
Through this rich play supported by educators, children were able to share knowledge verbally, play through power roles such as doctors, share resources and work together to solve problems. As an educator it was also heartening and reassuring to see children being able to express their ideas and feelings about doctors and being sick in fun and playful ways.
Building from doctors play, we began to look more at our bodies and learning about our organs and other parts of our bodies. This included using a large body book to see inside, looking at our pulse and veins and making our own lung models. The idea of using their fingers to take their pulse and being able to see their veins was a lesson that continues to resonate with Pre-schoolers as many of them went home and talked about this and point out their veins to their families.
Further opportunities for learning occurred when educators noticed and responded to many of the babies being sick form eating lots of lollies and sugar and we used this as our base for teaching around healthy eating. This focus on healthy food led to discussions about what are 'sometimes foods' and what are 'all the time foods', and as a group we mind mapped and shared our ideas about foods. We played through ideas of healthy foods in many ways including naming different fruit and vegetable groups, making our own watermelon craft and working together on a challenging vegetable puzzle.
We also have been enjoying our Fitness Fridays, taking walking trips around Durack. During this time the children are visible within the community and we have discussions around staying healthy and moving our bodies to keep us active and well. We have even had discussions about how being active keeps us feeling well and happy in our brains as well as our bodies.
The Preschoolers were also able to further their learning around germs and hygiene when Gerry the Germ from the Northern Territory Department of Environmental Health visited. Gerry showed the children using a UV light their pretend ‘germs’ and this was eye opening for most of the Preschoolers. The children continued this learning by using many of the lessons taught by Gerry and his helper friends including singing though Happy Birthday twice when hand washing. Educators have further built on this knowledge and interest by having the children role model and write up new hand washing posters and signs for their bathroom.
Learning and play around how bodies work and health and hygiene learning continue to be an important part of children’s learning and play in the preschool room, and show no signs of stopping so educators are continually responsive to this play and we wonder, where it will take us to next?
Written by Zoey Smith, Journey Durack Preschool Teacher