Preschool Stories

Nature walk with Ngunawal guides

Pekka Rummukainen, Director, Emmaus Christian Preschool

"This initiative allowed parents to experience the essence of why and how we place such a high value on these bushland explorations as part of our early learning program."

We were delighted to receive the very generous 2015/16 Preschool Matters grant to organise a guided walk through the Mount Majura nature reserve. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, over 30 preschoolers and their families joined local Ngunawal elders Wally Bell and Karen Denny to learn about the Ngunawal heritage, listen to local Dreamtime stories and develop new knowledge of traditional uses of artefacts such as the shield scar and the soap tree.

This initiative introduced parents to the bushwalks we so highly value in our early learning program. We are confident that the guided walk will support their continued engagement in our program and build their confidence to contribute their skills, knowledge and love of nature to our excursions. The insight from Wally and Karen into local Indigenous heritage and stories will form a valuable and integral part of our future exploration of Mount Majura nature reserve.

Supporting early literacy

Nicole Stevens, Teacher, Jervis Bay Preschool

"The early literacy information session held at our preschool fostered a shared understanding of early literacy and created positive connections between parents, children and the school community."

Educators at Jervis Bay School held an early literacy information afternoon to provide families with helpful hints on how to support their children’s early literacy development. Each family was provided with a literacy pack consisting of a book and literacy games to support children’s phonological awareness, rhyming and first sound identification. Building on parents’ expertise, the literacy packs included suggestions from families and provided the impetus for a shared understanding of literacy development.

The partnership developed with the Aboriginal Education Officer and the relaxed format contributed to the high participation rate of families and the success of the event. Children have been coming to school talking about playing their games with their families.

Evaluative feedback of the session indicated that the session was beneficial for both the parents, teachers and children and we have decided to hold sessions in each semester as a permanent event in our preschool program.

Multicultural Festival

Sharon Fellows, Deputy Principal, Garran School

"At Garran we believe that celebrating out students’ cultural diversity is vital. When parents feel valued and respected they are more likey to participate in preschool programs and in decision-making opportunities."

The Multicultural Family Picnic held at the Garran preschool provided the opportunity for all families to share their cultural heritage. Throughout the day parents shared stories from across the globe, teaching children about their history, traditions, national anthems, dress and flags. Parents facilitated the children’s learning through the making of the Indian flag and Chinese dragon boats.

Duncan Smith and the Wiradjuri Echoes performed and provided an insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Duncan Smith spoke about connection to country and highlighted the relationships that we have between different cultures within Australia.

Garran Preschool would like to thank the many parents that so generously shared a part of their identity. We also thank the Education Directorate for their sponsorship of these events.

Ready Set Grow! Autumn Planting Party

Kate Liesinger, President, Lyneham Preschool Parents Association

"The strong partnerships we formed with our community partners was key to the success of the project."

With a continuing trend of decreasing backyard sizes and increasing waistlines, there is a need for families within our school community to have places to be active and engage with the food cycle. The sustainable garden project created using the 2015/16 Preschool Matters Grant provides an invaluable learning context for our units of inquiry and a unique interactive green space for families to use in term breaks.

Families and children were involved in all aspects of the project including the selection of plants and the growing of the seedlings in recyclable pots in the greenhouse. The sustainable garden was developed at an Autumn Planting Party, with over 90% of families attending to plant, dig, amble through the sensory garden, hunt for worms in the worm farm and connect with other parents.

We were grateful to our community partners The Green Shed and The Garden for their ongoing support with the establishment of the garden. We also look forward to another visit from the Canberra Ornithology Group and the Canberra Environment Centre who will deliver workshops on Native Birds (Life Cycles) and Composting and Worm Farming (Waste Reduction).

We have put in place a number of measures to ensure the future engagement of families including the creation of a Sustainable Garden Coordinator on our Preschool Parents Association, establishment of the Friends of the Lyneham Preschool Garden to facilitate involvement of past families and the co-ordination of garden support in holiday periods and the purchase of the green house.