Connecting With Community To Extend Our Learning
Our early learning programs are supplemented by opportunities for the children to participate in incursions and excursions. Throughout the year, a selection of experiences are planned both within the Early Learning Centre (ELC) and out in the wider community. There are times when we invite an expert to come in to the Centre to implement a workshop with the children where they share their knowledge or resources. This may be a Music or Drama experience, a workshop on reptiles or Australian animals, or a creative opportunity. There are also times when the children venture outside of the ELC on an excursion to engage in rich, hands-on learning in the wider community. All of these opportunities are carefully designed to connect with and support the children’s current learning and inquiries.
Recently, our youngest learners in the Waratah and Blue Gum Rooms ventured out of the ELC on their first excursion for the year. An interest and inquiry into nature and sustainability led the children to further explore their learning through an excursion to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The children explored the wonderful sights of the gardens using their senses to explore the seasonal changes and observe a range of plants, trees and animals. The children have taken this first-hand observation and learning and will use it in follow up discussions and experiences in the classroom in the weeks to come.
The children in the Wattle and Banksia Rooms recently participated in an excursion to the Melbourne Zoo. During this experience, the children explored areas of the Zoo connected to their recent inquiries, including the big cats, giraffes, elephants and monkeys. They also spent time in the ‘Wild Lab’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program. In this natural outdoor landscape, the children became scientists and engaged in a range of STEM experiences. This provided them with the opportunity to investigate why living things are the way they are. This experience will provide the children with the opportunity to extend and consolidate their learning in relation to animals and STEM.
Such experiences provide incredibly rich opportunities to extend the children’s learning, connect with experts and engage with the local community. They expose the children to a range of new and different experiences, and help them to make sense of the world in which they live.