Rectory News

By Amanda Bertschinger,

  Filed under: ELC

Welcome to all families of children commencing or returning to the Rectory Program.

If you are a new family to the St John’s Rectory Program this term, I know that you will love being a part of our very special St John’s community and that you’ll be made to feel most welcome in our Centre. This term we look forward to establishing, or further developing, relationships both with you and your child and fostering a partnership that is so important for your child’s learning and development.

This term Mrs Edmondson and I will be teaching three days each in our program and Mrs Cullen will be every day. Mrs Illingworth is our release teacher in the Rectory when we have planning and programming time or covering lunch breaks. This term we also welcomed three new staff to St John’s Rectory; Miss Susie, Ms Lulu and Miss Nicky. Mrs Richter also continues to work in our program and works regular sessions in Out of School Hours Care. Our aim is relationship building in all of our learning programs with both you and your children. We are so very fortunate to have such fantastic co-educators sharing their expertise and caring nature in our program.

Learning Aims

In these first few learning weeks, we have been focusing on happy transitioning into our program, supporting positive wellbeing and emotional resilience and most importantly, getting to know both you and your child. The development of trusting relationships with carers, between children and with you, is a priority. We will support all children to feel secure and safe in our environment and in establishing relations with the Rectory staff.

Early Learning Centres are mandated to use the “Early Years Learning Framework Outcomes” and this document outlines learning goals that we follow in our learning program. Wellbeing, positive identity, communication, literacy and maths learning, inclusion, global learning and confidence development are programmed for daily. The life and learning skills of independence, confidence, persistence, emotional resilience, organisation and self-help skills, developing enthusiasm, commitment and curiosity for learning, are also daily focuses.

Wellbeing development is a whole school focus for 2019 and an absolute learning priority in our program. Without a strong sense of wellbeing, it is difficult to have a sense of belonging, to trust others and feel confident in being, or optimistically engage in experiences that contribute to becoming a learner. Wellbeing is correlated with resilience, providing children with the capacity to cope with day to day stresses and challenges. The readiness to persevere when faced with challenging learning situations creates the opportunity for success and achievement. A strong sense of wellbeing provides children with confidence and optimism, which maximises their learning potential.

Continuing on from the learning interests in Term 1, we have been extending individual learning about animals and life cycles, learning about the seasons, numeracy – counting and recognition and developing and supporting life skills such as confidence, independence, self-help skills, persistence and encouraging children to try individual challenges. Within learning our topics, we have been celebrating family diversity, talking about our pets, our feelings and how we can play positively with peers – just some of our learning focuses – we will see where this and other child initiated learning takes us as a group or individually in the weeks to follow.

Our Rectory learning program is driven both by the children’s own interests and knowledge bases and by teacher directed learning. Children’s interests are incorporated into the weekly program for meaningful individual learning and outcomes. More information about this will be placed on Seesaw as the term progresses.

For new families, within your enrolment pack, you would have received information regarding our program and daily procedures. Please ask the staff about any aspect of the daily program and share any questions you may have with us. We are here to support your child transitioning into our program.

Helping manage separation anxiety and transitioning to St John’s ELC – our partnership with you and your child

From around six months, most children begin to show distress when they are away from their primary caregivers. As they don’t yet have a separate sense of self, babies see their parents or carers as part of themselves and feel a part of them is missing when they are apart. Young children may not understand that you will come back after leaving them. Children may also experience anxiety around unfamiliar people, routines and environments, but good news though, this WILL reduce over time. As children feel less intense separation distress and they become familiar, safe and secure in our learning environment, they will worry less. As children mature, they develop a separate sense of self and therefore understand that their parents will return daily. The length of time this takes is individual and children do vary with their levels of emotional sensitivity. Some children worry while others are more relaxed….most are somewhere in between. The Rectory staff will partner with you so that your child has positive goodbyes and enjoys their time away from you and home. Relationship development is the key to positive transitioning into our learning program; the development of trusting relationships between carers, you and with your child is our daily focus.

When children separate each morning, they may behave in ways that can cause you distress, guilt or even embarrassment e.g. screaming, tantrums or refusal…..please don’t worry…all are perfectly developmentally appropriate and we have successfully dealt with it all! Understanding the meaning behind this behaviour and responding appropriately assists your child to manage their emotions and experience less distress in time (reassuring them that you will be back later and that when you pick them up, you are looking forward to “going to get sushi together” etc, so they have something to look forward to and providing a comforting hug generally does the trick). Children can sense their parents’ emotions and pick up on behaviours and they may interpret adults’ anxiety or worry as indicating to them that their situation is unsafe and that they should be fearful. Having a daily routine at drop off and a set verbal mantra is very important for positive transitioning.

We adults can help children to manage their separation distress and help them feel safe by being calm, relaxed and reassuring, acknowledging the child’s emotions and comforting them. For we parents and teachers, it is important to find the balance between supporting and reassuring children and allowing children to have opportunities to practise managing their own emotions. By being emotionally available and showing understanding about children’s fears, we can all work together to manage children’s distress when it is too big for them to manage on their own.

We understand that as parents you can experience distress leaving your upset child with us, but please trust us and know we are here to work with you and your child to help make the separation process a positive one…..it will happen!

Rectory Daily Session End – pick up by 3.30pm

Please feel welcome to collect your child from 3.00pm onwards each day. Some parents have requested an early pick up, so they can juggle collecting siblings from other Schools etc. Children not going to extended care are to be collected by 3.30pm. After this time, they will join the afternoon group for extended care in the Mussared Building.

Some Helpful Tips

Please clearly name everything….all clothing worn daily, spare clothing in bags, pillow, blanket, cuddle toys, drink bottles, shoes, socks, snack and lunch boxes. You would be surprised how many things come un-named and we are always keen to unite items with the child.

Please could you provide a separate named snack and a named lunch box.

Daily sunscreen is required when dropping off your child…both rooms have sun-cream available should you need it.

We are looking forward to a busy and happy term and partnering with you and your child.

Please speak to us should you wish to clarify any aspect of your child’s learning day or their development.

Penny Kerr from the Rectory Team